Budgets suck. Yes, they’re useful and beneficial (#adulting), but when you’re like Dara Royer, Chief Development and Marketing Officer of Mercy Corps, trying to turn a small organization into a world-class brand, budgets can be limiting and daunting.
As CMO, Royer was tasked with rebranding the global organization with a $50,000 budget and a small team. Despite her shoestring budget and limited resources, Royer led Mercy Corps to success while increasing its brand awareness, revenue, and recognition. On April 19th, Harris Poll recognized Mercy Corps as the 2017 EquiTrend® “Brand of the Year” and “Most Loved Brand” in the category of International Aid Nonprofits.
Royer’s story specifically involved rebranding a global company, but the knowledge she shared felt more like a “mini-marketing plan” for brands of any size. Check out the 3 key takeaways Royer shared in the latest Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, highlighted below.
1. If It’s Too Expensive, Then DIY
If you want to clearly position your brand, you need to do your research—which can be expensive. Organizations with deep pockets frequently outsource this task, but don’t be discouraged if that’s beyond your budget. When Mercy Corps needed the research to help with their rebranding efforts, Royer decided to DIY.
Her team was extensively trained in research methodology and polished up their communication skills. The investment paid off. The results they collected were both consistent and valid, and specific themes emerged that shaped their brand positioning. It can’t be emphasized enough, though—don’t skimp on the research or the methodology. As Royer puts it, if you have garbage going into the study, you’ll get garbage in your results.
2. Don’t Just Create Stories. Create Epics
When you think “epic,” you might have flashbacks to college, when your professors made you read and analyze The Iliad or The Odyssey to the point of exhaustion. That’s not quite what we’re talking about when we say to create epics. Whatever story you tell, make it consistent and make it relevant.
This is especially true for companies catering to a global market, like Mercy Corps. You want to make sure viewers understand the “big picture” your brand is communicating, and that it resonates with them, regardless of channel or cultural diversities. Don’t just tell viewers what your epic is. Show them.
3. Being Right Doesn’t Always Matter
This is less of an insight and more of a lesson on leadership. Royer says this is the toughest lesson she had to learn when it came to rebranding Mercy Corps. Even if you have the BEST idea, you can’t just show up to the meeting and expect everyone to fall in line just because you have done some research. Flex your internal branding skills and make sure your entire organization understands the goal and epic of the company. Get everyone involved in the process. Negotiation and active listening will get you further than forcing people to blindly accept what you propose.
To hear more about building a world-class brand on a shoestring budget, check out the latest Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast with guest, Dara Royer, Chief Development and Marketing Officer of Mercy Corps, below: