Branding is one of the easiest concepts to understand, yet it’s one of the hardest to execute. A brand consists of two active parts: how it’s represented and how it’s experienced. The one presenting the brand controls how it looks, the messaging it delivers and the consistency of those two things. Consistency is the single most important factor in creating a strong and recognizable brand. It’s more important than the quality of the design or the eloquence of the tagline. It’s the most important thing there is, in fact. When there is consistency in the look of a brand—and in the message that it sends about the organization—people not only know what to expect, they expect what they know.
And then there is the one receiving the presentation of the brand. This relates to how the brand is experienced. The way people absorb the brand is how they feel about what they see, hear, touch and read. How they process those sensations and ideas is their experience. And from that experience they form a judgment, good or bad. Creating a positive experience is the most overlooked factor in creating a strong and recognizable brand.
The best way to represent the Toastmasters brand is to keep it consistent—in its look, feel and messaging. The power of consistency is not only good for the Toastmasters organization as a whole; it’s good for the district and the club. It’s even good for you as a member. The Toast-masters brand is interdependent: It needs you and you need it. Think about it. If the brand as a whole is strong, it makes your job easier when you introduce people to the organization. And when we maintain consistency in our clubs, it helps cultivate our worldwide brand. Club and district officers can carry out this desired consistency by using Toastmasters-branded materials.
District 105 PR Team takes the branding and compliance to the core of each Public relation activity across the district from posters to the events. As the Branding & Companiance team is in charge of ensuring the Toastmasters brand is used accurately in the clubs, areas and division across the district. We also focus on educating the PR managers on branding by providing training, snippets and Q&A sessions. We encourage the clubs to focus on the below points on their entire PR activities.
Even though the brand experience—how it’s received—is going on in someone else’s head, this is the part you have the most control over. You can help strengthen the Toastmasters brand by creating and crafting the “Toastmasters Experience.”
It’s the experience we should be striving to create every time someone has an interaction with Toastmasters. Experiences are created by the conscious mind as it makes observations and instills them with meaning, order and emotional response. With the Toastmasters experience, the meaning, order and emotion should elicit confidence, camaraderie and a motivation to help people nurture their own self-development. This is the desired end, the purpose of the Toastmasters brand.
Think of a brand experience that you’ve been a part of. For instance, when you wear a pair of Nike shoes, you have a specific experience related to that interaction. How did you feel trying them on? Lacing them up? Did wearing the shoes make you feel like you could run faster? Did it do something for your self-confidence? Or your energy level? Each of us may react to a new pair of Nike shoes in a different way. But it’s all part of the Nike brand experience.
In 2011 Toastmasters took on the daunting task of updating its brand. It was the first time in the organization’s history this had been done. When the branding was completed and launched, Toastmasters experienced what most organizations do when they go through a rebrand: divided opinions. Some people loved the inclusion of leadership as a main component in the messaging, and some didn’t. Some loved the new brand colors and the design elements; others disdained the new look.
For Toastmasters, it has been four years now and the brand refresh is established and accepted. Now it’s up to all of us to make sure it thrives. Clubs from around the world have brought their Toastmasters passion to life through the organization’s Brand Video Contest. Here is the link for the PR Event when TMI Branding Specialist communicated with the district 105 PR team members. Watch the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mdY4YhwbB4)