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Growing Your Social Impact Brand Organically

In an oversaturated digital and social market, how does your brand resonate and break through? By staying true to your core values, regardless of the geographic area, sector, or cause you are working on. 

 

By Matt Helfrich, Senior Project Manager and UK Branch Manager at LINK Strategic Partners and Michael Akin, President of LINK Strategic Partners

 
Growing Your Social Impact Brand Organically

When LINK Strategic Partners was founded 12 years ago, we were a small Washington, DC-based firm with a few employees and just a handful of paying clients. Fast forward to 2024, and we have offices across the US, and the UK and have worked with more than 700 clients worldwide.


How do you grow organically while staying true to your initial values? The answer is to create a brand based on putting people and relationships first. This is fundamental to developing your own brand identity that resonates with target audiences. 


People follow people, not brands. Social media posts highlighting the work of your team members, partners, and satisfied customers are likely to be engaged with and remembered much more than simple images of logos or abstracts. Regardless of the services you or your clients offer, raising and highlighting the everyday heroes behind your work creates a people-centered brand that is inspiring, and that others want to be a part of!


Staying True to Your Vision While Growing 


The best way to build a business is by doing good work and developing positive word of mouth. However, as your brand grows, how do you remain true to your vision while serving a diversity of clients, across different sectors and with different needs? 


Approach the work you do with an eye to the ‘hyperlocal” asking yourself which messages will most translate in and to a specific community. One of the keys to success in a new market is to still hold true to the values that initially made you successful while responding to the nuances of each new market and its community members while expanding.


When expanding to a new local community, become ‘in and of’ that place. Have your team perform community service in your new market. Besides being the right thing to do for your community, it will strengthen your brand and make sure it stays intact as you grow. It also helps to establish powerful connections, which can pay dividends in contracts and brand awareness. Performing service in your community helps the team understand the unique challenges and opportunities in each community, which translates to your brand being authentic to that community and its needs. Your core values will thus stay intact, despite organic brand growth.


Authenticity in Branding


Some of the biggest brands worldwide are successful because they still resonate on an individual and deeply personal level. We see time and time again that brands break through due to looking and feeling ‘real,’ ie ‘authentic.’  That’s because even brands that have global reach can connect on an individual and hyperlocal level. Some of the best brands maintain global reach while nuancing messaging to resonate across cultures and attitudes.


Your brand should cultivate valuable supporters and advocates in the process. Whether partnering with a government department, international company, education provider or grassroots non-profit, each client represents an opportunity to drive change where it’s needed most.


Creating an Authentic Brand Through Personal Identity


One of the best ways to create your own authentic brand is to create a tagline that captures your ethos, both for clients and your internal team. A great brand should not have one meaning for consumers and clients and a different one for its internal team. The brand should serve as a unifying ‘north star’ for both those it is trying to reach and those behind the scenes supporting its vision.

We know that people follow people, not brands.  If comfortable, leaders can use their personal social media platforms to humanize the brand of their companies. Be authentic and stay true to yourself. Think about how your “personal” and “professional” platforms can work together to create a unique brand that people get excited to follow!


Similarly, allow your internal team members to serve as brand ambassadors. Highlight and celebrate your team members across social media and your website. It can be as simple as highlighting team member birthdays and work anniversaries, as well as sharing photos and videos of team outings and Zoom celebrations. Many big brands regularly share employee stories across social media, highlighting their contribution to the workplace and company culture. Your best brand ambassadors are your own people, so allow them to shine!

Ask satisfied clients to write testimonials for you to share across social platforms, newsletters, and your website. If possible, regularly ‘shout-out’ clients on social, celebrating their fitness progress, smashing sales goals, or having a sell-out event! Write award submissions on behalf of your client work, and then share the wins together in joint posts and press releases. Happy customers are a quick and practical way to strengthen a brand, and every tag can get you seen by limitless potential customers.



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