Case Study: From Divided Attention and a Lack of Accountability to a United Direction
All organizations if they last long enough will eventually plateau. They will reach a point where they’ve established brand recognition in the market, have loyal customers, and are perceived as a “traditional” brand. Usually, when a brand is described this way, it means that it is outdated but can still be relied upon for something.
This success should be celebrated and it’s vital that the leaders of the organization recognize that what got them there, isn’t going to take them successfully into the future. This was our client. They were a decade-old nonprofit well connected in their community that supported economic growth and development in their communities through startup business training and support services, but they had lost their way. They fell victim to poor leadership and the assumption that what worked before will work tomorrow even though the market was rapidly changing. Priorities shifted from being an accountable organization providing value to the community to just hanging out with friends.
With a new board, the goal was to revitalize the organization and its reputation in the market. The board hired Omicle to develop a relaunch campaign to get the organization back on track. The initial goals included an updated brand messaging and developing and executing a launch strategy to appeal to donors and attract new clients.
As a part of our discovery phase, Omicle did an initial audit to assess where the organization was currently. Omicle strives to be thorough, transparent, build upon what works, and include the influential voices where we can. We assessed the brand’s reputation, its strengths, weaknesses, as well as the current customer and in this case the communities’ perceptions of the organization, the marketing strategy, and the operations.
During this process, it became clear that the previous leadership team wasn’t being completely honest with the board about the actual situation of the organization. Clients were either not receiving the required training or they were being offered access to a version of the training without paying. Regardless of training status, they were also being granted access to other premium services that the organization offered and were being charged inconsistent rates or the organization was covering their costs for unknown reasons. Donors were rapidly leaving.
This led to the organization being in debt and required that they close two of their three physical locations. Beyond that, the organization didn’t have the necessary technology to properly manage the organization, clients, or donors. This is not what the board was hoping to learn.
The other challenge was this new board was set on moving forward and growing while the current clients were set on everything staying exactly as it was. There was a big disconnect. There was tension and a lack of trust between the two groups.
Since the audit revealed significantly more than what was previously known, Omicle and the board took a step back to reevaluate the actual status of the organization and the options for how they could move forward.
Beyond the original scope, it was clear we had to repair trust and accountability, change the culture, revise the business language, and solve technical challenges. The organization needed to be completely rebranded to signal new leadership and a new direction, have new positioning and messaging done, and a new strategy and execution to target new markets that would be more profitable and have a bigger impact on the local economy. It also needed a technology upgrade and training for the staff and board on how to use it. Donors needed to be updated on the current situation and included in the plan for moving forward to rebuild or maintain trust depending on the situation.
Omicle laid out the new course the ship would navigate to pursue bigger and better customers leading with a quote from Jack Welch, “A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization not as it is, but as it should be.”
It was truly inspiring to see the board go from not knowing what they didn’t know to know and then to wonderment, seeing what was possible and understanding the practical steps it takes to get there.
To shift from the nonprofit-poverty mindset, the decision was made to change the language within the culture from nonprofit terminology to business terminology as a means of leading by example. Legally, they were a nonprofit and would remain one. This mindset shift was needed to be able to help more people, have a bigger impact on their community, repair relationships with donors, and lead the businesses they were helping by example.
The next shift was in the offerings that were available to clients. Instead of having a one-size fits all training, our client would now offer a core program with three tracks to better accommodate different clients and their needs through trainings, resources, and distribution channels. The positioning was shifted toward economic development and community growth.
Once dead set against any change, the existing clients were surprised at how much they liked and wanted the new vision. They were willing to support and help implement the changes. The donors that did remain were impressed with the plan and agreed to support and continue donating to the organization. New leadership was brought in. New technology was implemented to ensure better management of the organization, clients, and donors and to streamline the client experience.
What seemed an impossible feat to accomplish, we did. Omicle was able to unite the different sides with the different goals under a unified approach to moving forward in a way that benefited the clients, the organization, the donors, and the local economies.
Omicle delivers brand clarity, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency to prepare leaders to scale their business. If you are ready to scale your business, contact us today to get started.
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