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The Most Important—But Most Overlooked—Step To Start Becoming A Serious Activist Or Advocate

March 8, 2021

My best friend and I get coffee every week to shoot the shit and catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives (and I get to hang out with my favorite little man, her 6-month-old baby boy). During one of our more recent coffee dates she was telling me about how she wanted to be an advocate for women with postpartum depression after the tough battle she had with her own mental health post-birth. As if childbirth wasn’t hard enough, right? She found that when she sought help, the medical system was seriously lacking in that realm of postnatal care and she wanted to make sure that other women didn’t suffer alone due to a lack of support, especially those who didn’t have previous experience with mental illness and may not know what to do. But again, when she reached out to those in the medical community about ways she could get involved, she found little support and direction as existing programs were suspended due to Covid, funding, and other dilemmas, so she wasn’t sure how to get started.

This had me thinking: this kind of thing happens all the damn time! People find a problem in their community, they want to do something about it, but they get stuck before they can even get started because they don’t know where to begin. So today I’m going to address this and talk about the most important step start if you want to be an activist or advocate.

Start with a brand strategy

I’m not talking about a pretty logo and fancy website. Those are part of your visual brand, a whole other topic for another day. No, what I’m talking about is the backbone of your activism and advocacy. The base from which your efforts grow and help your community.

Branding is not just for marketing and convincing people to part with their money.

A brand is an identity. It’s…

  • Who you are
  • What you stand for
  • What you value
  • Your why and purpose
  • The community and people you are helping
  • The goals you want to accomplish
  • The way you want yourself and your work to be perceived
  • How you will help your community
  • The backbone to everything you do and are working towards
  • A guide as you move forward so you stay on track

So, why is a brand strategy the first step?

This probably sounds more like a third step, right? Or maybe its wasn’t on your radar at all. Most people don’t think brand strategy when they think of activism. But if you are serious about helping your community it’s going to be really important for you to identify all of the things I listed above so you don’t just end up spinning your wheels and wasting time. Developing a brand strategy in the beginning allows you to:

    1. Determine the direction you want to go in and create a solid plan
    2. Effectively identify, reach, and communicate with the community you want to help
    3. Develop an identity that your community can trust and connect with from the start
    4. Grow your efforts in the future to help more people, start a non-profit or business, etc.

How do you use a brand strategy?

After compiling a list of answers to all the items listed above, I personally like to layout a document with headers and all the information attractively organized so that I can reference it later. Then you can use it to

  • Figure out what steps you’ll take to help your community
  • Decide the best ways to communicate with them
  • Determine what kind of content to share
  • Navigate challenging decisions
  • Create new plans as your activism and advocacy efforts grow
  • Communicate to others what your goals and ideas are
  • Determine your visual brand

This isn’t the kind of thing where you fill out some questions and then forget the Word Doc with all your answers in some random folder on your desktop, never to be seen again. If you are serious about helping other with your activism and advocacy this document should grow and change over time the same that your goals, efforts, and brand identity do.

If you’re interested in becoming a serious activist or advocate start with your brand strategy and everything else will come more easily.