How to Clarify Your Environmental Organization’s Core Messaging

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Are visitors confused about what your organization stands for? It’s not because you do too many things. It’s because your core message isn’t clear enough.

A clear core message is crucial for effective branding. It helps educate the market and show your impact, making your message resonate with your audience.

What Causes Core Message Confusion?

You need a core message connecting your offerings and powerfully resonates with your audience. Without it, they feel lost. When confused, your audience either makes the wrong decision or doesn't decide at all, according to a study about The Cluttered Online Marketplace.

Your audience may be confused due to:

  1. Too much information
  2. Similar products/services
  3. Vague or misleading information
  4. Too many choices
  5. Lack of protective laws
  6. Complex products/services

The biggest cause of audience confusion for environmental organizations is communication vagueness. If your message isn’t clear or feels dodgy, you'll lose trust faster than you can say, "Oh no."

Examples of being Vague and Unclear:

  • Creating a mission statement that’s hard for others to understand.
  • Using words with multiple meanings, like “power,” without explaining what you mean.
  • Not being clear about who you’re targeting or what you do.

This concerns branding that answers what your organization desires to be known for. You need to hold a place in your audience's mind, which happens when you clearly explain your core message.

Discovering Your Core Message Through Brand Positioning

Photo by davisuko on Unsplash

Based on Robert S. Gordon's "Brand Positioning with Power," here are three building blocks to create your core message:

There are three building blocks to positioning:

  1. Positive Value
  2. Differentiation
  3. Emotional Connection

01. Positive Value

Positive value means helping people in a real way. It's the tangible benefit. To determine your positive value, ask yourself, what are my products or services genuine advantages? How effectively have we minimized any disadvantages? Then, ask your target audience about this.

Example for Environmental Nonprofits:

Your nonprofit plants trees to fight climate change. The positive value is cleaner air and a healthier planet. Ask volunteers what they appreciate most about the planting events and how you can improve them.

Example for Cleantech Companies:

Your company sells solar panels. The positive value is reducing electricity bills and protecting the environment. Ask customers what benefits they notice most and what additional features they need.

02. Differentiation

Your company might do the same things as others, but what makes you different is how you do it. The differentiation comes in your unique approach and what your approach delivers. Your unique way of working makes you stand out.

Example for Environmental Nonprofits:

Your nonprofit cleans up beaches. What makes you different is your unique method of engaging local schools and communities to participate in the cleanups, turning them into educational and community-building events.

Example for Cleantech Companies:

Your company makes electric cars. What sets you apart is your innovative approach to making cars more affordable for everyday families, combining cutting-edge technology with cost-saving manufacturing processes. Highlighting this differentiation in your core messaging can attract more budget-conscious customers.

03. Emotional Connection

Show your company's emotions to turn your products or services into a strong brand. Emotional connections make your brand memorable.

Example for Environmental Nonprofits:

Share stories of how your tree-planting events have positively impacted families and communities. These stories create an emotional bond with your supporters and reinforce your core message.

Example for Cleantech Companies:

Share testimonials from customers who have benefited and feel proud of contributing to a cleaner environment by using your solar panels.

If you successfully identify the positive value of your product or service, highlight what makes it unique, and use these points to connect with your audience emotionally, you'll gain a competitive edge.

Real-Life Examples of Core Messages in Action

Echoing Green

Key Message: Helps social entrepreneurs solve issues with fellowships and support.

Echoing Green focuses on driving social change by finding and supporting social entrepreneurs. Its core messaging emphasizes bold leadership and innovative solutions. To help new leaders grow, Echoing Green offers fellowships, seed-stage funding, and strategic support.


Key Message: Creating a world that runs on clean energy 

Ørsted is a global leader in offshore wind power. Their core message is simple and to the point. It clearly states its goal of providing clean energy solutions. While the company itself might not be widely known by consumers, its message is easily understood, and its work has a significant impact on renewable energy.

Justice Defenders

Key Message: Changing the justice system

Justice Defenders (formerly African Prisons Project) focuses on transforming justice systems by providing legal education, training, and services to those often most marginalized by them. By working within prisons and with communities, they aim to increase access to justice and change the narrative around incarceration and legal support.

Core Message Conslusion

Communicating your core message clearly may seem challenging, but it’s about finding balance. Focus on your mission, highlight your strengths, and use video storytelling to create a powerful narrative. This builds trust and showcases your expertise.

Ready to Transform Your Messaging? Schedule a free consultation today to craft a story that inspires and drives action.

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