Tuesday, March 08, 2011
by Mark Beckwith
There are a lot of you reading this who refer to Nevus Outreach as NOI. Most of you write it, but some of you even say it.
Simply put, you love us, right? You want to do whatever you can to help us, right? I’m asking you to eradicate from your mind any further connection between the letters NOI and this incredible organization Nevus Outreach.
“Has Mark lost his marbles?” You ask.
It’s a long story, but to make it short, if this were business, we would be suffering from a branding problem. IF it’s a business? It is a business. Nevus Outreach is a corporation, has a staff and a board, possesses assets, receives revenue and provides services. Nevus Outreach’s success owes volumes to the fact that it is run like a business.
I’ll save the branding anecdote for the end, but to combat it, we decided that every time we have the opportunity to say “Nevus Outreach” and we don’t, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. By far, most of these foot-shootings take place when someone refers to Nevus Outreach as NOI in a public forum – which is, like, all the time.
So – time to stop doing that. People need to know it is Nevus Outreach that does all the great things it does.
Here’s the funny story about how we realized we had a branding problem. There was a nevus gathering in 2007. It was a fabulous dinner party hosted by one couple with three other couples as guests. All were people affected by giant nevi. All had kids, and all the kids were together in another part of the house having a grand time, and pizza to boot.
Dinner conversation was about – what else? – Nevus Outreach. So the host is talking about all the great things we do and says, “I don’t know what we’d do if we hadn’t discovered the nevus network.”
In case you don’t know it, there is an actual group called The Nevus Network and it is not us. Here’s their website. I bit my tongue.
Then a little while later he says something like, “You’re right, the nevus network is a well kept secret. You need to do better publicity.”
I pointed out that he had referred to our organization as “the nevus network” twice, and although we are, in some ways, a “network,” there is an actual organization called The Nevus Network, and that referring to Nevus Outreach as “the nevus network” could be very confusing.
He apologized, and said he did not realize it, and agreed it was confusing. He said the last thing he would want to do was confuse people or send them to the wrong organization by accident.
We all had a good laugh.
Despite this, he continued to refer to Nevus Outreach as “the nevus network” for the rest of the evening. This was the point at which we realized some of our most dedicated supporters did not understand the basic facts about the world of nevus organizations.
We decided the place to start was for us to ramp up use of our actual name at every opportunity: Hence this new policy. I encourage you to not refer to Nevus Outreach as “the nevus network,” and in those times when you’re inclined to write, or even say “NOI,” that you will write or say “Nevus Outreach” instead.
And do feel free to remind others. It’s important.