CASE District I wishes to thank OPUS for their generous support as a Platinum conference sponsor and for their work in designing the annual conference’s visual identity, printed program, awards program, schedule-at-a-glance, and Breakfast Roundtable inserts. This is Opus’ seventh time sponsoring CASE D1 and this year they designed the conference identity and several key conference publications.
Early in my career, every time I brought up the idea of
brand development, I was greeted with one of three general reactions. The
reaction I loved the most because of the instant affirmation, “Awesome, I can’t
wait. We need this so much.” The reaction I learned to love because it forced
me to think deeply about value creation, “Our brand seems good enough. This
feels like a waste of time and money.” And, the reaction that energizes me the
most because responding to it well can be so empowering and transformative for
those having this reaction, “This sounds interesting but why do you need my
participation. I’m not a marketer.”
Through the journey of many experiences and by observing the
significant organization-wide value of successful brand development, I have
learned to address each of these important reactions in a more credible and
constructive way. By proactively articulating a few of the most compelling
reasons to engage in brand development at the outset, I have witnessed much
greater excitement and positive energy for the commitment and, ultimately, much
more impactful results.
Based on those experiences here are five valuable reasons in no particular order of significance.
Engagement Effectiveness With a well-developed brand, communications and development teams are equipped with tools that clearly and consistently articulate their organizations most relevant points of difference, with content that is more emotionally captivating, and with supporting brand building to seed and compliment their efforts. Together, all of this leads to richer conversations, deeper engagement and subsequently higher rates of participation.
Targeting Efficiency An important element of the brand development journey is identifying the target audiences who will most value your offerings, approach and/or purpose. The work also clarifies the decision-making processes, the priorities, the preferences and the triggers for action that are unique to each target audience. These insights allow organizations to concentrate their outreach and to minimize wasted effort in pursuit of those who are not as well aligned and therefore not as likely to engage.
Loyalty Most people want brands to help them feel good about engaging. They want to feel proud of, or at least justified by, their participation, enrollment or contribution decision and confident to share their decision with others. Brand development plays a critical role in building a loyal base of supporters and advocates because it identifies, prioritizes and shapes the messaging and content that they need for ongoing validation.
Recruiting & Retention I have experienced significant improvements in employee morale triggered by newfound pride in something they helped shape, by greater clarity of purpose and by excitement about progress. I have also seen waves of highly talented candidates start to actively seek out positions at these organizations because the organizations are clearly communicating who they are, how they work, what they believe in and why they are valuable. These candidates are attracted because they feel like they will be getting something much more than just a job.
Organizational Alignment Decision making across all functional areas is streamlined because there is a clear direction about which actions support the brand and which detract. Wasted efforts are minimized because everyone starts pulling in the same direction toward a set of common objectives. And, investment spending debates are more fruitful because they become grounded in something bigger than the wants of individual departments.
While you will discover many additional benefits when embarking on your brand development journey, I can share confidently from experience that these five benefits alone will more than justify the necessary investments in time and resources. And don’t ever stop. Continue monitoring, learning and refining because the world in which you operate can change quickly, and successful brand development is an ongoing commitment. But well worth it!
Levon Kurkjian is a guest contributor from Opus where he serves as Brand Strategy Director. Opus is a brand strategy and visual design agency passionate about empowering the great and well-intentioned people who lead inspiring, mission-driven organizations.