Impact brand blog by nathan sprehe

Ah, Branding. Why is there so much confusion around what “Branding” is all about? It’s a logo. It’s a promise. What about the Brand Pillars?! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the terminology when thinking about brands, something my partner Angie has written about before.

To clear things up, I thought I’d tell you how we think about brands at Almanac. I’d also like to give you access to a worksheet we developed and use internally (I know, we are nerds) when we kick off the concepting phase of our branding projects. It really helps to drill down to an organization’s impact and ensure that all of the ideas ladder back to our “Big Idea.”

I find it very helpful. Maybe it will help you too? Download it here.

When we start talking branding with a prospective/new client, we pose a simple question. “So, what makes a brand?” Responses generally sound something like this:

  • “It’s our approach!”
  • “The personality and character of all of our communications.”
  • “A unique logo and overall style.”
  • “How we want people to feel / think when they hear our name, or walk into our building.”
  • “A promise of quality and satisfaction.”

And of course, all of those are correct.

But the kinds of brands we create at Almanac are different. They must be different, because they must make an impact. Our clients come to us because they are looking to move the needle on an important issue, like taking on the tobacco industry, caring for North St. Louis County teens in a new way, or creating a better experience for patients newly diagnosed with cancer.

Does that kind of work sound familiar to you? Great, you might be an Impact Brand. Your number one job is to make the case that your organization / cause / new product is indispensable in the eyes of your audience.

In order to do that, there are five shifts you need to make.

An Impact Brand must:

  1. Focus 
    It’s not about what you want to say, it’s about what your audience needs to hear. If time is our most important commodity (and it definitely is), you need to get out of your own head, get to the point, and be crystal clear about the value you will create for your audience.
  2. Take a stand
    There is no longer room for you to try to be all things to all people. Don’t make a brand promise. Instead, articulate what you believe and you’ll attract others who believe the same things.
  3. Communicate the change
    What will be different because of your work? What IS your impact? Why should someone care? What will happen if you go away?
  4. Get specific
    Do you know why country music makes people cry? Because it’s not afraid to get specific. Instead of talking about the general impact of your work on a general population, tell one person’s story. Include photography / video, names, dates, ages and any other specifics that will help your audience connect.
  5. Create opportunities to share and participate
    Now that you have something real, something to believe in, arm your audience with the tools they need. They’ll tell your story for you. Harness the power of the hive!

By shifting the lens from the stuff you do (the what), to the impact you create (the why), you’ll cut through the noise with more clarity and focus in all your communications.

Ok, get after that change you seek to make!