Case Study: How Passion for the Brand and Re-Uniting the Team Created Unstoppable Energy

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Most brands would do anything to create the deep emotional connection and intense loyalty enjoyed by our client, a 50-year old regional non-profit. The organization was named after one of its charismatic, larger-than-life leaders. Back in the day, the founders had united the community around their mission of fostering conversations about diversity in various mediums--a public access television talk show, retreats, and workshops. But now, all but the TV show was shut down due to financial mismanagement. They had merged with another similar non-profit to ensure their mutual survival. And, with the last surviving leader--the organization’s centenarian namesake--ailing, they needed to reinvent themselves for a new era.

The board and leadership team initially hired Omicle to help them build out their digital marketing to grow the audience for the TV show after it moved from public access TV to a new online channel. Viewership had been steadily declining, and with the switch to online, they needed to rethink how the show was presented as well as build reach and credibility to get in front of a new audience.

But before we could get started, we had to have a conversation about the fact that the leader’s name was no longer relevant from a market perspective. His name recognition in the community at large had faded, leaving no clues as to what the organization did or who they helped. Even he agreed that keeping his name attached to the organization would make it very challenging to reach a new generation.

Most of the group was aligned and eager to move forward. With a quorum present, they quickly reached an agreement to move forward with trademark and marketability research for the new name they had agreed on.

However, when the announcement was made, a handful of board members who hadn’t attended the meeting became incensed. They accused the others of disrespecting the legacy of the organization’s namesake. Emotions flared as the prospect of losing the one person they all felt connected to become very real. It became clear there were some long-hidden resentments about exclusions from the brand story that were driving much of the turmoil. Faced with that, and uncertainty over the future of the organization, tensions rose and loyalties began splintering, jeopardizing not only the digital marketing project but the organization itself.

Omicle took a step back and worked with the executive team to process all the emotion and new information. We then helped them devise a communication strategy for re-engaging with the board members one-on-one. These one-on-one conversations helped them re-establish the bonds of trust needed to get through the exercise at hand, and also to grow together to lead and effectively manage the organization. We also recommended that they bring in a specialist to do board training, as no one on the board had previous board experience.

Once everyone had been heard, we brought everyone back together to go through the branding and naming exercise again. We revisited the whole concept of branding. We had them each come with two organizations that they liked and two organizations that they didn't like, and as a group, we talked about everything from the name, the logo, the mission, and the marketability. We let them get wound up about what they liked and what they hated, which effectively moved them out of the mentality of aligning the organization to a personal brand into seeing the need for an organizational brand.

It took three more sessions to come up with another name everyone could agree on, and it involved making some long-overdue revisions to the brand story to reflect the contributions of other key people besides the founder the organization had been named for. Once we had that, it took just 15 minutes for the group to agree on their WOW statement. That gave everyone an easy, shorthand way to introduce their brand to the world at large, and infused them with new, unstoppable energy.

Most brand strategists would have simply plowed through the exercise and presented them with a slide deck with three directions to choose from. Omicle was able to see their disagreements as evidence of enduring passion for the brand and help them channel it into something that everybody could re-unite around.

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