Brand Matters
Brand Matters


Moon phases

2009 brought big changes to the branding and communications landscape. Thanks to social media, our constituents all have microphones--which gives our organizations an unprecedented ability to listen to, learn from, and connect with those we serve. At the same time, budgets are tighter than ever, making challenges and opportunities often look the same.

Here are seven areas to focus on to make the most of 2010--whatever it brings.

Define and staff your social media efforts
An effective, brand-focused social media effort takes planning...and a lot of time. Knowing what you're trying to accomplish--and who will make it happen and what success will look like--will make your efforts both more efficient and effective.

Power to your people
Through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools, everyone inside your organization can (and will) have a role in how people perceive and interact with your brand. Map out social media policies that encourage personal expression--and you'll advance your brand.

Tune in to the conversation--or else
These days people expect organizations to interact online--and think more positively about those that do. Set up "listening posts" (alerts about you, your industry, and your competitors) so you'll know what's being said, and so you can credibly participate in the conversation.

Be mobile
Constituents increasingly see your brand as part of their personal brands (or not), which means your organization--and your brand--needs to be portable. People want to connect with you, both literally and figuratively, wherever they go. Make your messages memorable, and your methods mobile.

Take real advantage of web publishing
Video, animation, and interactivity are now within the reach of more organizations than ever before, as is the ability to self-publish and self-promote. Configure your once print-only newsletters, brochures, and other valuable content to be on the web--not as mere electronic copies--but as new, interactive ways for people to be involved with you and what you do.

Enliven your visual identity
With more and more digital applications, designers are increasingly freed from age-old print constraints. Logos can now be three dimensional, or transparent, or moving...and more. The very meaning of "visual identity" has evolved, becoming both more dynamic and more customized to your or your constituents' needs (Google changes its logo almost every day). That makes compelling coherence of your brand's appearance more important than ever.

Prepare your open book
Finally, along with social media "microphones" come social media "microscopes": people know more and more about you before a formal dialogue between you ever begins. Transparency is no longer a choice, so make sure you're ready for the spotlight. Walk your talk.

news and articles

Art of the brand
Mosaic branding Mosaic branding
by Roger Sametz and
Tamsen McMahon

In today's multi-modal, tweeting world, your challenge is to build a brand that is compelling and cohesive at an institutional level and meaningful to different people, differently, by making the most of those communications you can control--and by influencing, and providing context for those you can't.

Read the full article

Pixels with purpose Pixels with Purpose
a webinar with Tamsen McMahon and Brandon Walsh
Social media gives your constituents new ways to tell you what they care about. By bringing a brand-focused approach to your efforts, you can use these new tools to add definition to your organization's brand and create a more vivid picture of what your organization stands for.

View free webinar now
Effective design Designing success
by Summer Parker and Roger Sametz
Effective design can help both creators and consumers of communications by making content more accessible and meaningful: sorting information-wheat from data-chaff; giving shape, dynamic range, and emotional depth to ideas and brands; putting new technologies in the service of increased understanding and connection.

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