Many FORGE engagements are aimed at guiding clients through the process of identifying their brand story, and supporting the ongoing branding effort to integrate that story through organizational words and actions. Our involvement in these comprehensive programs varies, based on the client's internal capabilities and needs. What they all have in common is the goal of creating a great brand that improves performance, inspires employees and generates bottom line results.
In this section you will find several case study examples of this work.
Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) has long occupied a central role in the fight against big tobacco. Known for its tough stance against an industry determined to win at any cost, TFK has been the driving force behind many collaborative initiatives forging government's control over the unfair practices of the tobacco industry.
Reliant on its predictable sources of funding, the organization had never focused on its brand and marketplace reputation. A new interest in expanding funding sources initiated an effort, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to shore up its brand, messaging and marketplace impact.
Given the range of roles TFK plays - advocacy, research, media relations, program managers, fund raisers - several widely varying internal versions of TFK's brand had developed over time. The biggest challenge was to bring the team together in consensus around an identity and brand purpose that were big enough to encompass organization-wide priorities and potent enough to unite the team around a single aspirational purpose.
In addition, limited historical fund raising efforts lead to a void of the foundational marketplace understanding and strategic plans needed for creating future fund raising success. There were no organizational communications to showcase their work and their audience messaging was under-developed.
Our team worked with TFK's leadership to create a new brand identity that addressed the heart of the organization's passion and commitment to a smoke-free world. We reflected that identity through a series of tools that supported the drive to create brand and message consistency across all communications and activities.
In addition, we created a Development communications plan, that included the creation of a prospect audience segmentation system, to guide an efficient and successful path to success. Lastly, we brought the brand character to life through development of a new, signature collateral booklet and collaborated on the development of an email holiday donation campaign to support the effort.
Great New Heights in Fund Raising Success
Working from a singular clear understanding of the role they play within the wider tobacco-free movement, TFK has been able to powerfully present the value they deliver to their donors. This change in approach was largely responsible for driving a 50+% increase in contributed revenue. Included in this count is a single corporate grant for $2.8 million from United Healthcare, a company with no previous relationship with the organization.
In addition, this work received an Outstanding Recognition Award at the 2012 American Marketing Association Washington Business Journal 80th Anniversary Awards Ceremony.
The Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) is an incredibly dynamic, forward-thinking and passionate collection of 8,700+ successful business owners in 35 countries around the world. The combination of a weak brand foundation and fast-paced growth propelled by very proactive member-driven leadership had created a very loose brand presentation.
Management needed to get its hands around the passion, energy and drive that operate as key ingredients to creating the EO brand experience, and find a way to convey them in communications and planning.
Decision making on behalf of thousands of independent, successful business owners presents particular challenges. To succeed, we needed to artfully lead a group of leaders to generate the insight needed to build results. This involved engaging, facilitating, corralling and shepherding at the rapid-fire pace of entrepreneurship.
Identifying the EO brand and conveying it through communications would be particularly tough given that the foundation of the member experience is not based on activities, products and services. EO's powerful member experience is found in the passion, energy, brotherhood and the commitment members have to each other's success. To succeed, we needed to capture, identify and convey a feeling.
Using our powerful model, effective processes and our team's combined experience, we were able to create a powerful and compelling identity. Then, we provided the tools that allowed EO to develop its brand over the long haul, and the support to help them get started in the marketplace.
EO has seen dramatic increases in all communications measures since they have begun to use their brand purpose and personality at their guides. They cite the new brand identity as the catalyst for developing a brand mindset that guided their creation of a voice that represents the organization's real passion and personality. (See results below.)
Empowered by the brand identity, all staff are encouraged to think dynamically and creatively to express the organization. This has allowed EO to widely extend its brand impact.
Global Member Communications Satisfaction Ratings Soared
After overhauling their member communications with the new brand identity in 2011, global member satisfaction with the organization's communications soared through a 22% increase.
Based on this growth in members satisfaction ratings, EO has is using the new brand to guide its global prospect communications.
EO Facebook Page Surpassed Google for Traffic Building
Overhauling its Facebook page through the brand filter created a 400% increase in Facebook traffic in just six months - culminating in Facebook becoming the #1 referral site for the organization's primary website - passing Google, Bing and all other search engines.
Twitter Emerges as Prospect Lead Generator and Relationship Builder
Using the brand purpose and personality to shape its communications, EO tripled its Twitter followers to over 14,000 in a year. Complementing that presence with an account for their Marketing Director, they’ve been able to generate a steady flow of member prospect leads, make valuable connections for members and become a valuable resource for an important global audience.
The more casual Twitter style enables staff to express a more personal side that builds relationships and brand at the same time.
ZwillGen was a two-year old law firm started by partners who earned strong reputations as leading Internet legal pioneers through their work at their previous firms. Despite the firm's young age, ZwillGen had developed a very impressive client list that included the established leaders and many of the up-and-comers in the complex and quickly evolving Internet legal space.
Their outstanding expertise and progressive business approaches gave ZwillGen a powerful competitive story, however, the story had yet to be told. ZwillGen hired us to find that story and use it to make an impact in the marketplace to forge significant growth.
Much of ZwillGen's success was attributed to its ability to service Internet firms in "Internet time". The firm is quick, nimble, "plugged in" and responsive to the needs of a very demanding industry. Building a brand that represented both the firm's solid legal foundation and its progressive business approach would be a challenge that clearly called for breaking outside the homogenized world of law firm branding.
In addition, the firm needed to establish a strong presence in the same media occupied by its clients - the Internet. Creating a social and digital media presence from a team of very busy lawyers was going to require systems and discipline to be implemented successfully.
Through this work, we developed a single version of the ZwillGen story that guides its marketing, social media and business development efforts. This same story has provided the growing staff with a single focus and vision of the success they are working to create.
More concretely, we laid a foundation for a robust social media presence that is building their reputation as leaders, as pioneers and as the smart choice for those facing the ever-present challenges of Internet law.
APPA, the association for educational facilities managers, was facing a full suite of outdated brand foundations and under-developed brand-building capabilities. These included the lack of a sharp understanding of their brand value and what it stood for, lack of focused messaging, an outdated graphic look, and a very outdated set of brand foundations: name, logo and tagline.
Together, they created an image that undermined the capability and stature of its members. It masked their innovativeness and energy, and the forward-thinking contribution they make to the larger campus planning function. In addition, the image undersold the association's ability to lead its members and their industry to the continued future growth and success they envisioned.
Members were very happy with their membership experience (which is great) but loyal to its outdated look. Staff lacked understanding of how to build and communicate brand and there were no processes to carry the focus needed to optimize the effort.
We worked with APPA to develop a compelling and lively new brand identity/story to serve as a guide for all communications and decision making going forward. We also taught them now to think and act in brand-building ways, integrating brand values through their culture.
To drive alignment with the brand, we implemented a comprehensive program that included:
The new brand was introduced at their annual meeting to great applause, affirmation and even tears! Members embraced it, employees rallied behind it and it served as a motivating aspirational vision the staff and members were excited to step into.
Most impressive about APPA’s brand was the measurement of its performance as reported in its member research just three years later. When asked whether or not APPA was effective in delivering on its three primary brand promises, the results were outstanding.