Monthly Archives: July 2010

Non Profit Branding- Whether You Are the Tail, The Dog or The Big Apple

NOTE: This month’s focus is on
Branding Q and A. All Q’s welcome- Jody


I work for a division of a large, national non-profit organization. Do I need my own Employer Branding materials for recruitment marketing purposes, or should I just use the same materials as our national organization?


While there’s no one answer to your question, here are 4 considerations that can help you decide on your best course of action.

  1. Organizational Alignment- How integrated is your chapter with the national organization and other member chapters from a talent management point-of-view? Are benefits, policies and services centralized? Do lateral opportunities and career mobility paths exist? Consider your answer and go to step 2.
  2. Brand Reputation and Tools- Let’s take a tip from Occam and presume the simplest path is the best. Consider whether or not there is a downside to piggybacking on the national brand. If you answered “yes” to question 1, and your national parent already has strong, positive brand awareness and great recruitment marketing materials, then alignment is advised. If there no alignment and there are some skeletons hiding in the closet (a story of embezzlement, bamboozlement or other) then cut the cord and go semi-solo.
  3. Unique Differentiators- Your answer may not be A or B, but rather A & B. In creating the employer brand architecture, you may find that there are some common elements to your culture and unique drivers as well. In that case, go for a brand-blend and highlight the positives of the co-brand and the unique benefits inherent only within your chapter.
  4. Competition for Talent: Are you competing for talent with your parent organization? If so, suit up and separate. You’re already competing for talent with other companies and non-profits in your area code, and I presume that compensation will not be the tipping point in candidate’s favorable decision to join you. Now what? Go back to number 2 and build your brand on your unique differentiators. The word differentiator is key.

Consider this ad campaign created by BRANDEMiX for Legal Aid Society of New York. In it, the city, not the organization, is the star. Talented professionals will always have choices of where to devote their time and/or money, but there is only one New York City. And giving back to a city that gives so much, and has been through so much, is powerful and pleasure-ful incentive that no other chapter could duplicate.

Complex Employer Branding of Large Organizations- The “Nobody Gets It” Syndrome

NOTE: This month’s focus is on
Branding Q and A. All Q’s welcome- Jody


I’m trying to create an employment brand for a company that houses several well-branded independent brands. What are your thoughts on that? It seems unrealistic to maintain so many different brands in an employment space, however, we’ve been totally ineffective trying to collect the group under the segment name – nobody gets it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to attract and retain talent in a segment with so many personalities!


Unfortunately, it’s a prevailing conundrum — one that we’ve heard before. People tell us that their organizations are too entrenched with big-named sub-brands to really benefit from one holistic branding effort. Of course, nothing is further from the truth.

The good news is that in reality, you can pick from 3 strategic approaches. Each with their own risks and rewards. To help guide you through the process, think about how the company operates from a Talent Management perspective. If there is trending evidence that rewards mobility throughout the brands, ie critical inter-brand experiences are required for progressively more senior opportunities, then option one is the best choice.

Option 1: Master Brand- unite all sub-brands (and all their employees) under one cohesive, motivating, strong brand.

This approach hinges upon finding the fundamental similarities, and success factors of employees (and the employee experience) across all sub-brands and creating a brand architecture that leverages them.

This isn’t about tangible similarities like “they all pay well,” but rather the cultural, psychological similarities that exist (if any).

For example, “all successful employees are out of the box thinkers and share a passion for pushing the creative envelope.” Conduct research to find the core insights on which you can build and operationalize an authentic and unifying brand (culture).

Note: It’s critical to do qualitative research, regardless of how well you know the organizations, because connecting all sub-brands will require very keen insights that will not yet be apparent to the naked eye, ie not functional similarities. Furthermore, involving executives and employees in your brand discovery process is actually a great way of generating buy-in at the onset. How can anyone not get it if they were a significant part of making it happen?

Option 2: Sub-brands
You may find that there are no cultural themes that extend throughout all the brands.

In that case you can identify and embrace the individual cultures of each of the sub-brands. Certainly this is the consumer’s view of the world — — so it makes some sense to build off the individual identity that each already has.

You would then go through the exercise of defining the employer brand for each property, and showing the stakeholders at each how to “use” and maintain the brand. Defining the brands isn’t the hard part, it’s finding the right people to make it work on the ground level for each brand, so it’s not up to you to do this for all of them. You’d need to identify the right stakeholder for each to take the brand and make it happen.

You might also find that there are key pillars of the brand architecture that are shared, and tie things together tangently. I suspect this will be the case.

Option 3: Change Management

Start from the beginning, whereby you identify the traits that you (and management) would like to extend across all brands, and start hiring according to the new brand ideals. Slowly over time your brand would grow stronger.

The important thing to remember is that whichever option you move forward with, the fundamental operational alignment to the brand will bring about the change you wish to see.

Are You Too Booked for a Social Life?

Based on the growing number of invitations I receive to veet-ups (webinars), meet-ups, workshops and conferences, I know that social media marketing has captured everyone’s attention in a big way. We have truly embraced the concept of creating dialogues with our fans, and relationship building with our key interest groups.

I say above that “we have embraced” but it really isn’t “us”, is it?

Have you “down-sourced” the project to the summer intern you hired? Have you “out-sourced” it to your agency partner?

Search a job aggregator and you will find a handful of Social Media Marketing Directors, Strategists and Managers but more frequently, interns.

It is not surprising that we are unwilling to commit dollars to the ownership of communications that we can’t measure the value of, but at the same time, the stewardship must be held by someone with vested interest in success of the program.

Your agency/PR partner can help you with the learning curve and messaging but actions need to happen within the company, not outside of it. The voice needs to be framed authenticity, and a person we can engage with. That person needs to be a permanent member of your team.

Your intern may be gone in September but your Digital Brand is forever.

Join the conversation and the Linked In group Your Digital Brand.

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