Ask the Expert: Branding & Your Board

branding and your board

By Gardiner Rhoderick

Whether it is communicating the value of your brand or taking your organization though a full rebrand, engaging your board can present challenges. Here we address a few common questions related to your board and your organization’s brand.

Q: How do you get your board engaged when everyone is “too busy”?

The easiest but most challenging answer is to start now. Making your presence and work known at board meetings will make it a habit of discussion. For example, suppose there is a steady stream of understanding how marketing and brand work is fundamental to achieving your organizational goals. In that case, your board will acclimate to speaking on branding topics during each meeting and facilitate a desire to understand why it might need tweaks, overhauls, or changes over time.

The other approach is to have a systematic “round-table,” where you discuss the process, how it will go, and what your board should expect. Project management will be a critical component of success that will go a long way with your board. Since brand exercises can feel nebulous and abstract in practice, establishing agreed-upon milestones and deadlines within these round-table discussions can build confidence in the project’s seriousness.

Lastly, take advantage of technology! The pandemic experience has normalized virtual collaboration, creating opportunities to meet and share screens in convenient ways. Nothing can replace in-person collab, but creating that convenience for your busy board can increase their participation.

Q: Since the board is most familiar with mission and brand, how do you get them to see with fresh eyes, from a new perspective?

Bring fresh eyes to them! Let them hear from those outside the inner circle. User research shines here. Start building a culture of research in your organization to make proof points easy to come by. Also, keep your board up on trends by reviewing examples of fresh brands within and outside of your industry.

Q: How important is it to integrate DEI into your brand?

Today, it’s more important than ever to integrate DEI into your brand and is the key to innovation. If you position yourself as an organization that promotes thought leadership and you don’t integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into your conversations, you aren’t a leader in your industry. The key is to integrate these conversations into your brand from a strategic point of view and not just through lip service. DEI should be a foundational aspect for why your organization exists.

Q: How do you roll out a new brand?

Understanding that rolling out a new brand takes a long time and treating it like a runway is the most important. People don’t magically appear in a plane once it’s in the air, so we should be bringing our board and organization along the way as you roll out your brand.

Creating transparency and checking in early with everyone is critical. The processes of how a new brand comes together knowing who it affects is paramount to the success of its rollout. You want to try to make it fun and exciting and build some kind of anticipation around it, making the prep-work that much easier.

Gardiner Rhoderick is Creative Director at Mighty Citizen. Mighty Citizen transforms mission-driven organizations through branding, marketing, and digital communications.

Photo credit: iStock.com/triloks

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