Changes were afoot when Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools turned to Mission Minded to help them re-brand, re-name, re-message, and re-design their look and communications.
No longer a coalition, BayCES had become a nonprofit consulting practice that coaches people to become the powerful leaders who make good on the promise that every child has the right to a quality education. They had also grown from serving just the San Francisco Bay Area to supporting schools and school districts across the U.S.
Mission Minded helped this high-impact organization create an entirely new way to position its value to the donors, legislators, and educators who help ensure the successful delivery on the mission.
BayCES became National Equity Project and unveiled a new, declarative tagline: Deliver on the Promise of a Quality Education.
Mission Minded redesigned the logo, visual identity and website to help the new brand take hold. Along with a new communications plan — to help organization leaders focus on communicating the right messages to the right audiences — this suite of services has positioned National Equity Project up for national growth that will improve the education and lives of countless children across the country.
Here’s what National Equity Project leaders learned during this re-branding process that you can learn, too:
- The process of identifying, cataloguing and fine-tuning your brand can be both fun and enlightening. Brand is just another word for “reputation” – so setting aside time to work with your staff and board colleagues to envision the reputation you’d like to have is like fantasizing about how to use your lottery winnings. Sure, it’s stressful to decide whether you’ll buy a villa in Italy or a chateau in France, but seeing yourself in either one inspires you to decide what’s really important to you. Taking the time to evaluate all of the options, and settle on one, leaves everyone with a clear sense of purpose.
- Because your brand is really the promise you’re making to your public about the value (tangible and ephemeral) you’ll deliver it’s not necessary to have every program detail nailed down. National Equity Project was growing from a local to a national organization, and some things simply hadn’t been decided yet about how they would provide their services and achieve their goals. But that didn’t stand in their way. Knowing their mission-related goals and the organization’s overall values, they were able to focus on articulating the goals for their brand. They were clear that, no matter how they delivered it, the promise they were making to their constituents was empowering people to make good on the promise that every child has the opportunity to succeed, in education and in life.
- Articulating the goals for your brand is just the beginning of affixing that brand in the minds’ of your public. Once your brand has been established, the real work begins. Do your name, logo and tagline effectively represent the brand you want to establish? Do your key messages reinforce the brand? Is everyone inside your organization effectively prepared to represent your brand, in work and in deed? Probably not — on all counts. While good brands are always authentic, thoughtful and disciplined work is required to make your brand crisp, clean, and clear. This discipline is required when you launch your new brand and it must remain in place consistently over time. The leaders at National Equity Project take branding seriously, have dedicated staff overseeing the disciplined marketing of the brand, and work to integrate a brand mindset into the entire culture of the organization.
National Equity Project learned a lot about themselves and their brand, and have begun to reap the rewards of the re-branding effort.
If your organization has undergone a re-branding process, please tell us what you learned!