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Does Brand Drive Your Organization’s Culture?

Posted by on November 18th, 2013
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding, Nonprofit Communications   

We often say that your brand is the sum of the experiences your audience has with your organization. It’s as much about the experience of receiving your annual report as it is about seeing a van with your logo cut someone off in traffic.

Brand is an idea—an idea that takes shape in the minds of your most important audiences through the experiences they have with your organization.

In other words, your brand comes to life through:

  • How you look
  • How you sound
  • How you act
  • What you do

Oftentimes, an organization thinks only about what they look like and what they sound like. They create a name, a logo, a tagline, and messages and think their branding is complete. But an organization that’s truly committed to branding also thinks about its actions and behaviors. It thinks about culture.

Think about someone you know well, and ask yourself what characteristics come to mind. For me, I think about Rod Lemaire, Mission Minded’s Design Director and Partner. Rod is known for his creative talent, acute attention to detail, and commitment to customer service. Rod could not have developed that reputation simply through a clever visual identity (although he’s a snappy dresser) or good messaging. Rod developed that reputation through consistent actions. In other words, he lives his brand.

The same thing is true for your organization. Brand is not only defined by your visual identity and messaging; it’s defined by your organization’s actions.

Consider the retailer Nordstrom. Anyone who has shopped at Nordstrom knows that when you complete a purchase, the salesperson will walk out from behind the counter to hand you your shopping bag. It’s a little action, but think about the message it sends: We care about you, the customer. You come first. The company’s culture reinforces its brand.

Think about how your audiences experience your organization:

  • What is it like to walk through your office door for the first time?
  • How are participants greeted at a program?
  • With what tone does your organization speak in social media?
  • How do you dress?
  • How do you celebrate success?
  • How do you welcome others into your organization?

If you haven’t considered these questions as an organization, then you haven’t fully considered your brand. Every action you take sends a message about who you are.

What message are you sending?


Zach Hochstadt is a Mission Minded Founding Partner and runs Mission Minded’s Denver office, leading the company’s creative teams in the areas of message development, writing, graphic design, and web design and development.

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One response to “Does Brand Drive Your Organization’s Culture?”

  1. Branding has a lot to do with personal values and identity. The Founder of the company, the CEO and all employees have to embrace the same values otherwise you’ll damage the brand. The brand says everything about a company’s culture. The people in the company live the brand. Customers, JV partners etc. get to feel and experience your company culture (brand) on a daily basis.
    Great post Zach! Thx.