Building the BK Brand
Identifying strategies to build the BK brand
Greetings and thanks in advance for joining the conversation about building the BK brand. Creating this group is one way the Strategic Planning Team can identify community members who have and interest and/or expertise in building brand awareness. Thank you for your participation.
Created by Berrett-Koehler Staff
Hi David. Hi Everyone.
You are such quick studies!
Here are a couple of alternates to help stoke the discussions. But, first, please remember the following about a Reason for Being:
It is a statement that defines what an organization exists to do, not what it does to exist. It must declare a primary customer(in David's example, it was the reader). Last week, I called that "whom you serve". It must include a primary outcome (in David's example, it was to help customer achieve their individual, organization, and societal growth goals). Last week, I called that 'the value you create'. It must also clearly state how you deliver on your promise, aka your outcome (in David's example, it was by publishing 35-40 new titles per year with fresh ideas, tools, and skills.)
The language is über important (no surprise to a group of authors) as the Reason for Being does more than bring focus, it serves as the brand's and the community's DNA going forward. Please remember that the Reason for Being is first and foremost unambiguous. The first goal is for everyone to 'get it' and achieve a singular 'mind's eye' view of the organization's intent and means to achieve results. Next, you can work on the words that tell that story (tag lines, headlines, stories, press releases, etc.).
Now, I'm stepping out of the role of consultant and just responding to what I've read so far as an individual. Being, perhaps, the community's newest member (unless someone joined after me in the last hour), I have this one opportunity to share a first impression ;-)
What I read in David Marshall's compendium of thoughts from the community offered many different benefits. While I could imagine them all co-existing peacefully, the Reason for Being exercise requires that we make the tough calls now so that the direction we set will be long-lasting and yield ever greater alignment.
I bucketed the comments into:
finding purpose meaning
In short, that's too many outcomes to manage effectively. (A Reason for Being doesn't say an organization or community can't do more than one thing, it simply places one outcome above others for alignment and effectiveness. (This is a Systems Thinking concept.)
My brain took all of that and created this Reason for Being. Before you read it, please remember that while I'm technically a member, practically I'm still an outsider and I may be missing some key points. So, what you're about to read may serve you best if you look for a pattern in it--one that you might adjust to be exactly what this community needs.
BK exists to connect fresh ideas that can change the world with the influencers who can apply them through publishing and community.
Here's how it breaks down:
This is what we exist to do (not what we do to exist). This is our purpose. Our why-we-wake-up-every-morning. It's our DNA. This Reason for Being is what we strive to become.
We take accountability for the supply chain of ideas, tools, and skills between the people who share them and the people who need them.
Our specialty is in finding new ways of looking at the world that can help right now.
that can change the world
We consciously apply the value-filters of growth (scale), equality (equal access), purpose (personal, organizational, and societal), and making a difference (that we care about and others notice and appreciate). [NOTE: these terms need to be defined more carefully for sustainability.]
with the influencers who can apply them
We actively find, then connect working (or ready to work) 'change agents' around the planet. BK will become a primary supplier of high-and-immediate-impact ideas, tools, and skills for people on a quest to make a difference
through publishing and community.
We publish (through all channels and media) AND we take accountability for introducing and stewarding support-giving and action-taking communities.
Whether you like this variation or not, it sets a pattern which you can build on as you tighten up BK's Reason for Being. Keep the conversation going! First, strive for zero ambiguity. Then, you can wordsmith to your heart's content!
Thanks for the opportunity to serve!
Socratic method is good!
"Their" refers to both authors & readers....
What about our packaging is different & better: attention-getting and actionable (as I said.) What else? Our packaging adds credibility and gravitas, especially in the community of ppl working on similar projects. Making the big idea clearer and the supporting arguments more organized is another important (albeit less sexy) service we focus on.
We help authors enlist readers in a shared quest to create a world that works for all. We do this by helping authors find the most attention-getting, actionable, credible, and clear way of presenting their passion & life's work.
So much for length...
I was in the Open Space Technology session that Jeff Breidenbach from Argus convened. Other BKMTF attendees present were Rick Bowers, Larry Ackerman, Zoe Mackey, Johanna Vondeling, and Charlotte Ashlock. Rick Bowers (AARP VP of Brand Content Strategy) said that our current mission statement of "Creating a World That Works for All" may have served us well until now, but before we try to build brand awareness in a concerted way, we should figure out a way to simplify the message so that it can be told succinctly in a sentence or two. He said we need to use words that everybody understands. He also said we should have 3-5 power statements under the brand that we use consistently in our social media and marketing campaigns.
Larry Ackerman, another brand expert, said that the current mission statement (or what Steve Piersanti is now calling a slogan) of 'Creating a World That Works for All" does not adequately describe the PROMISE to the person who is being invited to buy BK books or join the BK community. He also said we need to work on the VOICE because it is now too intellectual and laden with jargon. He noted that the Google voice, even though it has a powerful and serious technology behind it, is playful. He wondered what the BK version of Google's "playful" was. He recommended that the first order of business was to unpack or deconstruct the words in our mission statement, so we can all agree about what we mean by them. Until that's done, it's hard to measure the impact.
I'm going to write a longer piece by email to those who attended this branding session and copy Dianne, and then come back to this group after the BK Authors Marketing Workshop in Atlanta which I am now attending.