Thank you Jeff Brooks, creative director at Merkle, for his blog post - Is Branding Dead
And Gary Wexler from Passionmarketing.com for his post to the Chronicle of Philanthropy about Jeff's Blog. (cited below)
"As soon as a client calls me and says,“We need to brand,” I know I have a potential client who has no clue what marketing is about. Branding has become the term de jour. Particularly in the nonprofit sector, branding is irrelevant. Nonprofit clients don’t need marketing to brand; they need marketing to help create three results—fundraising, advocacy, participation. That takes a lot more critical thinking, change and internal collaboration than branding. They say “branding”—-you better head for the hills. '
Although some disagree with Jeff and Gary I support their perspective. It is less important to focus on branding than it is on engaging your constituents and stakeholders in an authentic way. I thank Gary for calling us to focus on the core issues we need as non-profits (or as Hildy Gottlieb calls them - Community Benefit Organizations).
Facilitators of Communities of Practice are constantly refining their skills for authentically engaging stakeholders, advocating for their communities and stimulating participation. So lets substitute the word Branding with "Community Building." And next time you meet someone who tells you they are a 'community builder' stop and listen - you may have a lot to learn!