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Article 2: Introduction to Brand and Strategy Evolution

There is a missing connection between strategic plans and branding that when present can aid implementation of the plans and impact organizational performance. An article in Harvard Business Review stated most people cannot articulate their company’s strategy, and only 28% could list three strategic priorities. The few organizations with official strategies find it difficult to communicate them effectively, but those that do increase their chances of success. Branding and communication with stakeholders are pieces of strategy with distinct purposes.

Strategic planning was developed in the military and adapted to the business world and was later used by public and nonprofit organizations. Organizations engaged in long-range planning, which became known as strategic planning, indicating it was an intentional and comprehensive process . The most comprehensive plans are detailed to define the stakeholders, roles and responsibilities, resource allocation, key performance indicators, implementation action plans, and more.

The definition of the term brand has evolved over the years, but in contemporary business, brand means the perception a stakeholder has of a company, product, service, or entity. With that in mind, brand and communication are related and integral to strategy as brand values must be communicated and understood by all stakeholders (internal and external constituents). This series from my doctoral research illustrates the significance of communicating a brand. The previous post discussed the overall management problem, while this post gave a preview to the background information. More background information will follow including the terminology and the theoretical framework used, Then, the research available and methodology will be explained. lastly, a summary of results and recommendations will be shared.

Reference Sources

Freeman, J. P., & Wilmes, D. M. (2009). Facilitating change through integrated strategic planning. Planning and Changing, 40(3/4), 224–241.

Lancefield, D. (2022, November 29). How to communicate your company’s strategy effectively. Harvard Business Review.

McLaughlin, J. (2011, December 21). What is brand, anyway? Forbes. anyway/?sh=29357de12a1b

Article 1: Introduction to Series

Research has shown that many nonprofit organizations do not engage in the strategic planning process and even fewer include a brand strategy and messaging component (Appold, 2021). Branding is a psychological construct and brand management is the work involved in handling or managing these psychological associations with an organization or entity according to the American Marketing Association (2023). Nonprofits have leveraged their brands for fundraising efforts historically but less so for strategic positioning in their marketplaces. This article is from a rapid evidence assessment (REA) conducted of research papers to answer the question: How do brand and stakeholders impact strategic management in nonprofits?

Answering this question will help organizational managers understand the role that brand plays in nonprofit strategy using stakeholder theory as a theoretical lens. Understanding how to communicate their brand is significant because it will allow nonprofit organizations to be more efficient and effective, and ultimately save time, and money, and accomplish their goals.

Ten articles, eight qualitative and two quantitative, comprising international, nonprofit, and public organizations were synthesized to determine themes and findings to answer the question. Findings show that nonprofits need to engage all stakeholders and have an integrated engagement/communication plan to communicate their brand as part of a comprehensive plan. These findings will be fleshed out and explained in this blog series.

The Black History Month theme for 2023 is about resistance but why resist and how do you do it?

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) created Black History Month (BHM) which evolved from Negro History Week that Carter G. Woodson created in 1926. Every year, ASALH announces a theme as the topic for that year. In 2023, the theme is called Black Resistance because of the constant push that Blacks have had for rights, freedoms, representations, and more in all forms and institutions.

We are still resisting.

The push for various equities continues. I don’t get particularly political publicly, but I recently was invited to speak on a panel for BHM entitled Black Resistance: How Marketing Professionals are Resisting the Status Quo and Thriving in Their Careers. It got me thinking more about this and here are some takeaways from my contribution to that panel and answers to the main questions.

What does resistance mean to me in the context of marketers or professionals thriving in their careers?

BHM was intended to bring attention to the contributions of African Americans in the U.S. In the marketing or professional context, resistance means not letting the barriers that marketers (or other professionals) may face in general like being overlooked, demeaned, or undervalued for your contributions. This can be even more so if you’re a person of color--you may encounter various obstacles that hinder you from obtaining your recognition and professional goals.

For example, as marketers in general, of any race, gender, age, etc., a challenge is that the profession can be misunderstood and undervalued. Although it’s a great and coveted profession, there are people, including colleagues, who don’t understand it. Sometimes, that person can be your boss, which makes it more challenging. So marketing doesn’t always get a seat at a table, meaning marketing professionals are not always included at a top strategic level of the organization where they are part of the conversations that drive the direction of the organization. Instead, they can be relegated to the execution function of implementing the strategic direction of the organization. I co-authored an article about this with ASAE and was on a panel specifically about it, so I feel passionate about marketing and people getting that high-level strategic position within the organization. Then, you couple that with being a person of color in marketing, and you may encounter those additional layers that may prevent you from having a seat at the table.

How do you resist and thrive?

So resist accepting the status quo and stand up for yourself. Those barriers could be from your peers, your boss, or within yourself. Do not let yourself be pigeonholed, stereotyped, or succumb to whatever may hold you back. Instead, strive to do these things so you can thrive:

Think strategically about your career and make decisions that will point you toward your target. In marketing, we talk about the target market and target audience. Think about your target career and set your goals to reach them so you’re not taking aimless roles and making aimless decisions.

Have help (or a network in this case) from your support system (like the American Marketing Association) that you can depend on that will help you through hurdles.

Reflect, rebrand, and reposition yourself if needed.

Invest in yourself and your individual development.

Value yourself first regardless of what happens and persevere. So resist the negative people and the negative talk and keep going. Use your determination to not give up.

Express emotional intelligence because it sets people apart and is a major factor that distinguishes good managers and leaders apart from bad ones.

Do you relate to the resistance theme personally or professionally?

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How do you do it? It's a question that's followed me for decades. I've had various people ask me that question. This is my attempt to answer it.

I've always tried to keep my business and personal lives separated. I didn't think it was professional to share too much of my personal life in professional settings and vice versa. I've learned it's very difficult to separate the two and that you can benefit by learning from both experiences.

So now I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s crazy world; your personality, your sense of humor, and most importantly, your heart. All of these elements brought me to rebrand and merge my professional and personal personas into one brand that helps others to position themselves professionally and personally with intentionality.

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