On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Andres Felipe Velasquez Henao,Culture of Innovation, Corporate Branding, Social Media, Personal Branding, Employer Branding, Linkedin Training and CoachingatINK, LID, ANDRES VELASQUEZ Business Person
Strategy & Brand
We see our own fulfillment as
entangled in that of the people around
us. As we find our true calling and live
it out, others prosper; and as others
fulfill themselves as a community,
they provide us with an irreplaceable
context for our own unfolding and self-
Community arises when we discover
the interesting, if radical, alternative:
finding guidance for our own lives by
giving attention to the desires and
intentions of others. This is not an
obligation; it’s a way of being that
invites soul in place of ego.
3BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Our working understanding of Bullshit, and use of
the term, must be credited to Princeton’s own moral
philosopher, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the classic
essay “On Bullshit”. Frankfurt verified what we at
BlackDog have suspected all along, Bullshit has no
attachment to, regard for, or interest in accurately
representing the truth, facts, or realities of any given
topic. Bullshit is a perspective substantiated only by
an agenda. True or false, informed or uninformed,
“by accident or by design”, Bullshit is the calculated
decision to postulate an idea or set of assumptions
for the purpose of achieving indulgent ends.
Absent of credibility or moral conviction, Bullshit
schemes, distracts, perverts, distorts, misrepresents,
Bullshit is a vulgar term for a vile, though unspoken
practice that we won’t do. Not for love, money, or
*Bull•shit (bŏŏl•shĭť ) - vulgar slang
4 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 5BlackDog Strategy & Brand
BlackDog contributes to
justice, peace, diversity,
order, unity, humanity and
the quality of life through
our work and service.
we don’t brand bullshit*
When BlackDog refers to brand, the brand, or
branding, you can be sure that we’re not talk-
ing about your logo. When we talk brand we’re
talking about a much bigger inspiration: The Big
The Big Idea that possesses the psyche and trig-
gers the zeal of a working community. The Big
Idea that inspires change, grabs hold of an op-
portunity, and purposes to do what no one else
had the courage to do. The sort of Big Idea that
wins over the last skeptic, pushes the limits,
makes something bold happen, and escalates en-
thusiasm to a visceral level. The kind of Big Idea
that has the power to turn heads, change minds,
and re-order the hierarchy from who has the
business to a more just system of who deserves
the business. The kind of Big Idea that’s deserv-
ing of a little attention, please.
The Big Idea isn’t hype, spin, or hoopla.
The Big Idea very often begins with a ques-
tion. “What do we want this company to look
like when it grows up”, or “What organizational
flaws are clues to our true strengths”, or “Giv-
en our expertise and proximity to other area
businesses what need can we meet (locally, re-
gionally, nationally, or internationally).” While
explanations get bogged down with details,
the Big Idea, vividly painted in clear strokes of
purpose and outcomes, has the power to clar-
ify. The Big Idea is easily understood, passed
on, and carried forth. The Big Idea is clear and
compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of
effort, and acts as a catalyst for team spirit.
The Big Idea isn’t to be something else, but
rather to identify and position the best of
The Big Idea engages meaning by restoring a
sense of purpose beyond the operational, the
material, and the financial. The Big Idea is the
difference between your working goals and
becoming committed to a daunting, inspired
challenge. Big Ideas should not be confused
for bland mission statements, platitudes, or a
list of goals… Big Ideas are compelling and
inspirational objectives. Big Ideas are worth
talking about, listening to, and supporting.
6 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 7BlackDog Strategy & Brand
BlackDog Strategy & Brand8 9BlackDog Strategy & Brand
10 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 11BlackDog Strategy & Brand
it’s what they
say it is.
Brand is not
say it is,
Your brand is every real or imagined
trait, nuance, story, impression,
quirk, process, delay, sound, sneeze,
perspective, dimension, sell tactic,
experience, perk, odor, texture, feeling,
and connection that makes the radar of
The amalgamation of those experiences
either add significance, authenticity,
style, and perceived value to what you
have to offer…making your brand
more valuable than the version that
everyone else is offering. Or not.
Your customer decides what is
relevant. Or isn’t.
The margins are tightest in the fight
for mediocre: the most competitive
spot in the game is at ‘holding our
own’; inefficiencies are the fruit of
‘good enough’; market shares are
busting at the seams to produce the
unimaginative, inconsistently, at a
Mimicking the programs and strate-
gies of the bored and lifeless that
are buckling down, backing off, and
playing it safe is a dangerous bet and
a lousy excuse for not doing what
you really want to do.
Committing imitation wasn’t ever
a form of flattery; it’s always been
boring and it’s really overdone. The
middle-of-the-road is the likeliest
place to get passed by or taken out.
It’s time to take yourself seriously.
You’re never gonna fake brand rel-
evance; it’s not cheap or easy; it
can’t be copied or bought. Brand
relevance is an earned honor of dis-
tinction bestowed upon companies
committed to knowing who they are,
what they do, why they do it, and
why anyone should care. It’s going
to take meaningful solutions, genu-
ine connections, designed experienc-
es, and inspired messages that you
keep on bringing on for the long
The goal is not to be something
else, but rather to become the best
12 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 13BlackDog Strategy & Brand
14 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 15BlackDog Strategy & Brand
You do not
merely want to
just the best
of the best.
You want to be
only ones who
do what you do.
We have all paid more, driven farther,
and waited longer for a brand that we
trust, for a brand that we believe has
no substitute. Competitor’s promises,
discounts, perks, and conveniences are
powerless to lure us from our position.
We are intrigued by spirited brands
that won’t settle for good enough or
jump aboard the next aimless trend.
We are persuaded by authentic brands
that know their difference must make a
difference. We are inspired by passion,
engaged by innovation, and commit-
ted to brands that see us as people, not
consumers. We are enthused by brands
that refuse to be homogenized, have
found their voice, and fearlessly parted
from the herd with resolve to never
We are invested in interactive brands
that share our perspective, engage us
in conversations, admit when they are
16 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 17BlackDog Strategy & Brand
wrong, deliver more than they prom-
ise, and offer meaningful experiences
that tantalize our minds and indulge all
of our senses.
We are drawn to brands that are un-
daunted by the popular world view;
brands that refuse to pay lip service
to lofty missions or shallow pursuits.
We admire the rare renegades that
come together to explore the limits,
play at the boundaries, and harness
their unique competencies to disrupt
business as usual, doing what they do
best…create new possibilities.
We recognize brands that look good
because they are good. Brands that
decided to live and reflect their eth-
ics, champion the high road, and serve
the greater good through their life’s
work. Brands that are invigorated and
invigorate us in the game, take us with
them, challenge us, and invite us to
play with the community that they call
We are compelled by sustainable
brands that address their impact on
the condition of the world; brands
that understand that what and how
they contribute is how they will be
We are committed to relevant brands
that keep it fresh and real; brands that
connect their Big Idea to what truly
You don’t need more money
just more guts!
18 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 19BlackDog Strategy & Brand
20 BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Your multi-million dollar advertising
roll out is not a brand. Fireworks
generate a lot of “Oooohs” and
“Aaaahs” but they don’t last.
Ad campaigns promoting programs
and selling add-ons ensure that next
month you will be devising programs
and selling more add-ons that need a
newer, fresher ad campaign because
your uninspired competitors keep
stealing your uninspired gimmicks.
Cost cutting, give-a-ways, and how-
do-you-like-me-now tactics will drive
short term sales, for a while. They
will also deteriorate your brand equity
faster than the speed of light flashing
across the sky. Without an indelible
and believable brand identity your
advertising campaign just bursts
and fades from the sky along with
your name, your message, and your
22 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 23BlackDog Strategy & BrandBlackDog Strategy & Brand
Use this score card
to evaluate your own
brand from three critical
Your in-the-know vista.
The lens of your customers.
The view from your most-feared
Think about your
brand as an ongoing
narrative; like a
series or a sequel.
An evolving story
that moves your
customer closer and
closer to knowing
who you are, what
you do, and why
you do it.
Our brand has a timeless guiding philosophy.•
Our strategic partners, affiliates, and service pro-•
viders have been chosen carefully. They reflect
our brand values.
We understand how customers perceive and•
experience the brand.
Our decision-makers understand customers’•
conception of the brand.
We know what our customers like and don’t like•
about our brand.
We have a very clear understanding of who our•
customer is and why.
We have very specific, research-based profiles of•
our target customers.
We are aware of the associations most com-•
monly related to our brand.
We understand exactly what our customers value•
about our brand.
We know exactly what our customers are buying•
when they buy our brand.
Our prices reflect our brand’s value.•
It’s easy for customers to share feedback with us.•
We do an excellent job of responding to cus-•
We do an excellent job of getting customer feed-•
back into the hands of decision-makers.
Our brand is the solution to our customers’•
We consistently improve our brand’s products•
We consistently uncover unmet consumer needs•
We consistently innovate new, customer-centric,•
We focus relentlessly on maximizing our cus-•
We keep our eyes on the broad market con-•
ditions that are relevant.
We track market conditions and trends that cre-•
ate new opportunities.
Our marketing strategy reflects relevant cultural•
and market trends.
We have a process in place to evaluate our•
We track industry offerings to be sure that our•
brand offers competitive points of parity.
Our brand features desirable and deliverable•
points of significant difference.
Our brand is positioned sensibly.•
Our brand is supported with qualified people•
Our marketing programs are measured and•
tracked for ROI.
We conduct brand audits regularly to determine•
the vitality of our brand.
We conduct strategic and competitive assess-•
ments to determine our strategic direction.
Our brand narrative is consistent over time.•
Our brand narrative is consistent across the•
organization and all departments.
Our brand narrative clearly communicates our•
story, purpose, and capabilities.
Our brand connects across diverse channels and•
mediums that we know our customers engage.
Our brand narrative really connects with our•
Our brand speaks in a voice that really reflects•
Everyone in our organization knows how to•
represent our brand.
Our brand image is crisp.•
Our brand image has not dulled over time or•
been diluted by expanded or discontinued ser-
Our brand image has not been tarnished by a•
scandal. We have a strong reputation.
We know our brand’s weaknesses.•
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24 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 25BlackDog Strategy & Brand
26 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 27BlackDog Strategy & Brand
To create a matchless strategic advantage with a
clear and cohesive identity.
To excavate your Big Idea and your authentic
To develop a clear and meaningful strategic
To close the gap between your identity and the
image your customers have of you.
To differentiate by more than price and function
(the easiest differentiators to copy).
To make your message worth talking about,
worth listening to, and worth supporting.
To develop the company culture and attract like-
minded, zealous, inspired talent that shares your
values and purpose.
To increase the value and effectiveness of your
To build trust with your customers.
Because a brand shaped on the Big Idea returns
28 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 29BlackDog Strategy & Brand
A new competitor with a value-loaded
proposition is storming your market,
reducing your once “owned” differentiation
to a cost-of-entry benefit, and usurping your
brand position and diluting your relevance.
Your organization is readying to enter new
markets with a disruptive and powerful
proprietary advantage that changes the
For a long time customers have accused your
brand of being “outdated”. You were hoping
to ride out your retro look long enough to
earn a classic distinction that would endear
you to the nostalgic market.
Your products perform better in independent
testing against your two biggest competitors.
Yet, they smoke you in sales. How can you
have lagging sells with a winning product?
You have acquired two companies. One of
them was larger than yours. But you kept
your name. The lack of unity and identity is
getting to everyone.
You are hoping to secure venture capital for
your start up. But the feedback indicated that
you had a confusing message and a vague
Brands weren’t necessary in your industry.
Your reputation was your strategic advantage
for years. Things have changed. A new player
is pushing a sharp brand.
Your brand has been gauging your carbon
footprint up and down the value chain:
adopting minimal packaging standards,
innovating efficient delivery and advertising
models. You are now recognized as a
forerunner in the sustainability economy.
This opens whole new worlds to you...if you
let people know.
Your brand is recognized as a great employer;
your superior work culture has been honored
with national awards. You want to build
your employee engagement, programs, and
success into your brand story in the hopes
of attracting top talent and recognizing your
The world has changed, the people involved
have evolved, and the business has morphed.
You need a cohesive brand to align the new
direction, the evolution, reflect the relevance
and introduce your Big Idea.
30 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 31BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Given that they could go either way...
we can’t help but imagine brands in
the role of a good citizen exercising a
healthy perspective; positioning their
influence, products, and service for the
betterment of society without any hid-
Some brands mirror society.•
Some brands prescribe,•
provoke, and reinforce
cultural attitudes, social
norms, mindsets, and values.
Some brands have the power•
to influence behavior.
Some brands are an effective•
and pervasive medium of
Some brands have a subtle•
and cumulative influence.
All brands have the power to
All brands have the freedom to
objectify the human experience.
32 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 33BlackDog Strategy & Brand
are not imagined, leveraged, or opera-
tionalized deeply enough.
Authentic Brands that serve as a wit-
ness and purpose an ideal should have
the telling power of ancient myths
handed down for untold centuries. The
brands of rugged individualists that
value their work, perspectives, and his-
tory should spark intrigue and provoke
new ways of interpreting the world.
Innovative brands worthy of an expe-
rience and brand narratives worth re-
peating must promise a departure from
the ordinary and the mundane. The
collective, dynamic, and humanizing
nature of brand should make room for
others to find their own detailed story
in your rich brand identity.
Which leads us to wonder what would
happen if brands broadened their
worldview, got inspired, actioned a re-
ally Big Idea, and thoughtfully contrib-
uted as a steward of society...
We can imagine brands as responsible
ambassadors, championing social issues
that connect with their sense of iden-
tity and philosophy of being. Organiz-
ing high-impact, volunteer projects that
involve whole tribes of brand fans that
might not have otherwise got out of
their comfort zone to make a meaning-
Brands that dream big and keep it real
speak to people and influence culture.
It just so happens that those brands
also persuade more sales.
Brands are an underutilized source and
force. Brands are talked about entirely
too much in light of the fact that they
34 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 35BlackDog Strategy & Brand
BlackDog Strategy & Brand
We don’t “invent” brands at
BlackDog; we excavate and humanize
authentic brands that have people-
centric priorities, a story to tell,
and a genuine contribution to
make. We don’t fabricate shallow
myths and we won’t contrive hype.
We champion the efforts of those
that view their work as a vocation
and recognize their accountability
to society. BlackDog is an indie
practice partnering with enlightened
organizations that have adopted the
high road as a sustainable business
BlackDog is not persuaded or
engaged by those that see through
the lens of what can’t be done.
We dare on the side of seafaring
explorers, abolitionists, and
suffragettes. We have fearlessly
36 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 37BlackDog Strategy & Brand
mastered the naysayers course; doing
what allegedly cannot be done in the
“real world” of the timid. Cowardice
will never tap the freedom found in
being real; a genuine act of heroism.
BlackDog Strategy & Brand was
launched with an unwavering
philosophy and a guiding sense of
purpose that has only deepened
over time. We are fascinated by the
outlandish notion that people have
the power, opportunity and potential
to collectively shape a healthy world
to live in; that future generations
will thrive in. We are convinced
that small, sincere efforts have a
We’d rather go broke and go home
than sell out.
you give the
Big Idea a
little ‘room’ to
BlackDog Strategy & Brand38 39BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Emphasize What Matters•
Do What is Right, Not Easy•
Value Reason, Intuition, & Imagination•
Engage Others in the Solutions•
Stimulate Deep Thought•
Invite Diverse Perspectives•
Critically Assess Conventional Wisdom•
Keep it Real•
40 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 41BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Who develops your brand is as important as
the decision to invest in brand development.
Relevant brands that actually mean
something to someone are shaped through
an agonizing process of tempered discovery.
In a gross oversimplification or a mad
dash to painlessly spin a brand, spit out a
tagline, turn a check, wrap things up, or just
keep the revolving door humming, firms
are filling the cluttered market with vague
pictures, boring stories, and bland brands
that people can’t connect to or get their
It’s been our experience that the “good
stuff” doesn’t just spring to mind or roll off
the tongue the first time around. We pursue
the “elusive” relentlessly; collaboratively
weighing, dissecting, and interpreting the
history, philosophy, feedback, ambitions,
opinions, quips, industry jargon, mission,
vision, core ideologies, and the point of it
Over the years we have cultivated a patient
fascination for new discoveries; we know
when to chase and when to fold…when
to tolerate the ambiguity of the unknown,
when to backtrack and re-think an idea,
42 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 43BlackDog Strategy & Brand
and when to pick the brains of the unusual
suspects that we reserve for times like this.
We honor the whirlwind process for the
fruit that it eventually produces. We riddle
the unknown through the dizzying spiral,
intriguing chaos, and confusion in hot
pursuit of the Big Idea. We challenge pre-
conceptions, twist and prod every point
of reference, and challenge every line of
thought with a battery of “whys” until our
thinking grinds to a halt- begging for mercy
and a caffeine chaser.
We rely on analytics, empirical research,
benchmarking reports, critical performance
metrics, classic schools of wisdom, market
analysis, and best practices to broaden our
understanding, frame our recommendations,
and avoid costly mistakes. Referencing
past innovations and successes grounds
our strategy, but falls short of inspiring
Big Ideas to be launched. The breakaway
successes that are written about today were
once radical Big Ideas that bold companies
dared to innovate into existence in the hopes
of producing revolutionary solutions and
unheard of results.
Big Ideas aren’t
all behind us!
44 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 45BlackDog Strategy & Brand
What Makes BlackDog Credible?
Going to church
you a Christian
going to a garage
makes you a
We started with a simple purpose that has
never changed. BlackDog contributes to
justice, peace, diversity, order, unity, humanity
and the quality of life through our work and
Though the purpose has never changed, how
we say it has. Over the years it became clear
that our business philosophy and intentions
weren’t easily interpreted. Convinced that
BlackDog was in fact working for the highest
good we found the fearless confidence
to express our sincerity explicitly and our
We don’t brand bullshit.
Our willingness to “be real” reflects our sincerity,
intensity authenticity, and enthusiasm.
Our sincerity and enthusiasm ensures that your
brand will never be confused for shallow, trite,
disingenuous, or irrelevant bullshit.
Lawrence J. Peter
46 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 47BlackDog Strategy & Brand
We are outsiders. We are strangers to the social
constructs, systems, processes, and language
that organizations accept as standard and
often can’t see past. We don’t operate on the
same defaults and aren’t limited to a single
industry perspective. We have ears to hear
what everyone on the outside wants to know
and needs to hear. Our fresh eyes synthesize
robust and scalable next practices; signature
innovations and emergent solutions that create
new methods of working that can consistently
deliver on your unique, people-centric, brand
People are our business plan.
BlackDog is independent. We are not beholden
to a global cartel or back-room financiers
surreptitiously guiding our thinking or molding
the “who/what/why” of our solutions.
BlackDog is financed by customers.
Meticulously crafted brands that people connect
with boast distinguishable differentiators and
powerful benefits. Brands that make an impact,
reinforce their relevance and live their virtues
are identified immediately as the must-have
solution; the real deal, second to none. We get
it; we activate, represent and enliven a spirited
brand of our own every day. Never trust a
bland “brand mill” to position you for brand
insistence that doesn’t boast distinguishable
differentiators, powerful (people-centric)
benefits, an authentic way of being, and a
relevant perspective that compels and woos like
a red flag to a bull. All brand houses are not
We never lose sight of the fact that as we are
building your brand, we’re building ours. What
we say about you says everything about us. We
both have something to gain by your success.
We double-dog-dare you to find a brand house
with the breadth of capabilities that we have.
BlackDog’s range of strategic expertise spans
broad disciplines and countless industries
ensuring that we detect inconsistencies and
identify (un)conventional thought throughout
the brand building process. On-location or at
the BlackDog Lab, we work collaboratively,
cultivating a supportive think tank that values
diverse viewpoints and inspires ingenuity.
We stay ahead of the curve and stand behind
48 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 49BlackDog Strategy & Brand
We don’t have any “swanky”, self important,
trademarked names for our brand building
processes. We haven’t settled on one sure
method, we’re not convinced that anyone
should given that every brand initiative that
we’ve ever seen is so remarkably different.
We are more committed to staying fresh and
avoiding staid ways of doing anything in a
rapidly evolving world. We aren’t coasting
on anyone’s laurels or riding on yesterday’s
victories. We believe in making the bread fresh
every day. We are fully engaged at every phase.
BlackDog regularly seeks out a few good
critics to challenge, grill, question, and test
our own evolution, strategic direction, brand
development, processes, and projects. We
invite those of like minds and those that see
the world through an entirely different lens
to offer unrestrained insights, constructive
feedback, and their straightforward opinions
in the hopes of avoiding costly errors,
enhancing our performance, clarifying our
view, figuring out what we don’t know, and
solidifying what we do well.
We are practiced conversationalists that
delight in deep discussions with diverse
peoples across the bell curve, from fringe to
curious fringe. Our projects evolve and take
shape through exploration and dialogue.
Engaging exchanges require dedicated time
to stray, indulge, and attend all the nuances
not spoken given that less than 10% of
communication is articulated through words.
We know how to listen intently, switch
gears, test the waters, and intuit when the
conversation should focus, deepen, back off,
We are holistic, multi-disciplinary
systems thinkers who anticipate natural
consequences and keep a weather-eye out
for the unintended ones. As such, we DO
NOT brand efforts that do not and will not
contribute to the world that we want to live
in 20, 30, or more years down the line.
Utilizing psychology, anthropology,
sociology, technology, architecture, and
theater we translate thoughts, opinions, and
feelings of the invested community into
meaningful designs, aesthetic experiences,
and creative environments that connect with
50 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 51BlackDog Strategy & Brand
At BlackDog, we
know that what we
know is nothing
compared to what
we don‘t know.
52 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 53BlackDog Strategy & Brand
BlackDog has organized a diverse and savvy
network of 3,769 global citizens that willingly
advance healthy solutions to the challenges
that are unearthed in the hopes of advantaging
a new world. This active community of
engaged “outsiders” works collaboratively
through digital tools to address confounds,
mysteries, deficiencies, and other quirks
according to their interest, schedules, and
This powerhouse is a consortium of real
people that are exercised as a collaborative and
integrative think tank, a mega crowd to source,
or segmented as a not-so-usual demographic.
These social citizens are a wild combination
of convergent thinkers, perspectives, cultures,
ethnicities, politics, worldviews, experiences,
professions, industries, trades, and life stories.
This well-informed network of thinking caps
thrives in the culture of discovery and thought,
they are intrinsically rewarded through their
exchanges, and collectively they appreciate
their capacity to advance sound, ground-
breaking solutions that drive business, make
sense, and do no harm at lightning speed.
Harnessed Global Network of
BlackDog Strategy & Brand54 55BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Just putting a pink ribbon on your product
doesn’t make you socially responsible.
“Certified Organic,” “Carbon Neutral,” and
“No Trans Fats” claims on your packaging
won’t achieve it either. A brand isn’t socially
responsible unless they are consciously
and meticulously concerned with their
impact on society. While the vast majority
of companies think of social responsibility
in terms of green initiatives and charitable
donations, true social responsibility is a
guiding philosophy that runs far deeper
than individual programs, outreaches, or
BlackDog considers pro bono work to be
an integral part of our business model and
a generous reflection of our organization’s
culture. Strategic initiatives promote
sustainable growth and competitive
advantages in education, not-for-profits,
minority owned endeavors, start-ups, and
undertakings in disadvantaged communities.
BlackDog invests in pro bono efforts that
create jobs, spur economic development,
invigorate business development, inspire
pride, and strengthen our community.
BlackDog’s pro bono initiatives are resource
intensive and represent a significant
financial investment. BlackDog relies on an
independent, impartial, advisory panel and a
standardized review process to appraise pro
bono candidates and projects. Preference is
given to organizations that demonstrate the
56 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 57BlackDog Strategy & Brand
Serious Play for
have the power
to effect radical
Our goal is to radically reduce Threats to Girlhood
through our research, our awareness efforts, and our
impact on industry. We’re working to advance the
wellbeing of girls and the lifelong possibilities for
women by impacting the modeling and messaging
our children encounter and the quality of their play
We believe that play is serious because it helps develop
girls’ sense of self and cognitive abilities; it teaches
creative and constructive problem solving, self
expression, and emotional intelligence; contributes to
character and skill development; and impacts the roles
that girls think of as natural. Because the modeling and
messaging conveyed by girls’ toys, products, and brands
impacts girls’ childhood development and life-long
wellness, we believe that it matters what we let girls’
brands say, convey, and sell.
BlackDog Strategy and Brand financially underwrites
our research endeavors as part of their commitment
to improving the ethical standards of the branding
industry and their continuing dedication to social
Our website is a research forum that allows us to share
our ongoing discoveries, to help us learn about your
experiences, and allow you to participate in our research
endeavors. We look forward to hearing your stories and
thank you for taking the time to consider how your
contribution can help advance the well being of girls
and the possibilities for women.
58 BlackDog Strategy & Brand 59BlackDog Strategy & Brand
This is the telling of a modern day quest …
Of tireless people committed to rising
above common agonies that rob purpose
and squander zeal.
Of gentle giants that decide to cast off
the chains, expose phantasms of fear, and
vigorously pursue what some can only
This is the way of the warrior that carries
forth the indelible message that alone is
yours to evolve into a reality.
You are invited to embark upon a journey
that promises to unite you with your unique
vocation; distinguishing your authentic
story from the conventional methods of
This is the hero’s journey…
The quest starts with a
decision to wonder the limits
and move forward.
The moral of the story is
yours to write…