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BlackDog Brand Manifesto

When BlackDog refers to brand, the brand, or branding, you can be sure that we’re not talking about your logo. When we talk brand we’re talking about a much bigger inspiration: The Big Idea.

The Big Idea that possesses the psyche and triggers the zeal of a working community. The Big Idea that inspires change, grabs hold of an opportunity, 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 enthusiasm 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 deserving of a little attention, please.

The Big Idea isn’t hype, spin, or hoopla.

The Big Idea very often begins with a question. “What do we want this company to look like when it grows up”, or “What organizational flaws are clues to my true strengths”, or “Given our expertise and proximity to other area businesses what need can we meet (locally, regionally, 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 clarify. 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.

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BlackDog Brand Manifesto

  1. 1. BIG!DEA
  2. 2. We see our own fulfillment asentangled in that of the people aroundus. As we find our true calling and liveit out, others prosper; and as others Est. 2 0 0 6fulfill themselves as a community,they provide us with an irreplaceablecontext for our own unfolding and self-discovery... ate g y & Br a n S tr dCommunity arises when we discoverthe interesting, if radical, alternative:finding guidance for our own lives bygiving attention to the desires andintentions of others. This is not anobligation; it’s a way of being thatinvites soul in place of ego. Thomas Moore BlackDog Strategy & Brand 3
  3. 3. *Bull•shit (bŏŏl•shĭť ) - vulgar slang BlackDog contributes to Our working understanding of Bullshit, and use of the term, must be credited to Princeton’s own moral justice, peace, diversity, philosopher, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the classic essay “On Bullshit”. Frankfurt verified what we at order, unity, humanity and BlackDog have suspected all along, Bullshit has no attachment to, regard for, or interest in accurately the quality of life through representing the truth, facts, or realities of any given topic. Bullshit is a perspective substantiated only by our work and service. an agenda. True or false, informed or uninformed, h it* “by accident or by design”, Bullshit is the calculated nd bulls decision to postulate an idea or set of assumptions n’ t bra for the purpose of achieving indulgent ends. we do Absent of credibility or moral conviction, Bullshit schemes, distracts, perverts, distorts, misrepresents, and confuses. Bullshit is a vulgar term for a vile, though unspoken practice that we won’t do. Not for love, money, or fame.4 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 5
  4. 4. BI G When BlackDog refers to brand, the brand, or businesses what need can we meet (locally, re- branding, you can be sure that we’re not talk- gionally, nationally, or internationally).” While ing about your logo. When we talk brand we’re explanations get bogged down with details, talking about a much bigger inspiration: The Big the Big Idea, vividly painted in clear strokes of Idea. purpose and outcomes, has the power to clar- ify. The Big Idea is easily understood, passed The Big Idea that possesses the psyche and trig- on, and carried forth. The Big Idea is clear and gers the zeal of a working community. The Big compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of Idea that inspires change, grabs hold of an op- ID EA effort, and acts as a catalyst for team spirit. portunity, and purposes to do what no one else had the courage to do. The sort of Big Idea that The Big Idea isn’t to be something else, but wins over the last skeptic, pushes the limits, rather to identify and position the best of makes something bold happen, and escalates en- yourself. thusiasm to a visceral level. The kind of Big Idea The Big Idea engages meaning by restoring a that has the power to turn heads, change minds, sense of purpose beyond the operational, the and re-order the hierarchy from who has the material, and the financial. The Big Idea is the business to a more just system of who deserves difference between your working goals and the business. The kind of Big Idea that’s deserv- becoming committed to a daunting, inspired ing of a little attention, please. challenge. Big Ideas should not be confused The Big Idea isn’t hype, spin, or hoopla. for bland mission statements, platitudes, or a list of goals… Big Ideas are compelling and The Big Idea very often begins with a ques- inspirational objectives. Big Ideas are worth tion. “What do we want this company to look talking about, listening to, and supporting. like when it grows up”, or “What organizational flaws are clues to our true strengths”, or “Giv- en our expertise and proximity to other area6 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 7
  5. 5. A Bold A Vague Brand Brand Is A Is A Necessity Liability8 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 9
  6. 6. Your brand is every real or imagined Brand is not trait, nuance, story, impression, quirk, process, delay, sound, sneeze, perspective, dimension, sell tactic, what you experience, perk, odor, texture, feeling, and connection that makes the radar of your customer. say it is, The amalgamation of those experiences either add significance, authenticity, style, and perceived value to what you it’s what they have to offer…making your brand more valuable than the version that everyone else is offering. Or not. say it is. Your customer decides what is relevant. Or isn’t. Marty Neumeier10 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 11
  7. 7. The margins are tightest in the fight can’t be copied or bought. Brand for mediocre: the most competitive relevance is an earned honor of dis- spot in the game is at ‘holding our tinction bestowed upon companies own’; inefficiencies are the fruit of committed to knowing who they are, ‘good enough’; market shares are what they do, why they do it, and busting at the seams to produce the why anyone should care. It’s going unimaginative, inconsistently, at a to take meaningful solutions, genu- competitive price. ine connections, designed experienc- Mimicking the programs and strate- es, and inspired messages that you gies of the bored and lifeless that keep on bringing on for the long are buckling down, backing off, and haul. playing it safe is a dangerous bet and The goal is not to be something a lousy excuse for not doing what else, but rather to become the best you really want to do. of yourself. 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; it12 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 13
  8. 8. We have all paid more, driven farther, and waited longer for a brand that we You do not trust, for a brand that we believe has no substitute. Competitor’s promises, merely want to discounts, perks, and conveniences are powerless to lure us from our position. be considered We are intrigued by spirited brands just the best that won’t settle for good enough or jump aboard the next aimless trend. of the best. We are persuaded by authentic brands that know their difference must make a You want to be difference. We are inspired by passion, engaged by innovation, and commit- considered the ted to brands that see us as people, not consumers. We are enthused by brands only ones who that refuse to be homogenized, have found their voice, and fearlessly parted do what you do. from the herd with resolve to never look back. Jerry Garcia We are invested in interactive brands that share our perspective, engage us in conversations, admit when they are14 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 15
  9. 9. wrong, deliver more than they prom- play with the community that they call ise, and offer meaningful experiences their own. that tantalize our minds and indulge all We are compelled by sustainable of our senses. brands that address their impact on We are drawn to brands that are un- the condition of the world; brands daunted by the popular world view; that understand that what and how brands that refuse to pay lip service they contribute is how they will be to lofty missions or shallow pursuits. remembered. We admire the rare renegades that We are committed to relevant brands come together to explore the limits, that keep it fresh and real; brands that play at the boundaries, and harness connect their Big Idea to what truly their unique competencies to disrupt matters. business as usual, doing what they do best…create new possibilities. We recognize brands that look good because they are good. Brands that ney ed more mo decided to live and reflect their eth- You d on’t ne ics, champion the high road, and serve the greater good through their life’s just more guts! work. Brands that are invigorated and invigorate us in the game, take us with them, challenge us, and invite us to16 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 17
  10. 10. A Brand Is Not A Promotion A LOGO A Brand !S NOT Is Not A BRAND A Gimmick A Brand Is Not An Advertising Roll Out18 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 19
  11. 11. 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 investment.20 BlackDog Strategy & Brand
  12. 12. Think about your brand as an ongoing Use this score card narrative; like a to evaluate your own series or a sequel. brand from three critical An evolving story perspectives: that moves your Your in-the-know vista. customer closer and The lens of your customers. closer to knowing The view from your most-feared who you are, what competitor.. you do, and why you do it.22 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 23 BlackDog Strategy & Brand
  13. 13. be be ay ay o s M Ye o s N M Ye □ □ □ N • Our brand has a timeless guiding philosophy. • We track market conditions and trends that cre- □ □ □ • Our strategic partners, affiliates, and service pro- □ □ □ ate new opportunities. viders have been chosen carefully. They reflect • Our marketing strategy reflects relevant cultural □ □ □ our brand values. and market trends. • We understand how customers perceive and □ □ □ • We have a process in place to evaluate our □ □ □ experience the brand. brand’s value. • Our decision-makers understand customers’ □ □ □ • We track industry offerings to be sure that our □ □ □ conception of the brand. brand offers competitive points of parity. • We know what our customers like and don’t like □ □ □ • Our brand features desirable and deliverable □ □ □ about our brand. points of significant difference. • We have a very clear understanding of who our □ □ □ • Our brand is positioned sensibly. □ □ □ customer is and why. • Our brand is supported with qualified people □ □ □ • We have very specific, research-based profiles of □ □ □ and resources. our target customers. • Our marketing programs are measured and □ □ □ • We are aware of the associations most com- □ □ □ tracked for ROI. monly related to our brand. • We conduct brand audits regularly to determine □ □ □ • We understand exactly what our customers value □ □ □ the vitality of our brand. about our brand. • We conduct strategic and competitive assess- □ □ □ • We know exactly what our customers are buying □ □ □ ments to determine our strategic direction. when they buy our brand. • Our brand narrative is consistent over time. □ □ □ • Our prices reflect our brand’s value. □ □ □ • Our brand narrative is consistent across the □ □ □ • It’s easy for customers to share feedback with us. □ □ □ organization and all departments. • We do an excellent job of responding to cus- □ □ □ • Our brand narrative clearly communicates our □ □ □ tomer feedback. story, purpose, and capabilities. • We do an excellent job of getting customer feed- □ □ □ • Our brand connects across diverse channels and □ □ □ back into the hands of decision-makers. mediums that we know our customers engage. • Our brand is the solution to our customers’ □ □ □ • Our brand narrative really connects with our □ □ □ problem. customer. • We consistently improve our brand’s products □ □ □ • Our brand speaks in a voice that really reflects □ □ □ and services. our brand. • We consistently uncover unmet consumer needs □ □ □ • Everyone in our organization knows how to □ □ □ and wants. represent our brand. • We consistently innovate new, customer-centric, □ □ □ • Our brand image is crisp. □ □ □ user-friendly processes. • Our brand image has not dulled over time or □ □ □ • We focus relentlessly on maximizing our cus- □ □ □ been diluted by expanded or discontinued ser- tomers’ experiences. vices. • We keep our eyes on the broad market con- □ □ □ • Our brand image has not been tarnished by a □ □ □ ditions that are relevant. scandal. We have a strong reputation. • We know our brand’s weaknesses. □ □ □24 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 25
  14. 14. To create a matchless strategic advantage with a clear and cohesive identity. To excavate your Big Idea and your authentic why brand? story. To develop a clear and meaningful strategic course. 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 marketing strategies. To build trust with your customers. Because a brand shaped on the Big Idea returns your investment.26 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 27
  15. 15. A new competitor with a value-loaded Brands weren’t necessary in your industry. proposition is storming your market, Your reputation was your strategic advantage reducing your once “owned” differentiation for years. Things have changed. A new player to a cost-of-entry benefit, and usurping your is pushing a sharp brand. brand position and diluting your relevance. Your brand has been gauging your carbon Your organization is readying to enter new footprint up and down the value chain: markets with a disruptive and powerful adopting minimal packaging standards, proprietary advantage that changes the innovating efficient delivery and advertising strategic game. models. You are now recognized as a forerunner in the sustainability economy. For a long time customers have accused your This opens whole new worlds to you...if you brand of being “outdated”. You were hoping let people know. to ride out your retro look long enough to earn a classic distinction that would endear Your brand is recognized as a great employer; you to the nostalgic market. your superior work culture has been honored with national awards. You want to build Your products perform better in independent your employee engagement, programs, and testing against your two biggest competitors. success into your brand story in the hopes Yet, they smoke you in sales. How can you of attracting top talent and recognizing your have lagging sells with a winning product? people. You have acquired two companies. One of The world has changed, the people involved them was larger than yours. But you kept have evolved, and the business has morphed. your name. The lack of unity and identity is You need a cohesive brand to align the new getting to everyone. direction, the evolution, reflect the relevance and introduce your Big Idea. You are hoping to secure venture capital for your start up. But the feedback indicated that you had a confusing message and a vague image.28 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 29
  16. 16. • 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 influence. • Some brands have a subtle and cumulative influence. !MAGINE All brands have the power to elevate society. All brands have the freedom to objectify the human experience. 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- den agenda…30 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 31
  17. 17. Which leads us to wonder what would are not imagined, leveraged, or opera- happen if brands broadened their tionalized deeply enough. worldview, got inspired, actioned a re- Authentic Brands that serve as a wit- ally Big Idea, and thoughtfully contrib- ness and purpose an ideal should have uted as a steward of society... the telling power of ancient myths We can imagine brands as responsible handed down for untold centuries. The ambassadors, championing social issues brands of rugged individualists that that connect with their sense of iden- value their work, perspectives, and his- tity and philosophy of being. Organiz- tory should spark intrigue and provoke ing high-impact, volunteer projects that new ways of interpreting the world. involve whole tribes of brand fans that Innovative brands worthy of an expe- might not have otherwise got out of rience and brand narratives worth re- their comfort zone to make a meaning- peating must promise a departure from ful difference. the ordinary and the mundane. The Brands that dream big and keep it real collective, dynamic, and humanizing speak to people and influence culture. nature of brand should make room for It just so happens that those brands others to find their own detailed story also persuade more sales. in your rich brand identity. Brands are an underutilized source and force. Brands are talked about entirely too much in light of the fact that they32 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 33
  18. 18. 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 strategy. 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 fearlessly34 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 35
  19. 19. mastered the naysayers course; doing what allegedly cannot be done in the ...because 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 best ideas philosophy and a guiding sense of purpose that has only deepened emerge when over time. We are fascinated by the outlandish notion that people have you give the the power, opportunity and potential to collectively shape a healthy world Big Idea a little ‘room’ to to live in; that future generations will thrive in. We are convinced that small, sincere efforts have a cumulative effect. We’d rather go broke and go home pop! than sell out.36 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 37
  20. 20. Mission Ethos • Emphasize What Matters • Respect Humanity • Do What is Right, Not Easy BlackDog • • Pursue Knowledge Value Reason, Intuition, & Imagination humanizes brands. • • Actively Participate Engage Others in the Solutions • Stimulate Deep Thought • Respect Expertise • Invite Diverse Perspectives • Contribute Ethically • Critically Assess Conventional Wisdom • Keep it Real • Enjoy Life38 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 39
  21. 21. Perspective Matters 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 heads around. 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 all. 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,40 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 41
  22. 22. and when to pick the brains of the unusual suspects that we reserve for times like this. BlackDog is We honor the whirlwind process for the fruit that it eventually produces. We riddle the unknown through the dizzying spiral, committed intriguing chaos, and confusion in hot pursuit of the Big Idea. We challenge pre- to forward thinking 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, strategies… 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 …because the past innovations and successes grounds our strategy, but falls short of inspiring Big Ideas aren’t all behind us! 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.42 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 43
  23. 23. What Makes BlackDog Credible? We started with a simple purpose that has never changed. BlackDog contributes to Going to church justice, peace, diversity, order, unity, humanity and the quality of life through our work and service. doesn’t make Though the purpose has never changed, how you a Christian we say it has. Over the years it became clear that our business philosophy and intentions weren’t easily interpreted. Convinced that anymore than BlackDog was in fact working for the highest good we found the fearless confidence going to a garage to express our sincerity explicitly and our boldness plainly. makes you a We don’t brand bullshit. mechanic. Our willingness to “be real” reflects our sincerity, Lawrence J. Peter intensity authenticity, and enthusiasm. Our sincerity and enthusiasm ensures that your brand will never be confused for shallow, trite, disingenuous, or irrelevant bullshit.44 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 45
  24. 24. We are outsiders. We are strangers to the social brand of our own every day. Never trust a constructs, systems, processes, and language bland “brand mill” to position you for brand that organizations accept as standard and insistence that doesn’t boast distinguishable often can’t see past. We don’t operate on the differentiators, powerful (people-centric) same defaults and aren’t limited to a single benefits, an authentic way of being, and a industry perspective. We have ears to hear relevant perspective that compels and woos like what everyone on the outside wants to know a red flag to a bull. All brand houses are not and needs to hear. Our fresh eyes synthesize equal. robust and scalable next practices; signature innovations and emergent solutions that create We never lose sight of the fact that as we are new methods of working that can consistently building your brand, we’re building ours. What deliver on your unique, people-centric, brand we say about you says everything about us. We promise. both have something to gain by your success. We’re invested. People are our business plan. We double-dog-dare you to find a brand house BlackDog is independent. We are not beholden with the breadth of capabilities that we have. to a global cartel or back-room financiers BlackDog’s range of strategic expertise spans surreptitiously guiding our thinking or molding broad disciplines and countless industries the “who/what/why” of our solutions. ensuring that we detect inconsistencies and BlackDog is financed by customers. identify (un)conventional thought throughout the brand building process. On-location or at Meticulously crafted brands that people connect the BlackDog Lab, we work collaboratively, with boast distinguishable differentiators and cultivating a supportive think tank that values powerful benefits. Brands that make an impact, diverse viewpoints and inspires ingenuity. reinforce their relevance and live their virtues are identified immediately as the must-have We stay ahead of the curve and stand behind solution; the real deal, second to none. We get our work. it; we activate, represent and enliven a spirited46 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 47
  25. 25. We don’t have any “swanky”, self important, shape through exploration and dialogue. trademarked names for our brand building Engaging exchanges require dedicated time processes. We haven’t settled on one sure to stray, indulge, and attend all the nuances method, we’re not convinced that anyone not spoken given that less than 10% of should given that every brand initiative that communication is articulated through words. we’ve ever seen is so remarkably different. We know how to listen intently, switch We are more committed to staying fresh and gears, test the waters, and intuit when the avoiding staid ways of doing anything in a conversation should focus, deepen, back off, rapidly evolving world. We aren’t coasting or close. on anyone’s laurels or riding on yesterday’s victories. We believe in making the bread fresh We are holistic, multi-disciplinary every day. We are fully engaged at every phase. systems thinkers who anticipate natural consequences and keep a weather-eye out BlackDog regularly seeks out a few good for the unintended ones. As such, we DO critics to challenge, grill, question, and test NOT brand efforts that do not and will not our own evolution, strategic direction, brand contribute to the world that we want to live development, processes, and projects. We in 20, 30, or more years down the line. invite those of like minds and those that see the world through an entirely different lens Utilizing psychology, anthropology, to offer unrestrained insights, constructive sociology, technology, architecture, and feedback, and their straightforward opinions theater we translate thoughts, opinions, and in the hopes of avoiding costly errors, feelings of the invested community into enhancing our performance, clarifying our meaningful designs, aesthetic experiences, view, figuring out what we don’t know, and and creative environments that connect with solidifying what we do well. people. 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 take48 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 49
  26. 26. At BlackDog, we know that what we Contribute Art, know is nothing Not compared to what Advertising. we don‘t know.50 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 51
  27. 27. Harnessed Global Network of Engaged Citizens 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 Brand through digital tools to address confounds, mysteries, deficiencies, and other quirks can’t live according to their interest, schedules, and expertise. in the This powerhouse is a consortium of real people that are exercised as a collaborative and integrative think tank, a mega crowd to source, marketing or segmented as a not-so-usual demographic. These social citizens are a wild combination department... of convergent thinkers, perspectives, cultures, ethnicities, politics, worldviews, experiences, professions, industries, trades, and life stories. This well-informed network of thinking caps anymore. 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.52 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 53
  28. 28. Pro Social Bono Responsibility BlackDog considers pro bono work to be Just putting a pink ribbon on your product an integral part of our business model and doesn’t make you socially responsible. a generous reflection of our organization’s “Certified Organic,” “Carbon Neutral,” and culture. Strategic initiatives promote “No Trans Fats” claims on your packaging sustainable growth and competitive won’t achieve it either. A brand isn’t socially advantages in education, not-for-profits, responsible unless they are consciously minority owned endeavors, start-ups, and and meticulously concerned with their undertakings in disadvantaged communities. impact on society. While the vast majority BlackDog invests in pro bono efforts that of companies think of social responsibility create jobs, spur economic development, in terms of green initiatives and charitable invigorate business development, inspire donations, true social responsibility is a pride, and strengthen our community. guiding philosophy that runs far deeper than individual programs, outreaches, or BlackDog’s pro bono initiatives are resource financial sponsorship. 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 greatest potential.54 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 55
  29. 29. Serious Play for Serious Girls 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 experiences. 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 Small causes have the power 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. to effect radical BlackDog Strategy and Brand financially underwrites our research endeavors as part of their commitment change to improving the ethical standards of the branding industry and their continuing dedication to social responsibility. 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. www.SeriousPlayforSeriousGirls.com56 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 57
  30. 30. This is the telling of a modern day quest … Of tireless people committed to rising above common agonies that rob purpose and squander zeal. This is the hero’s journey… The quest starts with a Of gentle giants that decide to cast off the chains, expose phantasms of fear, and decision to wonder the limits vigorously pursue what some can only imagine. and move forward. The moral of the story is This is the way of the warrior that carries yours to write… 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 mere men.58 BlackDog Strategy & Brand BlackDog Strategy & Brand 59
  31. 31. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. Thomas Jefferson ©2010 BlackDog Strategy & BrandBlackDog Strategy & Brand™ Serious Play for Serious Girls™BIG !DEA™ Threats to Girlhood™We Don’t Brand Bullshit™ All Rights Reserved
  32. 32. 716.898.0874©2010 BlackDog Strategy & Brand Version 2.1