These branding efforts emanate from within an organization and form the foundation of the organization’s public image. Successful branding is an outward reflection of the internal messaging and vice versa.
Imagine how disingenuous an organization would appear if outwardly it attached its name to that which is incongruent with its espoused values, mission, and positioning.
To what do you attach your brand?
The nation’s oldest, continuous academic quiz competition is embarking on its 70th season. Hi-Q began in 1948 as a high school radio quiz program founded and sponsored by Scott Paper, which was based outside Philadelphia, PA. After a generation or so and a few adjustments to the program’s format, Scott Paper brought the high school program to its hub cities around the country.
When Scott Paper announced its sale to Kimberly-Clark, the future of this outlet for scholastically astute teenagers was uncertain, but several organizations immediately seized the opportunity to serve their respective communities by keeping Hi-Q alive. In the program’s birthplace, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU) stepped up to help fund Delco Hi-Q, keeping the academic sport viable in 21 high schools.
Steeped in financial literacy initiatives, “leading with education” was at the forefront of FMFCU’s community service. CEO John D. Unangst saw sponsoring Delco Hi-Q as a natural progression of the CU’s outreach. In 2006, FMFCU went all-in and began co-managing the program with the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, which included raising funds to support Delco Hi-Q by forging relationships with organizations that shared their vision for bolstering education in the community.
Today, Hi-Q is played in four states. Three of the four programs are sponsored by community financial institutions. Like FMFCU in Pennsylvania, New Horizons Credit Union attached its name to Hi-Q in Mobile, Alabama and Farmers & Merchants Bank & Trust funds Hi-Q in Marinette, Wisconsin. Monroe Public Schools runs Hi-Q in Washington.
The ROI for these supporting organizations is immeasurable. In the words of Ben Franklin, “an investment in knowledge pays the best dividends.”
Internally, the message employees see and hear is that their employer walks the talk. The public message is, “we support our community.” The effort is congruent, it’s genuine, and it’s salable because more than a mere PR campaign, championing education makes a tangible, lasting impact on communities.
Consider the consequences when deciding to what your organization will attach its brand and reputation.