Greenfield Belser 2017 Annual Review

Greenfield Belser has been a Finn Partners company for almost two years. This year we are adopting the new Finn brand style we created for the firm that is on the second spread of our book. That’s exciting for all of us here at Finn, but that’s hardly all that has been going on this past year. Really, it is impossible to say we love the work we did for one client more than another, but our goal is always to show you a balanced portfolio—across sectors with firms of varying sizes located all around the country. Read more here.

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Brand Thinking
Bleeding edge thinking on branding and marketing

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The NFL Sells Out to Disney to Restore Brand Integrity

By Burkey Belser
November 13, 2014
The NFL Sells Out to Disney to Restore Brand Integrity

No, the NFL did not sell out to Disney but feast your eyes on these creations by Mark Avery Kenny, reported in the Washington Post on Sunday. The wit behind these NFL/Disney logos is matched by the excellence in execution. What struck me most is how clearly the brands "spoke" through each logo. In the logo above, the persona of the Denver Broncos is perfectly blended into Team Lion King. The personalities of the Disney characters and their associated qualities, even memories of the movie itself, are collected in the playful logo.

Lest we forget, Greenfield/Belser's definition of a brand is "a distinct identity based on a promise of value that is different from any other." People can be forgiven for believing a brand is a "logo" alone or even a tagline ("Just do it") but, in fact, these are not the brand. It bears repeating: a logo or tagline is NOT the brand. A brand is all of the associations collected around it. Search your amygdala and hippocampus to find all the associations you've collected of Coca-Cola: the logo, the icy red can and your memory of draining it, "The Real Thing," a jolly red Santa and polars bears during the holiday season, Coke vending machines and on and on. That's the brand. While not exactly human, it is darned close to the associations you have about individual humans. Is this why the Supreme Court decided corporations could be treated as "human"?

If I've convinced you, then you should recognize just how difficult it is to create a brand and how easy it is to create a logo. Creating and raising a brand requires superb, consistent, persistent discipline. Few professional services firms or associations achieve this because those organizations rarely understand what's required to develop a brand over the long haul. Sincere efforts that are well begun are whipsawed by changes in leadership at the top and at the CMO level. Keepers of the flame so often fail to identify the fuel that keeps the flame burning brightly—the brand equities (what the heck are these? Do you know?), the brand compass you hold in your hand (your North Star) and the gestalt of the brand itself. I understand, you've got lots to worry about, but an article in the Harvard Business Review some years ago, suggested the CEO's primary responsibility is to build and protect the brand.