Monday, June 08, 2009

Branding Workshop

Some of the best branding workshops are the ones that make us partake in analogies. The building blocks of branding are emotions - identifying who we are as individuals, companies, our missions, our values - and then turning those intrinsic beliefs into something visual that conjures up the emotion.

But what are those beliefs and emotions?

If we take a moment to compare ourselves to our competitors, and even something fun that Chip Conley has done for his hotel chain - picking a magazine on which his hotel brand is built - forces us to answer questions like, "How do I perceive myself?" and "How do I want others to perceive me?"

I've also seen this done by gathering a group of logos - from cars to restaurants to clothing lines to cities. The point is to compare how you identify one vs. the other and why you feel you identify with one more than the other.

If Piccadilly Arts were a magazine, what would it be? Something that spoke to authentic traditional art forms...combined with modern eco-friendliness. I must visit my local Borders to hunt down this allusive magazine.

Iconic Branding

Iconic Branding

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Thursday, April 30, 2009


I read this article in the NY Times the other day. While I can't say I'd ever want to work for an airline, the business mindset of Delta's CEO did resonate with me.

I was recently in State College, PA leading a workshop for artists. After dinner I strolled the adorable downtown and poked my head into a terrific ceramic studio - The Creative Oasis. An hour later I emerged, bogged down with some wonderful local pottery. Unfortunately, my excitement was cut short by a group of college students loitering on the corner begging me for money to get home. After ignoring the bunch, they proceeded to shout sarcastic self righteous comments at me.

Most situations like that roll off my back but for some reason that evening I couldn't shake the verbal assault. What bothered me most was the sense of entitlement that these kids illustrated. It is not enough that they are going to an amazing university and getting a terrific education. Clearly, they are also entitled to behave poorly on a street corner and ask for handouts and then verbally put you down for ignoring their plea.

I see this sense of entitlement in so many today - young and old. I believe we all must go through the trenches and have our moments of self doubt and self righteousness so we can marry our dreams with harsh reality, but that in the end we emerge more confident, more mature, more patient, and more seasoned professionals.

I try to remind myself that these college aged students will likely spend several more years acting this way in their efforts to figure themselves out...I'm sure I had my share of "fine" moments. It does make it hard though for those of us in positions to hire and/or mentor to WANT to invest our time in certain folks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nonprofit Survival in Tough Times

The LaSalle Nonprofit Center had these tips - the 3 C's - for nonprofit survival in our current economy.

Core mission and competencies – Make sure your focus is tight on the core services and programs that are critical to your mission and don’t sacrifice their quality. Now is not the time to be all things to all people, but to prioritize and stay within bounds.

Collaboration – Most of our organizations have competitors and we spent time, energy and money fighting over the same donors, the same resources, the same audiences, when we could be more effective collaborating strategically rather than competing.

Communicate with your key stakeholders; don’t stop fundraising and don’t apologize for it. Let them know what’s going on clearly and honestly, without hysteria or desperation and be concrete about what their support will do.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I always include partnerships in any tactical marketing plan I create for a company. Who or what else is out there that shares a similar mission and can help tell your story? Can help you reach new donors, audiences, and clients? Can help sustain your business?

There are a few upcoming workshops in the Philadelphia area that I wanted to share with you. I'll be attending the May one.

1)Strategic Restructuring for Arts and Culture Organizations
The Nonprofit Finance Fund will offer the third installment of its Managing in Turbulent Times series with a workshop on Strategic Restructuring for Arts and Culture Organizations on Tuesday, April 14th from 9am to 4pm. The event will take place at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust Street in Philadelphia.

The workshop features presentations by Jo De Bolt of La Piana Associates and the Chief Cultural Officer for Philadelphia, Gary Steuer, who will speak on the merger of Americans For the Arts and the Arts & Business Council. The event is cosponsored by the Arts & Business Council, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative.

DeBolt will explain the different partnership options for nonprofits - such as mergers, joint ventures, and administrative consolidations, the reasons for considering these options, how to assess an organization’s readiness for restructuring, and what makes for successful partnerships.

The cost of the workshop is $75 for the first registrant from an organization. Additional registrants from the same organization are $50 per person

2)Strategic Partnerships: Forging Alliances, Advancing Your Mission
A regional summit for funders and nonprofit agencies, featuring Jo DeBolt of La Piana Associates and local agency leaders who have created successful partnerships in the nonprofit community.

More info.

So Long

It has been shamefully long since I wrote...but with good reason. I am a new mom. Actually, at nearly 10 months, "new" maybe isn't the write adjective although every day is a new adventure. My son, Mitchell, was born last May and hands down is my pride and joy. I took some time off last summer and took a break from freelancing to get acclimated to my new role as a mom.

Probably the most useful skills I've acquired (or brushed up) in recent months have been prioritizing, multi-tasking, and chunking projects. It takes me back to a time management class I took when I first started high school. Things do get their own time.

There is a new fresh website for Piccadilly. My focus is on helping clients with branding and marketing. Let me help you tell your story. What makes your company so great and how do we share the emotional stories, build excitement and increase your company's visibility?

I'm still working within the arts and culture but there is a clear link between the arts and sustainability. Nonprofits, specifically artists and arts orgs, know how to do a lot on a to pull resources, and by their very missions, be about something greater than themselves. I'd like to reach out to other companies - both for profit and nonprofit - that are driven by sustainability and social responsibility. We share this commitment so please contact me for branding and marketing services!