Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Extreme Makeover

Tom Vance, Director of Marketing for the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, provided a behind-the-scenes look at his organization’s major rebranding effort. With only a three-person communications team to tackle the project, they succeeded in reinventing their brand in a way that moves the organization deeper into the hearts and minds of all their stakeholders ” donors, volunteers, staff and the community they serve.

Among the many insights he provided, here are a five best practices.

  1. Consider who’s done this work locally that you can learn from. Reach out to them and ask what lessons they learned. Vance and the Community Foundation reached out to Kalamazoo Valley Community College, which had undergone its own successful rebranding effort within just the past few years.
  2. Look at like organizations or companies outside your local market but within your niche. If they’ve undertaken similar work, ask them the same question: what did you learn?
  3. Reach out to all of your stakeholder groups, from volunteers to vendors to donors.
  4. Don’t forget to ask your team. It’s easy to focus on your outside stakeholders ” customers or donors, especially. Don’t forget to include the folks who work beside you everyday. They need to embrace it, too. And when the campaign is over and the new brand is in place, they’re the ones who will have to answer questions about what it all means.
  5. Take advantage of already-planned activities and work research into them by asking for input from attendees.

Check out Tom’s slides he used in his  presentation to learn more.