Analogies Can Reframe Your Brand’s Possibilities

How Lateral Thinking Can Unlock New Ways to Represent Your Organization

Whether you’re crafting the perfect sentence, explaining an abstract idea, or building a new brand identity, it’s easy to fall into habitual thinking as you search for solutions. Look for fresh ideas by using analogies. This technique of reframing the puzzle can help you see your organization in a new light and unlock new ways of representing and talking about what you do and why you do it.

Artwork by Merit Myers

Writers, thinkers, and creators have long believed in the power of analogies. In his memoir On Writing, author Stephen King explains that analogies help people see an old thing in a new, vivid way. The writer and philosopher Edward de Bono created the term “lateral thinking” — the same cognitive pattern used when processing an analogy — to invite provocation and challenge thinkers to consider whether there might be other paths to solving the problem.

For visionary organizations ready to further your mission, branding can serve as a powerful tool to communicate your vision. But how do you avoid the homogeneity trap? The sneaking pressure to be like everyone else around you?

Analogies can crack open a problem and breathe freshness into it

Try this simple exercise:

  1. What if __(your organization)__________ was the ___(analogy)______ of ___(the category or sector you operate in)_____.
  2. What attributes / personality traits would come to the forefront if this were true?
  3. What functional benefits would you emphasize about your organization and its work?
  4. What emotional benefits would you emphasize about your organization and its work?

We did this activity with a public defenders office who came to us for a rebrand. Rather than deal in the overused tropes of the legal world or abstractions of the word “defense” or “defender”, we did the above exercise.

The breakthrough?

“What if our office was the Olivia Pope of public defense?”

The analogy of Olivia Pope broke open the dam. The staff immediately saw themselves in Olivia Pope: relentless, savvy operators, fixing broken situations, with a balance of hard-edged determination and soft-edged compassion and empathy. This exercise led into a whole new way of talking about the organization, its work, its approach, and its people.

The value of a nonprofit brand is manifold

When done right, it can attract new and more funding, enable game-changing partnerships, build internal cohesion around your mission and values, and serve as a strong bridge between your programming and your external communications. The rise of branding in the nonprofit sector has been a decade or two in the making, and it’s here to stay. More and more organizations are willing to invest money in building a bold brand. In your efforts to build an identity, make sure you’ve got the tools for standing out from the pack rather than unintentionally blending in.

--

--

--

We work with nonprofits to create brands that resonate, through deep collaboration and coaching, in order to unlock their potential to make a bigger impact.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Force of Character

How digital agencies transform your business

Walk-in Shopping Versus Appointment-Based Shopping

Ombori on Walk-In versus Appointment-Based Shopping

Where are all the dark-skinned jurors at the Cannes Lions ? #canneslionssowhite

14 Must Have Digital Marketing Tools

Brendan Shields-Shimizu of Observatory: 5 Non-Intuitive Ways To Grow Your Marketing Career

Motivation Monday: How a Female Entrepreneur Changed the Foundation of Marketing with Inclusion

11 Ways To Advertise and Grow your Business Through Customer Experience

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Hyperakt

Hyperakt

We work with nonprofits to create brands that resonate, through deep collaboration and coaching, in order to unlock their potential to make a bigger impact.

More from Medium

Council Post: Five Lessons For Business Leaders To Apply In 2022

🧱 Build to Last: Why Visionary Companies Succeed -

Brainwaves in your Boardroom

Uphill 05 — “Go the extra mile, it is never crowded.”