This here is the first of many posts about branding and identity of Jewish organizations. I should write hopefully, because if I get a weak response, I’m going straight back to redoing the flooring in my parents crystal meth lab. With all the money poured into research and consulting, I’m curious to see tangible and concrete ideas. No more statistical bs, theories, or formulas. This isn’t rocket science. Every business, NGO, even some people (think Kobe Bryant) have establish a brand. So here’s the game my friends, in 4 easy steps!
- Pick an organization we’re familiar with (JDub Records, Hazon, PresentTense, the kingdom of Ariel Beery, etc)
- Investigate their language, mission, values. Ask some marketing q’s.
- Go scalpel crazy in the comments, try and assess What is the Brand? and see whether the message/brand matches up to the public, i.e. me and you.
- Sacrifice goat or thick haired mammal.
So to start things right, let’s pick: Hillel.
Through my own experience, Hillel comes up with new taglines and missions fairly often. Meaningful Jewish experiences, Connecting Community, others that I couldn’t locate on their website. Shame. They’re probably more telling than ‘Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.’ But it looks like each Hillel adds their own copy giving a local spin on the Mission. Ex: ‘Empowering a vibrant community,’ (UCLA) or ‘Develop leadership potential and express Jewishness in many traditional and creative ways.’ (IU) Berkeley Hillel’s mission is more blunt: ‘A place for students to put down their heavy bags after a long day and philter through the refrigerator.’ Sounds delicious. So Hillel has been called tons of things. But what exactly is their message, and how effective is Hillel in getting that message across? In your mind, what the hell does this organization stand for?
I’m throwing down some more questions, just in case you don’t do well with the rants that typify most of my writing. And I promise, these will get better as time goes on. Feel free to ask your own too, and answer what interests you. Go off on tangents. Who cares. It’s the INTERNET. We’ve not using paper.
- How do you perceive Hillel’s brand? Is it clear and focused?
- Has your opinion of the brand changed? What problems do you have with it?
- What do you associate with the brand? Things, music, food, types of people, art, colors, anything. If someone says I’m going to Hillel, what images pop up into your head?
- Does the Hillel brand have a personality? Is it fun? Boring? Lame? Would yo want to go on a date with it?
- What type of culture does Hillel try, or has already, created? What kind of feeling or attitude do you have towards that culture? (Ex: Apple users associate hip, trendy, gadgetry with the Apple culture, not necessarily the products themselves)
And I should say that I’m not being paid by or connected to Hillel in any way. I’m doing this to satisfy my own curiosities. But yes, I do want this to be read and looked at. We’ve gt the medium…So let’s use it wisely.