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Research to Develop a Foundation’s Brand & “Promise”

Communications development research: Conversations and research for foundation branding

The Situation

We helped develop a major U.S. foundation’s brand, and they implemented a “Promise” at the same time. Ten years later we helped them update the written Promise because they wanted to publish it and use it as a touchstone for their brand. Their goal was to assess the response that it elicited from a broad spectrum of their stakeholders. These stakeholders included foundation staff, grantees, partners and the board of directors. The end goal of the communications development research was to provide feedback that was both evaluative and diagnostic; the Promise should strike a positive chord across the spectrum of stakeholders.

Our Recommendation

Artemis Strategy Group used an interactive facilitation process to get feedback from senior staff and board members, and then completed an online survey of the foundation’s critical stakeholders, which included a wide range of internal and external audiences. This approach permitted a highly granular assessment of the Promise; the respondents were able to “mark up” what they liked and did not like about the language. Artemis completed a holistic assessment that featured an analysis of components that most motivated positive actions.

The Outcome

This research was used as a catalyst to build a stronger footing for the foundation’s brand, and a new, powerful Promise emerged from the process. Conducting the survey was the tactical piece of this work and it was important, but the thinking tasks and working with the dynamic staff and board throughout the process made the outcome impactful. The board is comprised of leaders from sectors such as business, government, medicine and academia. They all have powerful voices and strong opinions. This process of creating the foundation’s Promise “helped the board bond,” according to our client, and the staff developed a strong sense of authorship.