Institutional Heart


They say institutional memory is important, but in practice it’s only important until it’s not. New people with new systems can obliterate the need for it. This can be a good thing: growing pains; or not, producing loss of quality and other baddies.

But institutional heart is another matter. It involves the memory of what caused an organization to became successful. It’s the memory of those tiny slices of life — the interactions and the feelings behind them that resulted in strong connections to a target audience.

When organizations grow and lose their institutional heart, they can become hated instead of loved. This is often viewed as a necessary evil of growth and aggressiveness in business — but it just ain’t so. All it takes is the identification of the people in the organization who are perceived by the customer or community as the heart and soul of the organization — the ones who make us remember why we’re here in the first place. I’d bet that nine times of out ten these people pull their weight and are loyal to the cause. These are the folks who should be protected when change is in the air — the babies in the bathwater.

Who holds the heart to your institution? If you don’t know — ask a customer — they do.

Getting in Touch with your Feelings


Get in touch with your feelings — they will lead the way in your branding and marketing. The more you can feel your brand, the more precisely branded your materials and message will be. Your feeling will guide you: it will stop you from incorporating some detail that you might be drawn to, but doesn’t create the feeling or emotion that your brand is all about, and it will tell you when you’re right on message.


Need Therapy?

If your marketing collateral is a mess, examine your feelings about your brand. There may be things you’re not quite sure about, or you may have conflicting emotions about some aspect of your message. Instead of starting with a re-write or redesign, start with the feelings — they will lead you to the source of the problem.