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Business Partners Are an Extension of Your Brand

Last month I discussed how the foundation of your brand ties to the organization’s strategic plan as the mission, vision and core values plays an important part in defining the brand. As an organization moves forward, it is important for it to understand how to make the brand come to life and also how it relates to various partnerships and business transactions.

Many organizations especially in the festival world, are run by volunteer boards and have limited staff. This can lead to various functions that are outsourced or partnerships developed with outside entities. Many times, those entities are given free reign as the organization says, “Run this for me” so that the work gets completed.

While delegating work and developing partnerships can be a good thing, organizations must understand that the details are important. Giving work to other organizations or entities without proper oversight or checking can lead to conflicts in other areas of the festival or program areas of the organization.

Many years ago I was on a board of a parade and we had outsourced the parade coverage to a local television station. The tv station was at all of the planning meetings. The station was in charge of the live television production, basically the product or brand of the organization. All went well the day of the parade, until that afternoon when the main sponsor notified the organization that commercials were sold by the television station to the main sponsor’s competitor and those commercials aired during the broadcast.

The same issue can arise if the organization has multiple outsourcing partners that are taking control of various portions of the festival or programs. In this case, each partner might do something a little differently and change something slightly. This could affect the brand and image of the organization. Slowly, and piece by piece, the brand, organizational image, and its reputation becomes diffused and inconsistent. It could be in quality of service, allowing other partners in a festival and your organization receives no benefit, different ways to market the program or festival, or a variety of other factors.

Each event or activity is an extension of the brand and the organization’s reputation is always on the line. When developing partnerships, it is important to keep oversight of the details and not just the big picture. Those details form your brand including your image and reputation. With one simple error or changes made by business partners over time, this can destroy the details and crispness of your brand and image in the community.

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