Collaboration Drives Breakthrough Brand Strategy

Collaboration Drives Breakthrough Brand Strategy

Brand breakthroughs, like all breakthroughs, require collaboration. In our work with leading researchers at Caltech, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and Rockefeller University, it is clear that examining today’s most important issues require not just brilliant people, but people who have the skills for working productively with others. The same collaboration principles hold true for breakthrough brand strategy in organizations. 

For instance, a recent NY Times article reported that scientists have recently observed gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space time, which as they arrive from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe, open a new window on the cosmos and confirm Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This was only made possible through the collaboration of global organizations with aligned purposes. This points out the importance for universities to not only create and impart knowledge, but to cultivate the skills required for working with others successfully.

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and 14 other countries.  More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data, and approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration.

“The Advanced LIGO detectors are a tour de force of science and technology, made possible by a truly exceptional international team of technicians, engineers, and scientists,” says David Shoemaker of MIT, the project leader for Advanced LIGO.

This reinforces the point that any major effort requires collaboration between people of diverse skillsets and backgrounds. Not only can it contribute to major breakthroughs in science or business, but true collaboration is required for organizations of all types to build strong brands.

Collaboration inspires brand innovation
and drives breakthrough brand strategy

Many universities talk about “creating leaders,” however few emphasize the importance of creating interpersonal skills and the ability to enhance team productivity. Those universities that have recognized, and strongly encouraged the development of collaborative skills, have found that now only does their research benefit, but their students have increased desirability to all kinds of employers and organizations.

The same focus on collaboration applies to brands and brand strategy. Too often we see companies and institutions describe their brands as if they were objects or logos, focusing solely on the name, logo or tagline. And still too many in the executive suite regard brand and identity as solely the responsibility of Marketing. Two brand collaboration principles to remember are:

  • Brand is community driven. It comes from within your organization, and must be believed in and supported by all members of your community. Each person needs to understand, believe in, and want to support the organization’s culture in his or her own way for it to be successful. When brand is community driven, it goes from promise to reality.
  • Brand is not a campaign, it’s your culture. You do not build a brand by selling. You build a brand by being something and letting that shape the way you behave and communicate. It is important to spend time with people across the institution and to listen and understand their perspectives. With this effort, you can identify the core principles and drivers that galvanize your community.

We helped Caltech commit themselves – as a community – to “Pioneering audacious science that transforms our world.” With LIGO, they demonstrated that true collaboration was key to achieving their goals. Not only have they accomplished major breakthroughs through collaboration, they have developed a breakthrough brand strategy for their institution.

Collaboration is a powerful, often underutilized, tool for organizations. You can make a tremendous difference for your brand and audiences by fostering more and better communications through your company.

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