Written by Rachel Friedmann, MA, MSM, former Senior Business Development and Marketing Manager
Can you believe it has been a year since we became McKinley Advisors?
Just over a year ago, we decided to change our name to McKinley Advisors. We had helped associations succeed in areas well beyond marketing for many years and felt it was time to do what we constantly tell our clients to do – focus on the brand we convey. During our rebranding process we discussed how we wanted to be perceived and what we wanted our new brand to say about us. Words like collaborative, approachable and expert were thrown around, but one concept kept recurring, McKinley’s key differentiator is our people. The question then became how do we translate our people into our company’s brand? How do we articulate this almost indescribable attribute?
What is a brand anyway?
Some say your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Others say it’s the promise your organization makes, either implicitly or explicitly. When asked, I usually say a brand is similar to a personality. The American Marketing Association definition of “a brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary.” To me, the “accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service” is very similar to how we perceive a person’s personality.
When you think of McKinley, you might think of Shelley’s recent presentation at ASAE’s Great Ideas or Jodie’s acceptance speech when she was named to the prestigious Academy of Leaders. You might recall our Economic Impact on Associations study, the latest research deliverable by our marketing research rock star Patrick Glaser, a recent membership marketing plan that helped your association exceed your membership goals, or a presentation by Jay at an ASAE conference years ago that inspired you to first hire McKinley. Or, there could be other ways we have influenced or affected you or your association over the years. All of your different experiences with McKinley help create how you feel about our brand, about our company’s personality. We hope you will agree with us — that it is our people who make our company and our people who make wonderful things happen for our clients, and therefore, our people are our brand. Their expertise, intelligence and commitment to excellence are the promise we make and hopefully what you talk about when we’re not in the room. What do you think? Is this your idea of the McKinley brand? We would love to hear from you, especially if you disagree!
Curious to learn more about our team? Take a look at our bios, which are full of personality.