The Is-Does and Branding Fundies.


I came up with the branding Is-Does a while back because while operating in the technology sector I realized many start-ups don’t always know what their company “is.”  Oddly, it’s also true in some Fortune 500 companies. Case in point: the CEO of the world’s largest home care company for whom I did some consulting went around the room at an executive gathering asking each officer “What business do you think we’re in?” He was referring to the managed care part of the business, but it was still a billion dollar revenue stream. And the “is” is the easy stuff. The “does” is what gives people fits.

A chief technology officer at software company I worked for could not answer the “What the business does?” question in a half hour.   

The Is-Does is a wonderful brand planning starting point.  It’s not a mission, or a brand promise, elevator speech or brief. It answers the question what a brand “is” and what a brand “does.”  Keith Hernandez might call them fundies. 

I was invited into a meeting at an important non-profit.  I say important because it was a community center in a under-served neighborhood trying to save lives and build lives. The meeting had close to 25 people including a song writer, teachers, web-o-files, marketers, community advocates, nutritionists and more.  The facilitator (a branding dude) had a huge pad, a marker and as he was getting ready to lay down some marketing rhymes, you could tell he didn’t know exactly where to start.  So I suggested the Is-Does. And off we went. Peace!