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October 2006


Diary of an Ad Man

Great point. More people in DC -- home of the non-profit -- really need to read this. So few understand the importance of branding and marketing.


Thanks for the input Glenn.

I don't think you need to take the word enemy too literally especially in the non-profit world.

What thinking about an enemy does is allow you to better focus your brand. If you identify what other brands own you can find a hole in the mind you can occupy. You then stand for a group of people that is currently non being served. And that is a good thing for everybody.

And just because you identify the enemy it doesn't mean you don't also work with them for a greater good.


From a marketing perspective you raise excellent points. This is a very valuable post.

I agree with nearly all you say, but I'll add that, while a signature event is important, don't put all of your eggs in one basket, or the next economic downturn may be catastrophic.

Although I understand your point about other nonprofits being the enemy, I object to the use of that word. "Co-opetition" describes our environment. At 10:00 in the morning two nonprofits are meeting together to "cooperate" in coordinating plans to lobby their legislators. At 2pm that day each are in internal discussions about how to recruit more donors and volunteers ("competition"). Yes, Kate's Club competes with the American Cancer Society for donors and volunteers, but The ACS also has an extensive database of organizations that can help ANY cancer patient. Kate's Club needs to be in it.(And the ACS has resources to help children cope, although more would be welcome.)




Yes, Stephen Colbert being "the" spokesperson for Kate's Club would probably not work for the reasons you mentioned. It was after being a fan of his and reading his bio that I immediately thought of Kate's Club and tried to think of a way to let him know about it. He obviously is playing a character on television, I think he is very much a family man.

What a great non-profit brand does is have lots of celebrities attend events, give money and personally talk to their friends about it. I think with Stephen's past it would make a lot of sense for him to get involoved in some way.

As for a more public endorsement, having Katie Couric would be great. Unfortunatley she left the Today Show. As a nightly news anchor, she might not be available.

When you are looking for celebrities to help your cause you always need to find someone who has a personal connection. When you have had a disease, know someone who has a disease or someone who has lost a family member you become more passionate and make time in your busy life to help.

Paul Dushkind

If Stephen Colbert were to become a spokesman for such a serious cause, I think that there would be friction with his branding as a comedian. It might hurt both Kate's Club and his TV show.

Marc Sirkin

Wonderful, insightful and powerful information and analysis! Thank you for doing a non-profit focused post today!

I also completely agree w/the other comments - a walk is a just a walk, until it connects with the mission. Once the event and mission are connected, amazingly emotional and exciting things start to happen.


Thanks Leo, you make an excellent point! This year at Kate's Cabaret, she made a speech, showed a video and had a couple of the kids talk about what the Club has meant to them. It was a wonderful new addition to the event which reinforced why everybody was there. So yes, the signature event has to reinforce the brand message in a meaningful way. Just another annual walk-a-thon is not going to do it.

Leo Bottary

Laura - First, thanks for the introduction to Kate's club. Kate is obviously an incredible young woman who's generosity in starting this organization knows no bounds. Second, the branding tips are priceless. The only comment I have about the signature event is that it should in some way underscore your brand. People leaving the event should know at least one more thing about your organization and one more fact about the overall cause. I think this can be vitally important to long-term fiancial support. Many such signature events I've attended in the past failed this test, and for some it's been costly.

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