KNC Summer breakfast gathering in Kansas City. Photo by Michael Bolden.
For the past few years I have been working with Knight Foundation to bring brand thinking into the media innovation space. I have had the great pleasure to work with a range of projects—from established organizations such as WITNESS, The Tor Project, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to true startup teams.
This summer, we gathered in Kansas City, Mo., with winners of the Knight News Challenge and did some lightning round sessions to rapidly introduce core concepts of brand building. It’s what I call brand listening; it requires both observation and conversation to understand who an organization is serving and why it exists.
Here are some of the key insights I shared during those sessions.
Emotional manipulation is inevitable (Brand is not evil).
The gathering at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center began with a wonderful work session led by Lea Thau of The Moth on the art of storytelling. During this session, she was asked how to communicate in a way that assured the audience would not feel emotionally manipulated.