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What is the Brand of Your Project?

September 12, 2011

Let’s continue our tour of some of my favorite blogs and websites. I admire the MIT Sloan Management Review web site (sloanreview.mit.edu) for its meaty articles. You have to invest a little more time and thought to read a Sloan article than you do to digest a short blog entry from other sites, but there’s a lot of good stuff in these longer articles.

One of my favorite articles from this summer is Why Every Project Needs a Brand (and How to Create One) , by By Karen A. Brown, Richard Ettenson and Nancy Lea Hyer.

This is a really insightful article, which reminds us that brands aren’t just the coats of arms of  organizations and products, but also of more granular efforts undertaken within those organizations. The authors argue that if you execute a project within an organization, that project can (and should be) carefully branded: “Each project in an organization’s portfolio has an internal brand — a reputation and status that play major roles in determining the level of support it will receive.” (italics are mine, here and elsewhere.) This is certainly true, and anyone who has managed or participated in a major project understands that.

The article identifies and discusses the “Five P’s” of project branding: Pitch, Plan, Platform, Performance, and Payoff. Each is discussed in some depth, and these topics are well worth exploring. For example, the authors discuss “Performance” this way: “Performance In the context of branding, performance represents the way the leader and team communicate information about delivery of the project’s promise following the official launch.

Does all this really matter? I thought this quote from the article summed up the idea rather nicely: “Project leaders, sponsors and team members all have the power, and the obligation, to create and disseminate brand-related messages that clearly convey the project’s intended promise, garner needed support and report on the delivery of that promise.” This is a quality article that will make executives, directors, project managers and individual contributors rethink the way projects are championed within their organizations.

The Sloan site requires a free registration to read its articles. This one is well worth the time and effort needed to read it.

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