Question:

How Closely Should the Campaign Brand Match Our Organization’s Brand?

Campaign brands are like family members, with some resembling identical twins and others distant relatives. At Parisleaf we specialize in companion branding like this, aiming to align our campaigns with an organization’s brand. We begin with the parent brand and collaborate with our client partners to gauge the ideal level of connection between the fundraising campaign and the organization’s brand, envisioning it as a spectrum.

From Twin to Distant Relative

The Twin

As a starting place, we have the ‘Twin.’ Here, the campaign brand is an exact mirror image of the organization’s brand, requiring a deep and universally shared comprehension of the organization’s brand for successful alignment.

The Sibling

Many campaign brands end up here on the spectrum, as the ‘Sibling’. It’s not a mirror reflection of the organization’s brand, but unmistakably connected. A campaign’s language may begin to speak more aspirationally while the look and feel are still closely associated. 

The Half-Sibling

Similarly to real-life relationships, the ‘Half-Sibling’ is characterized by shared parentage. Here, the campaign brand starts to assert its independent identity. This often occurs when the campaign seeks to chart a unique course or when the organization’s brand lacks firmly established guidelines.

The Cousin

In ‘The Cousin,’ we maintain a connection between the campaign and the organization’s brand, yet distinct differences are apparent. It’s akin to a relative who visits once a year and harmoniously blends in, but a prolonged stay could lead to noticeable differences. This approach is ideal when the campaign brand is ready to explore its own path.

The Distant Relative

When there’s a desire to craft a campaign brand vastly distinct from the organization’s, the ‘Distant Relative’ strategy comes into play. It’s like the relative you’ve heard of but never had the chance to meet. Opting for this approach is particularly wise when the campaign brand catalyzes reimagining the organization’s brand, inviting fresh perspectives and innovation.

What About Estranged?

Yes, this is a thing too. Occasionally, a campaign brand must be rebellious and declare independence from the family. By doing so, there are some tradeoffs. On the one hand, the campaign can distance itself from typical approval processes and be forward-thinking. On the other hand, it means less of a centralized brand experience, which can sometimes lessen the overall impact.

Choosing the right spot on the spectrum for your campaign brand is an ongoing dialogue. Our Workshops are ideal for these discussions, offering a dedicated space for in-depth conversations. Often, the solution hinges on gauging the maturity of the organization’s brand and its potential for evolution. 


Special thanks to collaborators Chad Paris, Gray Gill, and Tom Osborne.