As a brand builder and communicator for social impact, I keep returning to these words when reflecting on yesterday’s events in Washington, DC: This is what it looks like when you no longer control the narrative and the narrative controls you.

After what happened yesterday at the U.S. Capitol —…


By now you know that strong external brands are built from within. But what exactly are the benefits of internal branding? And how can it help strengthen your organization from the inside-out?

The theme of this series is that “brands are created from the inside-out.” So while it’s essential to drive external branding with a well-designed strategy, it’s also important to use that strategy “to focus your mission and cultivate the right kind of internal behavior, actions, and culture.” The shorthand for…


When most people hear the word “branding” they think about external qualities like reputation and messaging. But did you know that brand can also be essential to building internal capacity and cohesion?

Imagine you work at a nonprofit or a foundation with a decent-sized staff (a few dozen to as many as a hundred employees). It might be a national research institute or a local community development organization. It has several departments focused on different issues or areas of operation. There may…


Websites give us a snapshot of what an organization is like. Is your website making a bad first impression? Designing your site with principles of brand strategy can help.

Imagine you hear about a really interesting social impact organization that sounds like it’s doing important work in an area you have a lot of interest in. You’re immediately curious and want to know more. What’s one of the first things you do? Head right to their website.

You might…


When organizations view design firms as “vendors” they shortchange not only the potential in their projects, but also the broader impact that can be achieved by working with one. It’s time to make a change.

ven·dor /ˈvendər,ˈvenˌdôr’/

Noun: a person or company offering something for sale, especially a trader in the street; a person or company whose principal product lines are office supplies and equipment.

Synonyms: retailer, seller, dealer, trader, purveyor, storekeeper, shopkeeper, merchant, salesperson, supplier, peddler, hawker; scalper, huckster, trafficker

Over the last sixteen years I’ve…


How can nonprofit organizations that dive deeply into serious issues make sure online audiences don’t tune out their long-form content so that they can effectively engage and activate their audience?

Digital communications and social media have had a tremendous impact on our ability to maintain focus and attention — not just online, but in the real world. Online and offline, we’re awash in content that’s fragmented and that comes at us fast. …


How can mission-driven brands better align organizational strategy with the designed experiences they create, to continuously deliver greater value and meaning?

In the information overload era, it takes great focus and clarity to rise above the din of the crowd and be heard. And for social change organizations, the challenge is even greater. Because when the message is about a better future in places far-removed from our daily lives, it’s that…

Matthew Schwartz

Founder & Executive Director of social change #branding & #design agency http://Constructive.co. Brand Strategist. Designer. Loud Liberal. Ideas my own. Mostly.

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