Distill Your Essence

Brand Pyramid for Nonprofits

e know from 20+ years of experience that a Brand Pyramid can transform organizations by clarifying what they should focus on and how they should present themselves to their target audience.

Having taken hundreds of nonprofit organizations through this process, we have distilled our experience into the Brand Pyramid Tutorial so that many more organizations can benefit from our time-tested methodology, the Tronvig Method, even on a small budget. This tutorial, which includes a seven-part series of instructional videos on using the Brand Pyramid, detailed workbook and presentations, and consulting time with our strategists, will help you refine and solidify your organization’s well-structured and robust answers to the 5 essential brand questions and provide you with a strong foundation for the success of your brand.

Sample the tutorial for free.

Brand Strategy Applied at NMWA

Brand strategy doesn’t start with visuals. Our process will not show you how to create a logo. It will help you sort out the fundamentals of who you are and what you want to be known for assembled into a simple framework. The hardest part of brand strategy is abandonment. Being strategic is always as much about what you are not going to do as it is about what you will.

Watch the video above to see the Tronvig Method in action at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Why a Brand Pyramid?

Creating a Brand Pyramid for your nonprofit is working through 5 essential questions that must be answered succinctly if you are to have the focus and differentiation you will need to thrive among the countless choices audiences have in spending their time.

Simplicity forces a reckoning with the complexity and indecision that is the Achilles heel of nearly all nonprofit brands. Your brand must occupy a meaningfully differentiated position out in the world in the mind of the target audience. To accomplish this, your brand position must be intuitively obvious, true, and simple.

The Brand Pyramid for Nonprofits ensures the right level of simplicity is achieved by helping you distill who you are as an organization, what makes you different from your peers and competitors, and why your target audience will value your offer.

brand strategy for nonprofitsbrand strategy for nonprofits

Meet James Heaton

Your guide to the Brand Pyramid for Nonprofits is James Heaton, Tronvig’s President, Lead Strategist, and Creative Director. Over the last 23 years, James has worked with nonprofits ranging from small startups to international NGOs, developing an effective means of helping each nonprofit get its brand set for success.

The Brand Pyramid Tutorial is the distillation of his years of experience, and an extension of Tronvig’s mission to help organizations of any size take advantage of this hard-won learning. The Brand Pyramid for Nonprofits that James has perfected and applied over hundreds of engagements forces the kind of brand discipline that is essential for nonprofits to carry forward their mission.

Read our posts on the Tronvig blog.

 

“Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

Albert Einstein
Testimonials on the Tronvig Method

I finished the tutorials and they were excellent—easy to understand and vivid by example. I am feeling excited and inspired. What a great morning—what I thought was a task turned out to be a motivator!”

Linda Provenza
Founder, Strategies for Change

Tronvig has the rare ability to always think strategically, but also be able to think that through to effective tactical actions.”

Maya Wiley
Chief Counsel, Mayor Bill de Blasio

Tronvig’s brand strategy work was methodically arrived at and convincingly presented. It’s the strongest kind of recommendation, something you never would have arrived at, but once you see it you slap yourself with the question, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’”

Nancy Haitch
VP External Relations, Helen Keller International

Plans & pricing

Essential Consult

2 payments of
$290

Here’s what you get:

  • 7-part series of instructional videos with illustrations and live examples to guide you through our signature process
  • Getting Started Document with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid Workshop
  • Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants
  • Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop
  • 1 half-hour consulting session to advise on work product
  • DIY

Learn How It Works

Complete Consult

5 payments of
$490

Here’s what you get:

  • 7-part series of instructional videos with illustrations and live examples to guide you through our signature process
  • Getting Started Document with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid Workshop
  • Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants
  • Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop
  • 3 extended consulting sessions with an experienced Tronvig strategist
  • Personalized guidance at critical moments in the process
  • Industry-level results

Learn How It Works

Master Consult

7 payments of
$840

Here’s what you get:

  • 7-part series of instructional videos with illustrations and live examples to guide you through our signature process
  • Getting Started Document with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid Workshop
  • Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants
  • Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop
  • 6 detailed consulting sessions with President and Lead Strategist of Tronvig, James Heaton
  • Personalized guidance from planning through execution
  • Industry-level results
  • Guidance on your Marketing Targets Diagram to test your value proposition against your clients’ needs 
  • Assessment of your Brand Map to clarify your marketing targets

Learn How It Works

Do it live.

If you want to turbocharge your brand strategy, contact us for our full offer of 360 branding in which we execute and guide the process from beginning to end.

FAQs
Q: Who should use the tutorial?

A: Organizations who are not currently engaged with a branding agency for comprehensive strategy services. Tronvig’s full offer of 360-branding services is outlined here. The organizational challenges the tutorial addresses are noted earlier on this page.

Q: What’s included in the tutorial?

A: The Essential Consult version of the tutorial includes the following:

  • Access to the seven-part series of instructional videos that takes you through the process of properly constructing your organizational Brand Pyramid with examples, illustrations, and sample stories you can use as you or your designated facilitator runs your workshop.
  • Printable PDFs and a presentation template to help you prepare for and run a successful workshop and to ensure that your answers are sufficiently concise.
  • These include the following:
    • Document A: Getting Started with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid workshop
    • Document B: Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants
    • Document C: Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop
  • A 30-minute consultation with a Tronvig team member to review your completed Brand Pyramid and give you notes and recommendations for next steps.

 

The Complete Consult version of the tutorial includes everything from the Essential Consult version with the following additions:

  • Three separate 50-minute consulting calls with a Tronvig strategist to accomplish the following:
    • The first call takes place with you and your facilitator and will answer questions relevant to your particular situation and make sure you are set up properly for success in running your Brand Pyramid Workshop.
    • The second call serves to review your work and give you specific guidance on where your answers are strong and where more work needs to be done. Is your Brand Pyramid complete and sufficiently robust? What could be improved? Do you need to run another workshop? What do you still need to do to make this an industry-level tool for your organization?
    • The third call serves to make sure your Brand Pyramid is ready to use as a tool for organizational success. Depending on the level of work you have been able to achieve, we will give additional recommendations on implementation and the practices required to bring the key elements of your brand strategy to life.
  • A cleanly designed version of your Brand Pyramid so that it can be used by your team or anyone else inside or outside of your organization who needs them.
  • A PDF resource guide directing you to relevant content on the Tronvig blog as it relates to each level of the Brand Pyramid.

 

The Master Consult version of the tutorial includes everything from the Complete Consult version with the following additions:

  • Six separate 50-minute consulting calls with Tronvig’s President and Lead Strategist, James Heaton.
    • The first call takes place with you and your facilitator and will answer questions relevant to your particular situation and make sure you are set up properly for success in running your workshops.
    • The second call serves to review your work and give you specific guidance on where your answers are strong and where more work needs to be done. Is your Brand Pyramid complete and sufficiently robust? What could be improved? Do you need to run another workshop? What do you still need to do to make this an industry-level tool for your organization?
    • The third call serves to make sure your Brand Pyramid is ready to use as a tool for organizational success. Depending on the level of work you have been able to achieve, we will give additional recommendations.
    • The fourth call will introduce you to the Brand Map and prepare you to run a workshop to test the assumptions you have made in the first version of your Brand Pyramid.
    • The fifth call is to assess your Brand Map and reevaluate your value proposition and introduce you to the Marketing Targets Diagram.
    • The sixth call will clean up any of the loose ends from the previous sessions and make sure you are confident in how to apply the work in your organization and discuss any issues that are particular to your situation.
  • Additional resources and reference materials specific to the situation and unearthed needs for your organization. This might include but are not limited to the following:
    • A template for employee performance reviews that will help ensure that your brand strategy yields more than just a look and feel for your organization.
    • A model for Organizational Alignment Workshops to bring your Core Values to life within your organization.
Q: What is a Brand Pyramid?

A: The Brand Pyramid is the format for the collection of your answers to the 5 essential brand questions at the heart of the Tronvig tutorial. Working your way through to strong answers to these questions is aided by having this simple structure. Our years of experience doing this has also taught us the most useful constraints for each of the answers. To learn more about the Tronvig Brand Pyramid an how it differs from others please read this explanatory article.

Q: What’s the best way to tell whether our organization needs a Brand Pyramid?

A: Ask a cross section of individuals within your organization to write down their answers to these five essential questions:

  • What is our business? (What business are we in?)
  • How do we deliver value differently from our competitors?
  • Why do our core customers (clients or audiences) choose us over our competitors?
  • What are our Core Values? (Can you remember all of them and do you know how they apply to your day-to-day work?)
  • What is our Brand Idea or brand essence?

 

If the answers you get are consistent, you don’t need a Brand Pyramid. If the answers are all over the place, you really do.

Q: For the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions of the tutorial is there guidance other than the consulting sessions and videos?

A: There are a number of additional resources that are part of the offer depending on the version you select. See “what’s included” above. The consulting sessions, however, are of significant value since they allow you to tailor the work to your particular circumstance and they leverage our many years of experience helping other organizations.

Q: How long are the consulting sessions?

A: Each consulting session is 50-minutes long except the single consulting session in the Essential Consult version which is 30-minutes long.

Q: How much of the Tronvig process do the videos cover?

A: The seven-part series of videos explain the Brand Pyramid and help you properly build one for your organization. The videos are as follows:

  • Video 1:Introduction to the Tronvig Brand Pyramid
  • Video 2: The What Level
  • Video 3: The How Level
  • Video 4: The Why Level
  • Video 5: Core Values
  • Video 6: The Brand Idea
  • Video 7: Appendix with tips for running your own workshop(s)

 

In the Master Consult version we will further explain the creation and use of the Brand Map and help you create your Marketing Targets Diagram.

Q: How long are the videos?

A: The videos vary in length but are, in aggregate, a little more than an hour long. Video 1 (available to stream for free) is 15-minutes long and introduces the Brand Pyramid. Videos 2 through 6 provide an in-depth explanation for each of the five levels of the Brand Pyramid. Video 7 shows you some additional thoughts and tips for leading a successful workshop.

Q: Who on our team should watch the videos?

A: Only the person who plans to lead the Brand Pyramid Workshop needs to watch all the videos. If others are interested in learning more, they can watch the 15-minute introductory video, which explains the importance of this work and shows a 5-minute excerpt of a live workshop.

Q: How do I use the documents and workbook that come with my purchase?

A: We provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the various documents you’ll be receiving as part of your tutorial packet. You’ll find all the guidance you need on Document A: Getting Started.

Q: Who should we involve in the process?

A: The configuration of the workshop is highly dependent on the particular situation and the type and size of your organization. This is thoroughly outlined in Document A: Getting Started that is part of all versions of the tutorial, and is also part of the first consulting call in the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions.

Q: Can I do this without a workshop?

A: The point of the process is to create or improve your organizational brand strategy. If you sit down by yourself or as an executive team and compile the answers to these questions, that may lead you somewhere, but experience shows us that this tends to yield little genuine insight and a likely perpetuation of the status quo.

Q: How many people should participate in the workshop?

A: Our experience has shown that the minimum number of participants for an effective workshop is five (not including the facilitator) and the maximum recommended is about 20, but this is unwieldy for virtual workshops. In such cases the minimum is the same but the upper limit is somewhere around 12 for the kind of truly interactive session that works best. Specific planning based on your particular situation is part of the first consultation call in the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions of the tutorial.

Q: Who on our team should lead the Brand Pyramid Workshop?

A: The workshop leader can be the marketing director, an outside facilitator, or any other person in the organization who is a good facilitator. In our experience, it is best if the leader of an organization participates in the workshop rather than facilitates it.

Q: What if we need a trained facilitator to help with our workshop?

A: Tronvig has vetted Lee Ann Pond, founder and CEO of Engaging Leadership and a very experienced facilitator.

Her company helps organizations create high-performing leadership teams and she is trained in facilitating the Tronvig Brand Pyramid workshop.

You are welcome to contract her directly at our pre-negotiated special rate of $80/hour.

 

Lee Ann’s Bio:

With a background in finance, an MBA degree, and 15 years in the “C” suite, Lee Ann has a passion for helping leaders develop their business and leadership skills. She is also certified as an executive coach and master facilitator. In 2018 she created Engaging Leadership to provide leadership development to organizations through workshops, online courses, and coaching. She is the creator of the Engagement RingTM leadership process and author of the bestselling Amazon book, The Engagement Ring: Practical Leadership Skills for Engaging Your Employees, which provides leaders specific steps to create high-performing teams.

Lee Ann lives in Richmond, Virginia and enjoys traveling, family time, and rescue dog, Mr. Pickles.

Contact her directly at engaging-leadership.com

Q: How long will the process take once we get started?

A: As a rule of thumb, the average time for the whole process is four to six weeks. And the larger the organization, the longer the process generally takes. But timing can vary greatly depending on your ability to coordinate the required workshop and process the results.

Q: How many workshops do we need to schedule, how long should they last, and how far apart should they be?

A: Ideally, for the Essential Consult version and the Complete Consult version there should be two 4-hour workshops or three 3-hour virtual workshops, but there are various constraints depending on the organization. The Master Consult version will have additional workshops and will be more tailored to your particular organizational needs facilitated through the extra consulting sessions.

Q: What materials do we need for the Brand Pyramid workshop?

A: This is detailed in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions. For a live workshop, we find that the most constructive setup is to have multiple easels with large sticky-back flip charts. There should be markers to write down the group’s proposed answers and the notes should be torn from the flip charts and stuck to the wall for everyone’s reference. Participants can either have their own workbooks to write down consolidated answers or assign this to a meeting scribe. The printable PDF Workbooks (Document B) are a part of all versions and these are intended to be used by all participants.

In the case of a virtual workshop, more detailed preparation and planning is required. All packages include a Brand Pyramid Presentation (Document C) for use during the workshop to help the facilitator. A virtual workshop requires far greater discipline and will typically have to be shorter, so the work might need to take place over three or four 3-hour sessions instead of two 4-hour sessions. The planning of this based on your particular circumstance is part of the first call in the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions of the tutorial.

Q: Can the Brand Pyramid Workshop be conducted virtually?

A: Yes it can, but as noted above, virtual workshops require greater discipline and will typically have to be shorter, so the work might need to take place over three or four 3-hour sessions instead of two 4-hour sessions. The planning of this is based on your particular circumstances and is part of the first call in the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions of the tutorial. General instructions are included in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions.

Q: Where should the Brand Pyramid workshop take place?

A: It should take place in a well-lit space where participants will not be subject to interruption. These can be either on-site or off-site, though there are advantages to doing it at an off-site location. The room should be configured so that everyone can easily see each other and the easels.

The configuration of virtual workshops depends on the virtual meeting tools selected and would therefore need to be planned on a case-by-case basis. General instructions are included in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions.

Q: How do I schedule the phone sessions?

A: One of our team members will reach out to you within a business day of your purchase to coordinate schedules.

Q: Who participates in the consulting sessions?

A: The organizational leader and facilitator or a core team of two to five people who are responsible for the project’s success. The calls can be by phone or video, as desired.

Q: Can the entire team participate in the consulting sessions?

A: Yes. This may not be the most practical use of everyone’s time, but we are certainly happy to hold a phone or video conference call to answer questions from the whole group.

Q: Who will we be speaking with during the consulting sessions?

A: The Essential Consult version includes a half-hour call with an experienced and fully trained Tronvig strategist. The Complete Consult version includes three 50-minute calls with an experienced and fully trained Tronvig strategist. The Master Consult version includes six 50-minute calls with Tronvig’s President and Lead Strategist, James Heaton.

Q: What deliverables will we have once we’ve completed the process?

A: To state the obvious first, in all cases you will have a Brand Pyramid for your organization — the bedrock of a solid brand strategy. This is a valuable tool in brand strategy, organizational alignment, employee retention, operations and program assessment, vendor management, and more. The most appropriate applications of your Brand Pyramid will be discussed during our consulting time. But to restate some examples that we outlined in our description of the tutorial above, you should understand the Brand Pyramid as a simple diagram on which the most fundamental questions about your organizational brand are clearly answered. You will have developed and agreed upon these answers with all of your colleagues so that you can use them to guide your decision-making. When you have a disagreement, you can turn to the Brand Pyramid for a shared foundation on which to resolve the argument. You have a tool to prevent personal taste from dominating discussions about how your logo, website, or advertising campaign should look or what it should emphasize.

For the Complete Consult version, this will be formatted and supplied to you as a PDF for you to use.

If you have purchased the Master Consult version, you will additionally have an organizational Brand Map and Marketing Targets Diagram, the final versions of which we will provide in cleanly designed digital documents.

Q: I want to purchase the tutorial, but I need help convincing others. Why would this be a good use of our limited resources?

A: First, share this page with them and ask them to watch the 15-minute introductory video offered here. If this is still not enough, we are happy to get on the phone with you and your supervisor or colleagues to answer. Email info@tronviggroup.com to arrange this.

Q: Must the executive director be in the workshop?

A: It is critical to have anyone with the power to scuttle the process present in the workshop to make the Brand Pyramid more than just a pretty piece of paper. If the Brand Pyramid is not sanctioned or endorsed by leadership, it will be little more than an interesting exercise.

Q: How do I get my ED to participate in the workshop?

A: First, share this page with them and ask them to watch the 15-minute introductory video offered here. If this is still not enough, we are happy to get on the phone with you and your supervisor to answer any questions they might have. Email info@tronviggroup.com to arrange this.

Q: Is there a standard invitation letter/email I can send out to describe the workshop and invite attendees?

A: We will give you a sample template based on your particular situation. This follows the first consulting call in the case of the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions. We also have a standard letter that can be modified for this purpose if you have purchased the Essential Consult version.

Q: Why do the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions cost significantly more than the Essential Consult version?

A: We have found that organizations have a great deal of difficulty getting the Brand Pyramid right on their own so our consulting time, leveraging 20+ years of doing this work, makes the difference between a useful result and an industry-standard result. The extra hands-on guidance makes a significant difference in the quality of the final product.

Q: What are the consequential differences between the Complete Consult or Master Consult versions and your full brand strategy process?

A: The main difference is the level of effort required from your team and the level of direct exposure to the time and talents of James Heaton and the rest of the Tronvig team. A full engagement gets to the final product faster and with less effort on your organization’s part because the entire process is run by the Tronvig team. If you have the resources, this is a great way to go. If you cannot commit that amount of money to this work but still need a robust product, the Complete Consult and Master Consult versions of the tutorial do deliver the goods.

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