Aesop had a fable about sticks. Taken individually, each stick was easily snapped in two, but when bundled together they reinforced one another and possessedtremendous strength. In the context of a business, in order to cultivate strength and structural integrity, an organization’s branding must go beyond logo, lobby and letterhead and connect to its core identity.

Like a tree’s root system, the core identity and brand of any organization can either deliver nutrients to every limb, twig and leaf, or undermine its growth entirely. Of course, organizational cultures must be established and mission statements drafted. However, our experience shows that more effective growth happens when identity is also integrated with all aspects of day-to-day operations— from hiring, marketing, customer experience and fundraising to sustainability, programming and physical environment. Staying in sync can be a challenge because the tendency is to think, plan, build and then move on. Yet, all too often the power of mission statements recede into the background as the immediate needs of the present compromise potential outcomes.

Simply put, when identity and brand are fully integrated throughout the organization and beyond, growth is inevitable.