Brand the Change

Written by:
Maja Grcic
Published on:
February 15, 2024
Time to read:
For questions:

It takes a village to build a brand

In a perfect world, solutions for the climate crisis and social justice would be embraced purely on their merit. But this isn’t a perfect world. We have to be smart about how we help people to embrace change.

‘Brand’ is a proven and powerful mechanism to build deep, long-term relationships with people. It is also notoriously complex. But Anne Miltenburg believes that brand thinking can be taught.

She first wrote a book intending to democratize brand knowledge, so it can be used to address the greatest challenges of our time: climate change and social justice. She then turned that knowledge into online courses and created a global learning community of practitioners across all continents.

Anne Miltenburg live at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.
'Fingers crossed’ is not a brand strategy.

Thank-you gift for community members 

Anne has a very outspoken opinion about brand merchandise: it’s incredibly wasteful and polluting, plus we really don’t need more ‘stuff’.

On the other hand, brand merch is a great way to get your brand name out there and keep it in people’s sight and minds. Most companies find themselves at one point or another looking for a sustainable business gift.

In Brand the Change case, Anne wanted to have a sustainable thank-you gift for the most engaged community members. Something people are likely to use on a daily basis and make them proud to be a member of this community.

To brand is an act of courage 

Anne is a former art director and on top her many skills, she is a passionate cartoonist. So, when time came to design her own MOYU, she created not 1, but 9 options.

The famous Brand Thinking Canvas in action.

Many designers would go with their personal favourite, but when it comes to branding and creating new products, Anne always advises to test first. So she decided to demonstrate ‘practice what you preach’ principle by asking the whole Brand the Change community which notebook design they liked best.

The winning notebook design is one of the elements from the Brand the Change manifesto: “to brand is an act of courage”.

To build a strong brand means you need to be prepared to make a statement about your ambition. To zig when everyone else is zagging. To stand out from the crowd. It’s scary, but Anne tends to remind people to not sell themselves for less than they deserve. And when community members feel they are loosing the courage, she often asks them: what’s the best that could happen if you sold yourself well?

We can't disagree with that.
Anne Miltenburg
Author of Brand the Change book

"I absolutely detest brand merch because it is so wasteful and more often than not, it's given away or thrown away in a second. We wanted to give Brand The Change community members something that is useful on a daily basis, something inspiring that reminds them of our mission, and something as sustainable as possible. The MOYU notebooks hit all those notes, and they have a wow factor. People absolutely love them, and they show them off to others too!"

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