Brand strategy as a practice and a deliverable has evolved greatly over the past two decades. What we find so exciting about this evolution is how savvy everyone is regarding the importance of brand and how to manage it. But what we’ve found is that building and cultivating a brand over time is a new hurdle for many. Part of what Phinney Bischoff does for clients is to really set them up internally to do just that.

While agencies – us included – would love nothing more than to play an active role on a daily basis with designing and implementing any number of brand touchpoints and campaigns, we know that’s not always sustainable from a budget standpoint. Further, curating and cultivating your brand happens from the inside out, so it’s important that clients have the tools to help their organizations live the brand.This can only happen from a place of authenticity. Working with clients, we start with people first – not the problem, not the product, not the deadline. People who are stakeholders – internally and externally – are vital to establishing the foundation for a brand.

While we’ll save the details of what a brand platform entails for a future article, what we’d like to focus on [in this post/today/here] is a great example from State Farm demonstrating how a brand platform helps organizations make their brand actionable and assures that those actions are a natural, authentic extension and expression of the brand.State Farm recently decided to sponsor music festivals. At first blush, you might think that is an egregious mismatch in culture and values. But what they did with this partnership was brilliant.Their campaign tagline has always been “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” That campaign was built upon the brand platform of “Here to help life go right.” If you as a State Farm employee are at a festival and are truly living the brand, how would you behave as a “good neighbor?” How would you “help life go right?”

State Farm answered those questions by providing festival attendees with roadside assistance for their vehicles and offered commonly forgotten camping supplies such as toothpaste and shampoo. Caught in rain at Lollapalooza? State Farm’s “got you covered” with ponchos. “Here to help” lounges offer free lockers, phone charging stations and misting stations to get a break from the heat. All these touchpoints not only support the context of the event, but they endear the audience to the State Farm brand.It’s just another way that a brand platform built upon a foundation of authenticity provides a clear path for brand building and extension.