Brand Alignment Study: Call For Research Participants

Do you have a role in brand, communications, customer experience, marketing or product?

Do you see your organization’s brand as a strategic asset that crosses departmental and functional boundaries?

Are you interested in improving brand outcomes or learning from how other organizations are bringing their brands to life?

If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, this study is for you!

What’s This Research All About?

Last year I wrote a quick overview of the idea that sparked this study:

Business leaders generally acknowledge the idea that brand crosses organizational boundaries. However, they are then often very ad-hoc about how they manage its impact across functions, or manage the impact of functions on the brand itself.

I am interested in exploring three questions:

  1. Are specific ways of aligning organizations around their brand better than others?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of specific approaches?
  3. What concrete steps can organizations take to better align themselves and promote positive brand outcomes?

What’s Involved?

To begin with, a 60-minute phone call or video conference to start mapping out your brand and organization. During this conversation the goal will be to understand what organizational functions shape, or are shaped by your brand.

Then, 3-5(ish) cross-functional conversations with colleagues throughout your organization to gather more insights and sharpen the map of your organization.

What’s In It For You?

After the conversations above, we’ll have a wrap-up call to review a map of your brand and organization.

These maps will be designed to provide a clear picture of functions within your org and how they work together to help or hinder your brand.

Like how a good physiotherapist helps you understand the interrelated and underlying causes of your lower back pain, the idea with these maps is they’ll help you examine your brand at a system-level instead of as an isolated asset or function within your org.

(My lower back pain is related to tight hips by the way, which is ultimately triggered by the way my feet arch).

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

As a participant in the study I’ll also provide you with a complete summary of my research, including the final report with accompanying maps of other organizations that have participated.

Where Does This Research Idea Come From?

This research is grounded in two well-established concepts from Strategic Management and Marketing Management:

1. The Viable Systems Model (VSM).

A model for a system that is organized to meet the demands of surviving in the changing environment. It has been used extensively as a tool for understanding organizations, redesigning them, and supporting the management of organizational change.

Check out this overview of VSM’s use as an organizational management tool for background on this.

2. Brand Orientation.

This refers to the degree to which an organization values brand, and the degree to which its practices are oriented toward building brand capabilities.

Research over the past twenty years has demonstrated that organizations which orient themselves around their brands tend to be more integrated overall. As a result, the performance of the entire organization benefits from better communication and stronger alignment across functions.

There’s a good special issue on this topic available in the Journal of Marketing Management.

This Research Will Be Actionable And Pragmatic

My goal with this research is to build on these concepts, creating new language and tools for business leaders and marketers that want to strengthen their brands.

Academic rigour is important. I do need to defend my work in front of a panel of academics after all.

But it’s also important that the results from this work are actionable and straight-forward. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Contact Me

If you’re interested in participating, or just want to find out more, please reach out. Message me on LinkedIn, or send an email to my OCAD student account: 3164606 [at]

A Note On Confidentiality and Publication of Results

All information you provide as a participant in this research considered and treated as confidential. You will not be identified individually as part of this research as we will not be including the names of participants, job titles, or the names of organizations in written reports.

Results of this study will be published in my thesis and presentations for a faculty panel at OCAD University. In any publication, data will be presented anonymously. This means that you will remain anonymous and your name will not be included. Any quotes from interviews will not be attributed to you without your permission.




Strategy Consultant. Researcher. Design-thinker.

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David Akermanis

David Akermanis

Strategy Consultant. Researcher. Design-thinker.

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