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Empathy for the Economic Architecture Project

Written By Jon Budington

December 2, 2019

Expressing client value happens in many ways at More Vang. We might get involved in developing a campaign or messaging around a specific product or service. In that case, we would create the visual “look and feel” and combine this with clever advertising copy. In other instances, we tackle the far more challenging work of defining a client’s brand—the complicated process of committing an organization’s thoughts, beliefs and actions into words and identity. 

Developing a brand requires us to fully understand an organization’s value, and to do this, we have developed a better method for organizing our research. We call it the Empathy Brief.

The Empathy Brief looks at the changing value of an organization over time. This idea came to me as I was reading Philip Zimbardo’s The Time Paradox. But where Zimbardo was researching how people define themselves in a past, present and future state, I was interested in this effect on brand. Understanding where a brand’s value came from and where it is today has a direct impact on where it can go. 

We first employed the Empathy Brief process in our work with Ashoka’s Economic Architecture Project. Most creative briefs for non-profit organizations begin by defining a problem. But the Economic Architecture Project sees the world differently. They think in terms of market-based solutions to problems. The Economic Architecture Project’s present brand is directly related to the work Ashoka has done in the past. Seeing this helped us set a clear path for the brand going forward, but more importantly, it created a team of More Vang believers in the idea of better markets. 

I’ve asked Stuart Yasgur, Managing Director of The Economic Architecture Project, to share his idea in Part 2 of this post.