Branding Beyond Logos | Toastmasters, District 42

 

Ilana Herzberg – Brand Strategist at Toastmasters International

On October 23rd, 2020 Toastmasters District 42 had a special visitor all the way from Denver, Colorado – Ilana Herzberg, current brand strategist at Toastmasters International. She presented an informative lesson about Toastmasters branding and how it goes beyond the logo. In her words: “It’s easy to get lost in the fonts, colours and logos… but it’s so much more than that – it’s what it represents! A brand is alive; it’s organic. It’s the combination of every single touch point that gets [communicated] to a member.”

What is the ‘Brand’?

Case in point, the Toastmasters logo is not the brand. The brand is our personality and tone of voice; it’s a combination of our interactions at club meetings and how we conduct ourselves at district events but also the visual elements and physical materials we use, create and circulate. Each club, area, division and district around the world is unique but we are all united by the same purpose and mission statement. 

Toastmasters wants the brand to be easily recognizable and consistent so that the global vision remains intact no matter where the Toastmasters meeting or event takes place. “Think of McDonald’s” says Ilana. “No matter where you go, those golden arches mean the same thing. You can get a Big Mac anywhere. We know what it means and what to expect.” This is why following the Toastmasters branding guidelines is so important. It allows us to contribute to the strengthening of the brand as a whole. 

Frequently Asked Branding Questions 

Q: Can my club have its own logo?

A: No! That would detract from the unified Toastmasters message. Please only use the official logo, as stated in the Brand Manual How your club celebrates achievements, structures your meetings, designates themes and challenges club members is completely up to you but please follow the branding guidelines.

Q: Can we still use the sunburst or sunray pattern?

A: That has been discontinued in the latest release of the Brand Manual. It was not being used consistently or within the originally intended manner. If you’ve already created something with the sunburst you can keep it but moving forward don’t use it.

Q: Can we create themed flyers and posts for special occasions (i.e. Halloween)?

A: I fought for a loop hole for themed meetings with no luck. I understand the desire to create, for example, a Halloween flyer that’s spooky and orange with pumpkins all over it but unfortunately we can’t approve that. 

Q: Animation is another form of communication so why is it not accepted by Toastmasters International?

A: The reason it is not accepted is because of consistency. Some people are very good at animation while others are not! It is also very hard to regulate them in terms of cultural sensitivities and appropriateness, etc. 

Ready to Start Branding?

District 42 will soon be announcing a club PR challenge. It is a perfect opportunity to put our new found branding knowledge to the test. If you have any branding questions, marketing ideas or see something that does not conform to the branding guidelines, feel free to reach out to Ilana and her team at brand@toastmasters.org.

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