I Just Broke the Biggest Rule in Branding

October 20, 2020 | Josh Fleming



Brand standards. Brand guidelines. Brand books. Marketers know these are gospel when it comes to building a brand. Once built, you simply don’t deviate from them. And you certainly don’t mess with a brand mark, also called a logo. Like most marketers, this has been my branding mantra, and it’s served me and my companies, clients and colleagues well for 20 years. It’s one thing we all agree on; there’s simply no debating it. Only one thing could make me deviate from my stalwart commitment to brand consistency – and that’s the fight against one of our community’s most stalwart enemies – cancer.


Back on the topic of debates, there are plenty of debates going on today. Debates between presidential candidates, debates on whether to mask or not to mask and debates on opening or closing business. Not to mention, historic civil unrest in our communities and in the hearts and minds of our people.


Even with all the disruption, people are still getting cancer.


 Let that settle for a second. Because what’s not in your news feed or scrolling across the bottom of your news channel of choice is that people are indeed still getting cancer. It’s like the world forgot about the notion that life, and all of the challenges it brings; relationships, financial, professional and health concerns continue.


At times, it can seem like the world today doesn’t have time for cancer. By simply reading this article, though, you are making time for cancer. You are recognizing the challenge it still poses for so many.


I lost a friend to breast cancer about a year ago. A wonderful mother, she was forced to leave behind four kids and a doting husband. But even within that and the many other awful stories like it, there is some optimism. I know several women who have defeated breast cancer. And all of them said it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of their families, friends, other breast cancer survivors and charities like Can Do Cancer.


And that’s why we are purposely “messing with the logo.” Bank Iowa’s well-recognized and established PMS 300c Blue my team and I have worked hard for you to recognize is going pink. And it’s all to bring awareness to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help a local non-profit live out its purpose of helping patients battling breast cancer.

We’re partnering with Can Do Cancer, an Iowa based non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Des Moines, Ames and surrounding areas. They provide dinner for patients and their families on chemotherapy days, house cleaning services throughout treatment, a website for patients to learn what they need to know after a breast cancer diagnosis and motivational support by breast cancer survivors.


For the month of October, we are changing our quintessential blue mark to pink on all of our social platforms. And to celebrate this very wild, and if I’m honest a little uncomfortable, departure from the marketing rules, we will donate $1 to Can Do Cancer for every new like, follow or subscriber we earn throughout the month of October.


As you design and deploy your own strategies this month, consider the charities or causes you align with? Which platforms can you use to shed light on the stories that need more attention? How can you break through the noise and make your community stronger through your actions? Then, make it happen… even if, no especially if, it’s uncomfortable.


Josh Fleming is the Vice President of Marketing at Bank Iowa. With more than $1.5 billion in assets, Bank Iowa ranks as one of the leading independent ag banks and the second-largest family-owned bank in the state. Farmers, families and businesses access Bank Iowa’s products and services through 25 locations in 23 communities, as well as online and on mobile devices. To learn more, visit bankiowa.bank. Member FDIC.