What inspires us, what sticks in our heads, what keeps us moving forward. We reflect on who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

The value of 360° brand development and ownership – Part 1


Pulsar has a unique niche of developing and re-imagining brands for public and private sector clients that often involve complex products, services or organizations. Our specialty is helping our clients navigate and actively participate in the brand development process. It’s important to start with the fundamental nature of what a brand is. For us, a brand is the authentic representation of what an organization aspires to be adapted for the customer experience, culture, needs, language and positioning for its target audience(s).

In order to arrive at the genuine/authentic nature of a client’s brand, it ideally involves a 360° perspective and involvement of an organization and its target audiences. This requires a visionary CEO or leader that is open and committed to the process. It’s equally important that the CEO appreciate the value of the organization’s collective genius and that together it will result in a better, more authentic and ultimately more valuable brand.

An excellent example of this was when Pulsar Advertising was hired by the Virginia Department of Taxation (VA Tax) to develop a brand and campaign that would persuade delinquent taxpayers to pay their back taxes during a 60-day amnesty period established by the Virginia General Assembly.


At our very first meeting with then Virginia Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen, she asked, “Are you going to just go off and create this brand and campaign and deliver it to us?” We said, “That’s not our preferred approach. We’d much rather roll up our sleeves and work together with you – taking a collaborative approach, involving a key group of VA Tax team members that represent a full circle around the project and the customer’s experience. This core group will be our brand development team.”

That’s exactly what Commissioner Bowen wanted to hear. In fact, her exact words were, “I was hoping you’d say that, because I love this stuff.” She knew that when you take this type of holistic approach, you will not only get a better/more authentic brand and campaign but you earn internal and external buy-in. And ultimately, it’s more impactful. In the case of VA Tax, our “Giant Square Smiley Face” branded campaign ultimately brought in $103 million to state coffers – twice that of the $48 million goal.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we explore the Keys to Success for developing a great brand.

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