With the will and grit to break through.
Breaking Through the Stigma of Marketing
Break Through Cancer (BTC) represents one of LRobInspires finest hours and most rewarding achievements. We know… that’s quite the boast but once you get through reading about the purpose and mission behind this branding project, you’ll understand why it’s so impressive.
Since February of 2021, the BTC foundation proudly operates in total alignment with its inspiring mission—to empower outstanding researchers and physicians to both intercept and find cures for the deadliest cancers by stimulating radical collaboration—but it wasn’t always positioned to do so.
Prior to officially forming, Break Through Cancer was simply a dream. A brilliant and necessary one, yes. But nevertheless, it had yet to be completely established and desperately needed proper strategic branding in order to reach its fullest potential. Upon connecting with Dr. Tyler Jacks—President of Break Through Cancer, among many other notable titles including Founding Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT—LRobInspires immediately perceived this need.
Dr. Jacks and his team first dubbed this start-up as the Commonwealth Cancer Consortium, known as C3 for short. At this point, they were on the ground floor of development and not entirely convinced that a marketing team was worth their while. Being a part of the industry, LRobInspires was (and still is) fully aware of the bad rap marketing agencies get. After all, it only takes one bad experience to confirm the cliche. And in all honesty, we understood Dr. Jacks’s misconception. He only had negative experiences with other agencies to filter through the decision of working with LRobInspires. For us, this posed an exciting challenge. One of our favorite aspects of helping organizations differentiate themselves by accurately marketing their mission is breaking through the stigma that marketing is unnecessary or frivolous.
Our first aim is to build a foundation of trust with the client. Over the span of four relaxed and conversational meetings, we began connecting with the C3 team. It is a top priority in our creative process to make sure we understand the client’s needs, goals, audience, motives, personality, and every other little thing that fuels them (it’s truly an exhaustive and comprehensive process). As we develop a deep inspiration for our client’s mission, through connection building and heavy research, a mutual bond of respect is established. After that relationship was formed with C3, we gave them a customized and robust proposal—and they accepted!
Phase one of the strategic marketing process for C3 (now, Break Through Cancer) had commenced. On our end, this marked the beginning of the Insight period. We conducted further research, held about 20 stakeholder interviews with leaders in the cancer research industry, and brought the team together to discuss and synthesize all of the information that had been collected. This was a rigorous process. Many hours were spent speaking with healthcare professionals, investors, and lawyers as it was essential that we pulled together a strategy that was integrous, intellectual, and within legal boundaries. While integrity is always a priority, it was particularly crucial on a project of this magnitude and importance.
Through the interviews, LRobInspires was able to pinpoint the biggest challenges and opportunities in front of Dr. Jacks’ team. We seamlessly moved from the Insight process into the Brand Workshop phase. C3 was hoping to select a new name that truly identified them and form a creative logo and tagline. Holding a Brand Workshop allowed us to officially determine their brand, voice, and Quest.
The Quest is all about reaching for the spectacular North Star that differentiates a brand. Initially, Dr. Jacks’s was insistent on not using the terminology “cure” in his organization’s messaging. However, after hearing feedback that the LRobInspires team compiled during the Insight process (from stakeholders, patients, and doctors who want to fight for a cure) he changed his mind. After all, this brand belongs to the team and their audience—their desire to find cures for intractable forms of cancers unites them under this single initiative.
The time had come to find a name. We began by putting hundreds of words that were meaningful to the brand and mission on the table. Following extensive and thoughtful consideration, we landed on Break Through Cancer. It was truly a thrill to choose a name that fully expressed this team’s story and intention as a foundation. We quickly thrust into the process of developing brand standards for BTC—that is, generating a logo and determining the identity.
We posed ourselves with the question: “What primary message(s) are going to break through to the BTC audience and potential donors?” Every deliverable developed for the foundation had to communicate the answer to that question. The finalized logo for BTC exemplifies (and highlights the importance of) this thought process. The word “Through” is protruding through the stack to signify break through while the array of dots represent all of the data that goes into cancer research.
At the end of our branding process is a phase we have coined as Activation—the final puzzle piece required to launch an organization into sustained success. For BTC, we established thriving social media channels and held our first-ever virtual press conference. This conference showcased BTC, Dr. Jacks, and the leaders from the five collaborating organizations while providing them all with the space to speak on the behalf of their mission.
Originally a patient turned partner, Hunter Goodwin, played a critical role in the conception of BTC. During the virtual press conference that LRobInspires conducted, Goodwin and his family were able to personally share and inspire all involved to grab ahold of the vision. They also made a game-changing donation of $250 million. Tragically, Goodwin lost his life to the very disease BTC is fighting against in January of 2020. His legacy impacts our team and the entire team and audience of BTC deeply.
Break Through Cancer represents everything that LRobInspires stand for—collaboration, bigger purpose, and of course, breaking through the barriers. This incredible foundation works tirelessly to inspire patients, researchers, and donors. Not only that, but they thoroughly inspired our team as we supported them toward their goals. Pinpointing a vision and learning how to communicate it are essential for the success of any organization, especially one with such a commendable pursuit.
Liz Robinson, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of LRobInspires shared, “It was so awesome to see someone who was so skeptical of branding and marketing to see [Tyler Jacks] smile as the logo and the name and everything came together.”
Brands should never remain stagnant. After all, there is a world of possibilities, opportunities, and space for significant impact. What’s required to get there? The will and grit to break through.
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