[Discussion Series] Evolving the Gitcoin Brand: Mission, Vision & Values

TLDR

What?

  • As Gitcoin continues to evolve, we’re taking the opportunity to examine our brand (across different expressions (from visual to verbal to experiential).
  • This post aims to share the work that’s been done on our Brand Vision and Brand Mission, both of which closely relate to and complement our previously ratified Brand Purpose which can be found here, as well as our Brand Values which build upon these three strategic aspects.

Why?

  • This is the second in a series of governance posts we’ll share as we continue to evolve our brand in public in an effort to engage and align the wider Gitcoin community.
  • The first post in the series, which explains key definitions like Brand and Brand Strategy then walks through the foundational work leading up to the synthesis of the Brand Strategy, can be found here.

Anything else?

  • Most of the items linked here can be found on the MMM Brand Hub.
  • In addition to discussion and feedback here, we welcome additional discussion feedback on the #mmm-brand channel in Discord as well as the #brand-pod channel which will launch later this week.
  • We will also be sharing this information during tomorrow’s Gitcoin Community Call (12/7/2022)

A quick reminder of how we go here and the objectives of evolving the Brand Strategy, including Vision and Mission

After months of foundational work that included reviewing past iterations of our mission and vision, speaking with different community members and thought leaders, surveying stakeholder audiences completed, and coming back together to synthesize, we started to distill key pieces of our Brand Strategy (as a reminder, you can learn more about Brand and Brand Strategy in the last governance post in this series, here.)

The Brand Strategy is not meant to be overly prescriptive. Rather, it aims to offer a framework as well as a set of tools that should give contributors and the community a clear sense of direction. It also helps to inform design development and decisions.

Our intent is to develop a Brand Strategy that builds upon our existing Brand Purpose, creating a cohesive Brand Narrative - giving us more clarity around key strategic elements and considerations that can inform the evolution of our visual identity.

In its entirety, the Brand Strategy will define vision, mission, core principles, and strategic approaches for the foreseeable future (until another revision is deemed necessary by the community). The aim is to align the DAO around a set of common values and objectives so we can collectively do a better job in allocating resources, setting priorities, executing, and evolving towards a shared “North Star.”

To better understand how we reached the below, and to understand it more comprehensively, visit our Brand Evolution Board as well as the original Brand Attributes Workshop, which kicked off this work. We’ve referenced our community’s past work - including the Other Internet work and the Mission and Vision work

To be clear, this copy is NOT final; at this point in time we are looking for conceptual alignment as we continue to drive the design efforts and the visual expansion of the brand.

Our Brand Vision, Mission and Values as they relate to our Purpose

As mentioned, these Brand Strategy elements are meant to serve as guardrails for our path forward, helping us to make decisions - from product innovation to partnerships to designs - more effectively and efficiently. They are not set in stone as our Brand, like our community, is living and breathing. They are meant to be a guide in the near term, and so we want to feel confident and excited about them.

As a reminder, our already ratified Brand Purpose (which by definition explains what we’re here to do - and sits somewhere between Brand Vision and Brand Mission) is: to empower communities to fund their shared needs.

Brand Vision: A brand vision is the message telling our audience(s) why we’re here - our north star. To that effect, our working Brand Vision is: We envision a better future [alt: world] shaped by community led positive change.

Brand Mission: A brand mission is how we work towards our vision – or the “how we do it” complement to the

“why we’re here” and “what we’re here to do.” To that effect, our working Brand Mission is: To create tools and touchpoints that make it easier and more equitable for communities to build what matters.”

Brand Values: Our brand values are tied to the foundational beliefs we stand for. They refer to the “ideals” guiding our actions and decisions.

  1. Empowerment: We define empowerment as giving others the tools to step into their power and do something
  2. Impact: We define impact as having a measurable effect or influence
  3. Mutuality: We define mutuality as the sharing of feeling, action, or relationships
  4. Trust: We define trust as the belief in the reliability and intent of someone or something
  5. Forward Thinking: We define forward thinking as favoring innovation and progress as tools for building a better future

Again, we are sharing these for feedback as our hope is to align, engage and discuss. We welcome ALL feedback. Once we’ve aligned on the Brand Strategy, we will use it as a lens through which to continuously evaluate and refine design.

Whether or not we move forward with a brand refresh, rebrand, or something in between is up to us - the main goal is to ensure there is intentionality behind our design elements, and that we feel confident our brand expressions uphold our strategy.

Share your feedback!

We welcome all feedback and questions at this stage and invite you to discuss this further during our Gitcoin Community Call (FKA DAO Vibes) takeover on 12/7.

3 Likes

Question: what is the difference between a brand mission and vision vs an organizational mission and vision (or IS there even a difference)?

Honestly, there usually isn’t - the language MAY change but that’s in circumstances where you slightly tweak for your consumer audience vs. internal. we don’t really have that border defined. in an ideal world, this would become our mission statement.

That said, I’d be curious how our community here defines brand mission vs. org mission. If we align that they are the same then the goal is to work towards on singular mission.

I got lost a bit lost - to make the key points visable:

Brand Values:

1 Like

Can you clarify your question?

Thanks for reiterating here @shawn16400

In the Gitcoin Community Call this week we had a discussion of some of these points that I felt created open loops. Maybe we can try to close them here.

On that call there were a few points mentioned that I thought were interesting and wanted to share with the wider community:

from @shawn16400: I miss the linkage to core web3 ethos: decentralization, autonomy, and transparency.

On vision: We envision a better future [alt: world] shaped by community led positive change.

from @shawn16400: “Shaped by community led positive change” is a mouthful. I love the direction and can get behind it, but when you get to wordsmithing, ideally we end on something a little more flow-ey

from @Viriya:

  • Suggestion for vision: we envision a flourishing world shaped by empowered communities.

from @garysheng:
suggestion for vision: We envision a world shaped by community-led positive change

I feel the proposed vision is directionally right but needs some wordsmithing as I feel that “better” feels too preachy and “future” doesn’t ground us in the present enough (I much prefer “world” - especially in an intentional contrast (but not contradiction) of our brand value of “forward thinking”.

On mission: To create tools and touchpoints that make it easier and more equitable for communities to build what matters.

@garysheng: touchpoint is really inaccessible (to me at least)

@Jodi_GitcoinDAO: I disagree that we can keep it to just “tools” [as someone else suggested] and I think touchpoint is directionally right.

I personally feel that “touchpoints” is directionally right but we might look at another word for that. Would love to understand why you’ve moved away from “create solutions, from programs to protocols” as this seems most accurate to me.


On another note, I think it’s also worth mentioning that we’ve been working on missions for our individual products.

@krrisis I hope the core program product branding & its mission will focus very specifically on open source & public goods

If we consider the grants program a “product” then it might make sense to have that focused on building open source & public goods. Alternatively, if we consider the program a brand activation/marketing tool for our protocols then would this impact the overall Gitcoin mission?

Our historical focus on open source & public goods is both important to highlight (for me personally) but also noting that a mission should direct business decisions and influence organisational goal setting - from what I’ve heard from the partnerships team, we don’t have enough certainty around which verticals we are pursuing yet. I’m concerned that having a mission that focuses too specifically on open source or even public goods might limit the potential of the protocols as we are seeing increased interest from the NGO/impact space. Therefore, I think something closer to the above suggestions are safer to try. I think with this approach we can activate the mission and vision with a more specific brand expression like manifesto or theory of change that is bolstered by different campaigns that more explicitly state what we stand for in this moment in time (and those can evolve with us over time - a mission is harder to change)

@benwest said it well: What is going to work for a web3 native, public good audience may be very different than what resonates with or is understandable for say a potential partner from an organization like for example Serena Ventures or another org in the tech space focused on what we would call public goods that might be less clear about who we are and what we do for them and their community.

And, finally, on “Mutuality” as a brand value:

We did a lot of back and forth about this term. Collaboration felt too literal, coordination didn’t feel human enough and mutuality (defined is a positive, interactive relationship between people) aims to emcompass the vibe of “co-creation”, “collaboration”, “coordination” and “community” in one.

Happy to explore this word further as I think this one got the most question marks.

Hoping this spurs on some convo about this important topic!

Thanks @Viriya for this additional context! One comment on the mission - the reason we moved away from “solutions from programs to protocols” was twofold:

  1. Solutions: There was some original feedback that the word solution suggests we are only solving problems (reactive) when in fact our tools are something entirely different/show a new way of thinking (proactive); additionally, there was feedback that we didn’t want to seem too much like “saviors,” coming to solve the world’s problems or fixing past wrongs
  2. Programs to Protocols: There was discussion that what we do goes beyond just programs and protocols, so we wanted something more encompassing of the other things we do (events, thought leadership, potentially eventual services), although the use of the “from…to…” may sufficiently allude to the fact that we do more

A few other comments:
Empowerment: I tend to advise against the repeated use of action words across mission, vision and purpose as they tend to lose their punch, which is why I recommended communlity-led positive change, although I do think the use of empowered communities works here; I do like the idea of “community-led positive change” supporting the IMPACT brand value we identified
Flourishing: This is a personal opinion, but I question if this fits our working personality and tone, which we describe as relatable and plainspoken - which is the perfect segue into the next post in this series, which is about Personality and Voice. I’ll reply with the link as soon as I post.

Encourage everyone to keep leaving their feedback here!

2 Likes

I hear you on flourishing. What are your thoughts on “thriving”? We discussed this in past a post by Simon on vision and it seemed to resonate there.

I can’t help but think a tweak to the mission statement would help address a key concern that I have and from @krrisis

To create digital public goods that make it easier and more equitable for communities to build what matters.

Communities, events, protocols, educational content etc can all be digital public goods. I think “digital public goods” can replace tools and touchpoints and speak to how we’re all about public goods in an internet native way.


on a separate note, “make it more equitable for communities to build what matters” is confusingly phrased. is the idea that more people in a community get a say in what is built? can we use the word democracy instead?

“make it easier to grow genuinely democratic (or maybe empowering) communities that build what matters”


all in all, excited to see this progress and discussion!

“We envision a thriving world shaped by community led positive change” - definitely like thriving more than flourishing from a voice-fit standpoint; i like that both feel connected to nature

The public goods language remains problematic for me. On one hand, it has a very specific economic definition that leaves it quite limiting (and not necessarily encompassing of what you list); on the other hand, it feels less direct than programs and protocols to me.

On the language of democratic, I’m not a fan of the polarizing political undertones this could strike with certain audiences - yes democratic in the true sense of the word makes sense but out of this context it could be problematic.

Make it easier and equitable rather than more equitable could work.

Also one thing I want to encourage: that these be as least wordy as possible, so ideally avoiding adverbs etc.

On the language of democratic, I’m not a fan of the polarizing political undertones this could strike with certain audiences - yes democratic in the true sense of the word makes sense but out of this context it could be problematic.

That makes sense re: political. Equitable still feels vague to me. Can you explain what more equitable looks like in practice? And is that the main value prop of what we’ve been building?

Also, if we don’t like “digital public goods” language can we just remove the noun altogether?

Some ideas

To make it easier for communities to build what matters.

To make it easier for communities to build and fund what matters. (if we also want to emphasize one of the biggest value props we offer: funding-related coordination)

To help communities coordinate to build and fund what matters. (gets at “ease” and allows us to keep using a favorite meme of the DAO: “coordination”)


Also, regarding vision, something that was brought up during the Gitcoin Community Call was dropping “positive” because it might be implied and is less wordy. Thoughts on that?

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In the case of mission, the importance of the noun is that it’s the actual practical way (HOW) we deliver on the vision - my concern is without the noun it becomes more conceptual and too close to vision/purpose.

In discussions, words like democratic, egalitarian and ultimately equitable all came up because yes, the idea was creating more equal opportunities was central to what our protocols do, plus this language was more approachable and impactful than saying something like permissionless or decentralized. You can see some of this back and forth discussion in the Brand Strategy brief here: Gitcoin Brand Brief: Brand, Brand Strategy & Brand Identity - Google Docs

I do like the third option you propose:

To help communities coordinate to build and fund what matters. (gets at “ease” and allows us to keep using a favorite meme of the DAO: “coordination”)

Hear you on removing positive - especially if we have “better,” “thriving,” or “flourishing” as the qualifier to world. Always in favor of shortening.

1 Like