- Faith & Family
More businesses look to develop positive identities
In the business world, a ‘brand’ — that is the identity of a specific product, service or business — can often be as important to sales and one’s profit margin as the actual goods being delivered to the market. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. For consumers, there are some brands that spark instant recognition — like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Nike, Apple and Harley Davidson. But how do fledgling businesses develop their brands? What is the process and how do business owners know when they have come up with a successful company brand or trademark?
The founders and CEOs of two Black theater companies, Nial Martin of No Jive Productions, Inc. based here in Miami, and, talked about their efforts to make their production companies “household names.”
“The community understands our message of love and our efforts to facilitate dialogue within families — we bring a strong message of forgiveness which starts from the heart,” Martin said. “Since our incorporation in 1996, we have produced plays that deal with the hardships and realism of life. Our audiences say they can relate to the subjects we address in our shows.”
Martin admits that he and his board members are still fine-tuning the best brand for No Jive, but for now most people see him as the ‘face’ of the company.
“We get so many letters from fans who have seen our shows and say they have been encouraged and inspired,” he said. “When you can touch someone with your work you know you’re doing something worthwhile. As we continue to expand our user loyalty we will use blogs, e-blasts, newspapers, radio and old-fashioned word-of-mouth to get our message to the public.”
Taylor started Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater in 1976, fashioning it after the Negro Ensemble in New York City. Because of her childhood experiences in Chi-town, she says she wanted to utilize the theater to eradicate racism and to educate the masses on the significant contributions of Blacks to society.
“My productions are musical, educational and uplifting — I believe they inspire communication and understanding that help us to recognize that as human beings we are for more alike than we differ,” she said. “As to our brand, I think it is based on the fact that it doesn’t matter what production you see at the Black Ensemble Theater — you walk away a little more knowledgeable and feeling good about life.”
Both Martin and Taylor have committed themselves to bringing stories to the Black community in particular and society in general that move their audiences just a little bit closer from brokenness to wholeness, from sorrow to joy and from pain to redemption. And their brands reflect the inspiration they continue to provide for their communities. There is indeed power in a ‘name.’
“When you can forgive and begin healing from the wounds of your past, you can begin to live life to the fullest,” Taylor added.
By D. Kevin McNeir