Friday, May 21, 2010

Brand Building: HRI Logo and Location x 3

Today's customary Friday Bacon and Booze combo has blown fresh courage into Nathan the intern, who, slightly inebriated, has just pointed out to me that HRI has not done a good job of “building a brand” and that our logo is virtually unknown outside the vast circles of life-saving workshopaholics.

All those leadership and management trainings have really changed me to the better and I appreciate an intern attempting to give unsolicited advice, just because they took Marketing in College. Theoretically at least, it could be that years and years of working for HRI has biased me just a bit and perhaps there is something one can learn from a humble intern's "fresh" perspective (fresh perspective of course being an euphemism for "green", and by that i don't mean the environmental type).

After all, working together in the hardships of "Africa" has led to a certain bond between the two of us and perhaps Nathan will have a chance to get a 1-year “special contract” in six-seven years or so and become one of us.

Faking passive-aggressiveness I first tnaked him and immediately told him he needs to learn to keep his mouth shut as well, while he proves himself by writing reports, taking minutes, making newsletters and in general engages in other character-building activities that will help him cut his teeth and learn the ropes. Nothing kills a promising career in this business than speaking to your supervisors un-asked and/ or attempting to be smarter than them.

Meanwhile, in the unlikely event that there may be some truth to Nathan’s opinion, I thought I use the opportunity and share with all of you the well-known, iconic HRI logo again, just in case you need to put it in document-headers, billboards, t-shirts, landcruiser doors and what have you and somehow have misplaced the correct file:

Also, while we speak of brand-building. Some new-comers into the sector have recently emailed me with questions about why someone like me, the executive director of a large international organization no less, chooses to set up in a backwaterish place like the Comoros.

I will provide the simple explanation, apologizing to the more clued-up of our readers for having to state the obvious: please bear with me, for the sake of “brand-building”.

The answer, of course is: Location, Location, Location.

The world has changed you see, and HRI being the cutting-edge organization that it has always been, has immediately acted on these changes under my visionary leadership. Back in the day the executive director used to be based in Geneva or in Washington DC or in some other such place. But in those days it was all about saving the world and life was much simpler. Concepts like "Local Ownership" and "Local Knowledge" were virtually unknown and the donors were happily funding the same sort of stuff again and again.

These days, some people tend to frown upon US/ EU based organizations and besides, having to choose between being based in Europe or in the US also forces one to choose between donors, as US donors tend to fund US-type organizations and EC tends to fund EU-type organizations. And we’re not even talking AUSAid, NZAid or private fundations.

Enter HRI. Having our executive director based in Moroni makes us eligible to funding from a comprehensive list of donors to include everyone that matters, really. They go crazy over being able to fund “locally based organizations” these days and it is our pleasure to indulge them.

Naturally we maintain well-staffed “Administrative Centers” in Washington, DC, Geneva, Brussels, Melbourne and Beijing, to name a few, in addition to having a direct, affiliated or francised presences in virtually every country out there. Sure, these arrangements tend to keep admin, travel and communications costs pretty high, but that also conveniently explains our higher-than-average overhead fees.

Besides, having a well organized “domestic support” team who know how to treat a man of my status has sadly become unfashionable in large parts of the world, just like being driven around up and down the street in a bulletproof Landcruiser, all while acquiring the “field cred” so very useful in our business sector.


  1. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. With both hands, squeezing the "little man" until he hollers.

    I'd have thought hops would be more appropriate... oh, wait.. you mean WHEAT BEER, right? In that case, it's perfect.

  2. looks more like twiddling thumbs while the "little man" is in distress.

  3. looks more like twiddling the 'little guys' little guy, love the hand relief referance. he actually has an 'O' face...hehehe

  4. Dr. Kutrz-

    Where does the time go, mon cher ami? I have been entirely remiss in keeping up with your writings about your good works. I was inspired, of course, by your wonderful new logo that looks suspiciously UN-ish, except for the wonderful choice of color.

    Purple, rarely appreciated outside of the wink-wink nudge-nudge circles. Still, I can't believe that you let Nathan the Intern encourage you so very effectively. What a good boy. Keep that one under your thumb for a while more and he will be thanking you during his Pulitzer award speech.

    Et franchement- who in their right minds would question a hard working development professional's choice about living in Moroni vs living in Geneva? Overpriced fine chocolate simply can't make up for domestic servants, tropical fruit, tropical climate, tropical beaches or anything else tropical.

    Please be sure to 'sensitize' your jet-setting colleagues (the carbon-footprint bunch) as to the incredible value of a locally-based organization that works, lives, eats and enjoys locals in places like Moroni as opposed to say (chilly, expensive, surprisingly boring) Geneva.

    That said, feel free to send a package of swiss chocolate truffles mon cher. They do so uplift the soul of this dedicated, beleaguered Director of Diversity.

    Yours, always.

    La Negresse.

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