Carne Diem is a behemoth. Having just completed its 14th edition with over 800 people, and raising $8000, Carne Diem has become: downtown Oklahoma City’s biggest annual fall event; a major fundraiser for United Way; an incredible team-building exercise and source of pride inside VI walls; an iconic branding initiative; and perhaps, most importantly – a heck of a lot of fun.
And while Carne Diem has grown organically from a simple in-house employee chili cookoff a decade and a half ago, what it has become has been as much about strategy and planning as good times and goodwill. It all works together to become very successful, it’s the VI way of doing business.
When VI begins working with a new client, we lead them through a Brand Dig, an interactive process that leads to determining the organization’s brand attributes, brand positioning statement, and ultimately – what its brand is.
VI did a Brand Dig on itself a few years ago, and we re-established our own brand after more than 25 years in business. Our brand attributes, our brand statement, our brand are reflected in everything we do – our work, our events, our community involvement, our leadership, our team, our culture.
So yes, Carne Diem gets bigger and better every year. It’s by design. When VI took Carne Diem public five years ago, it became a public event, we just drive the machine. And drive we do. VI leadership is “all in” to fully support, promote, and grow Carne Diem into the chili monster it is today.
All-in means just that. VI hosts the event, and every effort from now until next year’s Carne Diem will be designed to get as many people possible to pay 10 bucks for a couple of bowls of chili. Every penny raised, during the two hours that is Carne Diem, goes directly to the United Way of OKC via a check signed by VI.
Carne Diem works for the VI brand, not because it is a VI branded event, but because it is the VI brand on display. VI’s brand attributes shine through every aspect of Carne Diem and the result is a genuinely fun, feel good (with Tums) experience for all involved.
Chili, as it turns out, is pretty complex. Dozens of varieties, dozens and dozens of ingredients, dozens and dozens of cooking styles. You don’t see that when chili is in a crockpot amongst tents full of crockpots. It’s only when you taste, and enjoy that you fill your bowl.
In a serious stretch of a chili analogy, brands are similar. Carne Diem is the taste that leads you to fill your bowl with VI, and savor the results.
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