When it comes to branded, commemorative days, I often consider the underlying cause for such a thing. We know Valentine’s day is to sell cards, chocolate and diamonds and make couples feel guilty or great one day out of the year, but what about Earth Day?

Honestly, as environmentally aware as I think I am, I had to do some digging. Often, because of the marketing behind such initiatives, we as a global society tend to hop on the band wagon of expectation. Especially when that expectation is organized and celebrated by nearly 200 countries each year.

Like all brands, (I use the term loosely)  it begins with one idea, and a few key ambassadors to execute it. Denis Hayes, an environmental advocate from Wisconsin, was selected to organize the first Earth Day (here in the U.S.) by Senator Gaylord Nelson and the rest, as they say, is history. There’s even a movie about it, and you can watch it in full on youtube.

Visit the official website to learn the basics about Earth Day and the initiatives for it across the globe, but in my digging a few key things stood out to me. Spoiler alert, they are all branding based:

1) Two names were used to launch this first series of events, National Environment Teach-In, and Earth Day. The media referenced the name Earth Day most, so it stuck. No surprise there. I love the power of naming.

2) Like any initiative should be, goals were set and trends were forecast so that they could measure the impact of their efforts immediately and long term. The predictions they had for the current state of famine, endangered species and climate change would be are astounding… and humbling.

3) Their logo is awesome! Purely awesome. They introduced it around 2010. I love that they weren’t afraid to change. Change is good.

4) The network has had a web presence since 1998, was on a compuserve network, and best viewed in Netscape. Why does that matter? They recognized that in order to launch a global movement they needed to be early adopters of the latest technology trends. It was 1998!

5) Partnership is a priority. The Earth Day Network has over 50,000 partners. It’s no doubt their growth 20 years ago was powered by their focus on partnership. No man, or organization, is an island.

Clearly I know there is more to Earth Day and our global responsibility than branding assets and naming conventions, but I believe in every case, branding smart gives you the power to have greater impact. Many local and global movements have the opportunity to inspire and engage change in the world. Let branding get you there.

Now, go to EarthDay.org and make a contribution – financial or otherwise.