Like anything that’s worthwhile, branding takes time, energy, thoughtfulness and a tad of patience. In the branding process, you want to poke and prod until you get to the core of the brand. Then, get busy articulating your brand’s messaging and creating your brand’s look and feel.
So, what are the steps involved?
The branding process begins with a meeting of the key stakeholders where branding participants delve into where your brand currently stands in the market, and how customers perceive you. You’ll want to share any Powerpoint presentations, creative briefs, business plans and any other supporting documentation that would help explain and convey your marketing objectives. At this point, your branding agency should really be there to listen, gather information, and ask lots of questions. Remember, the more information your branding agency has about you, the better equipped they will be to position or reposition your brand.
Research & discovery
R&D is crucial to building the foundation of your brand. In this stage, your branding agency learns everything it can about your brand. This research helps create a brand persona and a comprehensive picture of what your brand truly stands for. To do this, questions about your primary audience as well as your secondary and even tertiary audience are covered. It’s critical to understand what your audiences are looking for, what they value, and what their pain points are in order to accurately position your brand. For the internal team, your branding agency should develop a detailed questionnaire covering various aspects of the brand, from brand values and character to future positioning.
The Research & Discovery stage requires a fair amount of research, including conversations and surveys with:
Getting to your brand’s position requires some deep digging in order to define the end benefit and the true value proposition, so that the branding is relevant and timeless. After defining the value proposition, work begins on a central brand theme or big idea that will resonate throughout the brand communication. Typically, the theme isn’t based on a brand’s products or services, but instead how a brand delivers those products and services.
Articulating the brand
Now that you know your central theme, how do you want to convey that message? Do you want to sound bold and innovative? Do you want to educate and inform? What is the personality/tone of your brand? What tone of messaging will most appeal most to your audience? These questions all need to be asked and then answered in a messaging document for your team to share and discuss.
Implementing the new brand
With the central theme and key messaging done, it’s time to develop the right visual approach that supports the brand and implement it across various mediums. To ensure consistent execution over time and protect your new visual identity system, you’ll want to develop a set of comprehensive identity standards and detail those standards in a Brand Guidelines document that is accessible to anyone and everyone who is involved in communications for your brand.
Sure, it’s a lot of work to brand a company. But when done methodically and creatively, the payback is well worth the effort.