My intention behind writing this article is to demystify the process of branding, which may well come across as daunting at first glance. Rest assured, by working to tried-and-true processes, branding can be a seamless and effective process; one which I’m confident will lead to great success for you and your business.
The four and a half stages I work to are:
1. Research & Discovery
2. Objectives & Strategy
4.5. Asset Management
Research is the vehicle by which we unearth what we’re communicating. We analyse your own identity, your competitors, your target audience & USP (Unique Selling Point), your future plans, and more. During research we might:
- Clarify objectives, mission statements, strategy, goals, and values
- Conduct a brand audit
- Conduct a competitive audit
- Ask a whole bunch of other questions!
Previous clients have described this as being a little bit like therapy, having found clarity about their business and having unearthed things about themselves that they’d never even considered before. Our goal here is not only for me to have a clear view of your brand, but for you to have a clear view of your brand.
At this point in the process, we have a clear idea of who your brand is and who you’re for. Now we figure out where we’re going and how to get there.
We aim to clarify the following:
- Target Market
- Tone of Voice/Personality
We’ll work together to determine what makes you stand out, clarify where you’re positioned in the market (and whether we need to position somewhere else) and even assist with naming if necessary.
After establishing objectives and the strategy to accomplish them, we’ll begin work on bringing some of these strategies to life.
I call this part of the process your ‘visual identity’; that is, the visual representation of your brand. A logo is part of your visual identity the way your visual identity is a part of your overall brand. I focus on strategy-led design systems, from layout to typography to application… every part of a visual identity needs to work in harmony, so that your brand can be identified across all your touchpoints regardless, even, of whether the logo is present or not.
A touchpoint is a point of contact between the customer and the business. This might be your website, social media, signage or one of many other things.
Depending on time, budget, etc. collateral will either be designed in house or outsourced to someone in my network of trusted (and talented!) creatives. Outsourcing allows me to focus on direction and big picture, while hiring experts in their own respective fields to implement your new brand identity in your website, products, etc.
Maintaining the integrity of a brand system requires effort, but is an essential part of effective branding. In order to make things easier, I’ll compile brand guidelines to show you how to best implement your branding. Traditionally, this might be an extensive booklet, or a quick reference sheet. I might also recommend web-based brand guidelines, with links to logos, media bios etc. to make collaborating with others as simple as sharing a URL.
I hope this brief overview of my process has helped to clarify what you might expect by working with me! If you need advice, or you’re interested in starting a project, please reach out through my contact info here.