Because branding is so similar to design in the public imagination, we often receive briefs that are heavily weighted to the visual aspects of the work.
Branding isn’t really the same, though. It’s a longer-term project, and requires thinking that will survive until the next rebranding, and be versatile yet specific enough to inspire regular design work. So although companies get a lot of things right when we embark on a branding project with them, we thought we’d touch on the six elements that are most often overlooked.
What media will your branding occupy?
Companies market themselves and sell their products and services over many media. Some are weighted towards bold TV advertising, striking billboards and impactful packaging. Others have a specialist, local or more discerning audience – and their branding has to fit in quality magazines, on business cards and in direct marketing campaigns. It’s therefore important to specify what kinds of media will hold your branding, as one type often doesn’t translate well to another.
What is your brand story?
We want to know where you came from, how you got here and where you’re going as a company. It all feeds into the overall picture we build up of you, and tells us a lot about your ambition and your clientele. That way, we can start to develop a branding grammar that appeals to your customers while remaining valid and convincing.
Where do you want to be positioned in your marketplace?
It’s good to know where you sit in the marketplace in relation to your competition, but is that where you want to be? Has past misbranding cheapened the look of what’s actually a high-quality offering and forced you to cut your prices? We need an honest assessment of where you think you are positioned, or how you’re going to get to where you want to be.
How would you describe your brand’s personality?
This can be fun or serious, but it’s good to describe your brand in terms of something else, like a famous person. It’s a really good exercise in self-recognition, and since celebrities are by their very nature viewed positively by their audiences, it helps identify demographics so we can test branding ideas.
What makes you unique?
This ties in with all other factors, such as your story and your personality, but it’s good to have specific examples of why you’re different from your competition. If you’re a manufacturer, do you use specific processes or skills that your rivals don’t? If you’re in services, how do you add value to your offering compared with other businesses?
What’s wrong with your existing branding?
Businesses that come to us for rebranding are usually not happy with their current branding, if indeed they have a recognisable branding strategy. But analysing the existing branding is vital for us to see where it is irrelevant, unfocused, outdated or badly positioned for the audience. Work you’re unhappy with can give us a useful starting point, so we can measure improvement and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again.
We’re happy to guide you through the whole process of coming up with a workable branding or design brief, and we never start a project until we’re sure the brief is solid. But looking into the non-visual elements and diving deeper is a good way to start. If you need a hand, please get in touch.