Branding is probably the best thing you can do for your business to encourage growth. Well, designed Brands are not put together by accident. Think about a few of the big companies. Most people will think of Apple or Nike. Two great examples of companies that built brands that made you fall in love and become loyal. This was not done by accident.
How do you build a brand? A very common question I hear. You know it is important by how do you go about building?
It is all in the process. With a solid process, brands will come together easily.
I have implemented a 5 step branding process I use all of the time. Here is a quick overview of each step.
Step 1: Discover
Before treating the symptoms we must diagnose the problem. It easy to look at the surface and come up with a solution to a problem but until you dig deeper to figure out the cause, similar challenges will arise.
Let's look at an extreme example. If you have a headache and go to the doctor and to him/her, "I need brain surgery", they are not going to take your word for it and cut you open. Instead, go through a process of discovering the true problem and why you believe surgery is necessary.
That example was a little out there but it is important to drive home the value of discovery. Now let's explore a more relevant example. You have a business and contact a creative for a new website. Instead of hopping right on the computer and designing a new website, a session to diagnose the problem should be in place.
When things are not running smoothly with your brand or business, the problem is not the ascetics. It is usually the strategy behind the visuals.
During the discovery step, you are forced to put yourself in your ideal client's shoes. Through a series of exercises, the solution will surface.
What's included in discovery:
- Video or in-person strategy session
- Completing a brand audit
- Building user profile
- Creating brand attributes
- Developing positioning statement
- Conducting a SWOT analysis
- Creation of mood boards
- Creative brief
Step 2: Develop
Now that we have all the information from the first step, it is time to develop a plan. No, we are not designing yet. There must be a clear strategy before beginning to create anything.
The developing step prevents you from getting lost. I like to think of it as a map or GPS. You remember MapQuest? (before smartphones with GPS) Before you travel anywhere new you had to print off those MapQuest directions or things can go bad really fast.
Can you find your way without direction? Sure, but how many wrong turns did you make or how many times did you have to turn around? "Winging-it" can cost you time and no one wants to waste time.
What's included in development:
- Developing user journey
- Creating brand messaging
- Prioritizing goals
- Planning visual identity
- Outlining sales funnels
Step 3: Design
Now time for the fun part. The designing phase is where most people start. Having the designing third in the process will further assist in creating elements that will complement the brand. Not just a logo but an entire system refried to as an identity system.
The purpose of creating the full identity is constancy and it will make your life easier. If your brand looks different every time it is displayed, it will be tough to connect the visuals to your business. Now on the other hand, if you are using a consistent system, viewers will be able to recognize the style.
When you know the visual style it takes the guesswork out of creating. Everything has been established based on what you have previously discovered and developed.
Common design components:
- Logo design
- Newsletter design
- Email signature
- Color palette
- Style guide
Step 4: Deliver
Time to show you the work. Before handing over the files it is important to be able to give a little input. The delivery stage should be much more than an email. Imagine buying a new cool gadget and it came with no instructions. I am sure you would just stare at it until you give up and search for help on YouTube.
The delivery stage is more of a dialogue. You will see all of the work in a nicely designed deck and have each element explained to you. You would also receive previously for the design portion of the brand. The project agreement which was set up at the beginning of the project will detail the number of revisions allowed.
After everyone is on the same page, look out for the email or shared file containing your new brand.
Common deliverables received:
- PDF or brand guide deck
- Access to the website
- Complete Identity system
- Design files
Step 5: Direct
We are almost done, hang in there.
It is time for the big rollout. You know your target, you have built a brand, and the visuals are all ready to go. Now let's get eyes on your business.
The purpose of the last step is to help point you in the right direction of how to implement a successful launch strategy to introduce the new brand. Based on the information previously discovered a plan will be put in place.
What's included in the direction:
- Launch campaign
- Content strategy
- Brand monitoring
There you have it. My 5 Step Branding Process. With this process, I listen to the challenges, give a diagnose, create the visuals, and help launch.