February 24th, 2017
Four Steps to Branding Bliss
In our last blog we told you all about our recent branding project with York Against Cancer and the process we went through to create their new identity.
In this blog, we’ll talk about what a ‘brand’ actually is and each of the steps we go through to help you uncover your brand essence and create a truly authentic brand identity.
What is your brand?
Your brand is what sets your business apart from the competition. It should express who you are as a business and what you’re all about. In a crowded market sector, it shows customers why you are different. It’s not just a logo or a badge. It needs to be reflected in everything you do, from the way your website is presented and designed, to how your people interact with customers and promote your services or products.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon
What are you like?
Before you can think about establishing your brand, you need to define what you’re all about as an organisation. It’s what we call your ‘brand essence’. Defining this can be tricky, especially when you’re so close to your business. So, over many years of helping businesses and organisations to build their brands, we’ve developed an effective four-stage process for defining and developing a brand.
These four stages are:
Our first step is to question you about the ethos and principles that have created your success so far. We want to know who your customers and supporters are, and what they buy into when they choose your products or services. We will ask your employees what they believe your strengths are. We need to understand your vision for the business and what your values are. From this, we hope to map out where you have come from and where you want to get to. We aim to identify the inherent ‘heart and soul’ of your organisation.
We’ll use our research findings to define your ‘brand essence’. This will set out who you are now and your potential for growth; the culture of your organisation now, and what you aspire to become. We will pin down your brand personality, your tone of voice and the type of language you use. We’ll create a set of core brand values and a clear written and visual rationale for your brand.
This is where we put everything together to create the look and feel of your brand. It may involve working with creative agencies to design the identity for your brand; its logo, colours, photography and illustration style. This brand identity will embody your organisation’s personality. It must engage and appeal to your target audiences and stakeholders, who will need to be involved and consulted in the brand-creation process. We often create a ‘brand book’ at this stage, which sets out the ethos and principles of your organisation, the thinking behind your brand and the identity, personality and behaviour that underpin it.
At last, it’s time to unveil your brand to the world. This includes launching it internally to staff, and to the world at large. We work with you to create a package of assets for the launch, including a social media strategy and media relations campaign to bring your brand to life with a bang. We’ll help you to create any new collateral you need, such as stationary or signage, so that your new brand is reflected consistently across the business and creates maximum impact.
But of course, reaching the launch stage is only the beginning. It’s then time to bring your brand to life through the way that you interact with your customers, by starting to build customer loyalty in your brand and by continuing to tell stories that authentically communicate your brand essence.