How We Build a Brand
Your brand is a living and ever changing part of your business. It needs to be both a core element of your business’s identity, while remaining agile enough to adapt to changes in culture, communication, and tastes. Building a brand or rebranding with an agency can be a complicated process, but we’ve built a process that provides guidance and collaboration along the way.
There are many reasons why you might look to brand or rebrand your business. Some of these include:
- Company creation, the launch of a new business
- Repositioning your existing business to better compete in the marketplace
- A merger of two businesses
- A change in direction or overall strategy
- The launch of a new service line
“77 percent of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth” – Circle Research
Our Branding Process Defined
Our branding process begins with a core goal: we want to understand your business as your key stakeholders do. You can expect us to ask a lot of questions at this stage, and we’ll likely have you fill out forms with details which can help to inform our questions. We’ll be looking to understand your industry, your services, your culture, story, and history. We want to get to know your audience, your competitors and what you believe makes your business unique.
At this stage of the process, we want to gain an understanding of what it is your business really does. After all Coca-Cola isn’t really in the soft drinks business, it’s in the business of delivering happiness. Apple doesn’t only make computers, they’re in the business of facilitating digital lifestyles. It’s these types of insights we’re looking to gain during discovery. In fact, we’re looking for the overarching theme in how you deliver your products and services. We do this to determine the real value proposition in what you do. This is a pivotal point in crafting a brand for your business that is simple, relevant, distinct, memorable, versatile and timeless.
Now that we know the message we want to convey about the business you are really in, we begin looking at how we’d like you to present that message to your target audience.
If naming your brand is part of the branding project, our creative team will begin with a series of brand naming exercises. We’ll explore the different types of brand names that might be applicable to meet your business goals and objectives, and once we’ve debated the pro’s and con’s of each as a team we’ll present a short-list of three suggested names to you. Each name will have a series of associated attributes which align with your brand’s overall positioning.
Once your brand name is chosen, we will then begin to explore your messaging in-depth. We develop your messaging platform based on the strategy, which outlines your brand pillars, differentiators, and value proposition through a kit of verbal branding tools. In doing this we research your market, your competitors and gain an understanding of your customers through the development of buyer personas. Once we know who we’re talking to and how to help you differentiate yourself we’re in a position to begin determining how we’ll talk to your audience.
This is where our proven branding process differs from our competitors. As part of developing the messaging platform for our clients, our strategists actually create three aligned, yet equally different messaging directions. While the messaging itself will be similar in terms of attributes or slogans between each direction, a HVAC and Home Automation company for example might have three viable options our design team can explore in terms of visual identity. For example: a smarter home (a focus on good technology), a clean and simple minimalistic feel (industry on-trend), and value in comfort (focus on the customer experience).
With the messaging platforms in place, our design team begins designing a stylescape for each of the three concepts. During this stage, we also design multiple logos. A stylescape is an unorthodox expression of your brand so that we can build a universally applicable identity. Through this branding process, we’re exploring identity in terms of how your brand might look and feel no matter what it touches. We believe this holistic approach to defining a brand builds an overall verbal and visual identity that is the sum of its components, rather than being driven by any one component itself (such as the logo).
A stylescape is a collection of brand assets – colors, typography, images, language tone, design elements, etc. – combined together to provide an overall visual aesthetic of a brand. Stylescapes help to fully engage the client into the brand design process before developing more concrete mockups of the identity. – FlowState Branding, What are Stylescapes?
When we present the stylescapes, we encourage in-depth collaboration from our clients. This feedback allows us to hone in on aspects of the stylescape designs which are then refined to form the basis of the brand’s visual aesthetic.
With the above-outlined elements in place, we finalize the mark and can move into designing and delivering assets such as business cards, presentation templates, and brand guidelines. These files alongside marks and fonts are provided to clients in the various formats required for use in printing and web design. We also provide Brand Guidelines (both messaging and design) for our clients’ on-going reference in conveying their brand. You now have all of the tools you need to present and market your brand and engage with your audience!
Collaboration Is Key
As you can see, branding or rebranding your business is a detailed process and one that requires heavy collaboration from our clients. In fact, this process is built heavily upon the proper amount of collaboration; it’s eliciting the right amount of collaboration at the right times of the process, so that our team receives the input we need while maintaining an efficient workflow.
As a hybrid creative and branding agency working across physical, web design and development and brand messaging and identity creation we’re well versed in crafting brands which thrive. However, we owe a lot to the processes our teams have built, our processes which allow us to creatively deliver solutions, and a deep commitment to collaboration with our clients that helps to unleash their potential.
We take the time, effort and care to create distinct, memorable, flexible and scalable brands that will grow with your business and its needs. FlowState Marketing can help you to create a brand with real impact. Start the conversation about working with us today.
First published on 05/07/2019 – updated on 02/10/2020