While every branding project is different, the process we follow is the same. There are 5 stages:
Stage 1: Consultation and review
The aim of the first stage of the project is to get a really clear idea of what is needed. To do this we need to understand more about your business and your audience, so we take some time to talk to people in your business and, usually, some of your customers too. This stage is really important because what we learn here forms the foundation for all the creative work that follows. Everything we learn is put in to a project brief, which we write and then give to you for approval. The aim of the brief is to give everyone involved in the project a single point of reference about what was agreed, right at the beginning. That way we can avoid any surprises or confusion. When you’re happy with the Project Brief we can move on to Stage 2.
Stage 2: Brand creation
At this stage we will begin to design the tools you need to communicate. At the heart of this is (usually) the creation of visual identity. For us a visual identity should be made up of 6 things: logo, typeface, colour, imagery, tone of voice and design style. We will create a few design options for these, showing the development of the visual identity and the application of it to some sample material. This could be stationery, some printed literature or a website home page. These will be presented to you, so you can ask any questions you might have, and we can talk you through what we’ve done and why we’ve done it. When the chosen option has been approved we move on to Stage 3.
Stage 3: Brand application
This is the stage where we take the ideas we showed you at Stage 2 and turn them into the finished thing. So that could involve creating complete layouts for a brochure, with all the copy and images in place. Then, after you’ve had a look at it, making any amendments and creating print-ready artwork. It might involve building a new website, or updating an existing one, with a new visual identity. Or it could be supplying a new logo in various file formats, so that you can use it in print, in Word or online. Depending on the scope of your project, it might include putting your identity onto vehicles, signs and uniforms. It’s the stage where your brand goes from being a collection of ideas, to a range of material that you can pick up, look at, or even wear.
Stage 4: Brand launch
With the visual identity successfully applied to all the relevant material it’s time to put your brand to work. There can be two parts to the launch process: an internal launch, within your company, and an external launch to everyone outside your company. The internal launch is really important. It’s the opportunity to help everyone within your company understand what the brand means to them and their day-to-day activity. If your team don’t ‘get it’, no-one outside the business will, so getting this bit right is really important. Your external launch is the opportunity to grab the attention of the people you want to talk to. You might do this with a marketing campaign, some kind of event or coverage in the press. Whatever you choose, it’s the opportunity to start telling your audience your story.
Now, I’ll be honest, some people stop here. They want to look after the next stage themselves, and there are many reasons why they do that. But others don’t have the time or the experience to take that step and ask us to help them out. So this is what we do…
Stage 5: Brand Management
Creating your brand is one thing, but having a plan about how to make it work for you is just as important. If you haven’t got a plan, if you’re not managing your brand, all you have is a shiny new logo (or website, or brochure), and you’re wasting all the time, energy and money you invested in creating your brand. Brand management is about creating a strategy for using your brand. That means looking for opportunities to use your brand to engage with your customers. And this isn’t just about direct mail or a newsletter. It’s about looking at every opportunity you have to engage with your customers: through your staff, a visit to your premises or the experience of using your product or service. Your brand is a great tool for starting a relationship with your customers. Brand management is all about maintaining those relationships.