+The Branding Process

Following on from our last branding article, you should now hopefully understand that a brand is so much more than a logo – it’s an embodiment of all the different attributes that belong to a product or a service brand and these attributes can be tangible, intangible, functional or emotional. The logo and brand identity are then the external visualisation of these attributes and play an equally important part of presenting your brand to the public.

The importance of defining your brand shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, if you were looking to float or sell your company, brand equity is a big contributing factor to the value of your business as a whole. We’re therefore constantly surprised by how many companies simply want to churn out a new logo without any consideration of what it means, what they’re trying to say or who they’re trying to say it to.

That’s why our approach to branding is not just about creating a great logo, it’s about stripping everything back to the core of what the business is trying to achieve and then creating a strong brand to deliver on those objectives.

There are 10 building blocks that Chalk & Ward can offer to help build a strong brand. It’s not always necessary to carry out each one and they can be iterative but they are all important:

Brand and business strategy

What does your brand need to deliver for you?  Your brand is part and parcel of your business so it makes sense that in order for your brand to succeed you need to be clear about your business objectives and where you want your brand to take you.  We therefore need to understand the objectives, target audience, market, competition, growth plans, budget, etc.

Brand insight / market research

Do you know what your customers and stakeholders think about your brand?  Or do you know why people don’t already buy into it?  Market research, whether it’s an in-depth qualitative approach or a focus on statistic quantitative data, can help answer questions and remove the unknown risk factor from further branding work.

Brand positioning – Core Values

What does your brand stand for?  A brand needs to be relevant to your target audience, different from competition and above all, deliverable. Our proprietary Core Values workshop explores all these areas and helps you define the 2-3 values that are fundamental to your business, giving you a clear focus and consistency of message.

Brand naming

Are you launching a new product or does your existing brand need a new name? Does it reflect your values and communicate your benefits?  Name generation needs to take into account the competitive marketplace, domain availability and international variables if necessary.

Brand architecture

How does your brand sit within a larger group brand?  A brand needs to have a clear identity but at the same time look like it’s part of a family. In other situations, a new sub-brand might be required to stop a brand cannibalising on other products.  We can help create clarity from confusion.

Brand image and visual identity

How is your brand represented in the marketplace?  We create logos that are impactful but also designed from a strategic start-point so they reflect the Core Values.  The logo is then brought to life in an overall visual identity including colour palette, fonts, graphics, images and tone of voice.

Brand design and collateral implementation

Do you have consistent branding across all of your collateral material and are you proud of it?  Whether you have a new brand logo or not, it’s essential that all of your collateral presents a unified message.  We can help design websites, stationery, brochures, exhibition stands, livery, signage, promotional materials and uniforms to name but a few.

Brand marketing and promotion

Is your brand being communicated to the right people in the right locations and in the right mediums?  Do you have a strategy and budget in place for on-going marketing and do you know if you’re getting good ROI?  We have created Marketing and Advertising plans for dozens of clients, utilising our expertise and media buying power to build campaigns that work.

Brand PR and amplification

Are people aware of your brand in the marketplace? PR is a powerful brand awareness tool and helps build credibility and authority for your brand.  It’s not about generating quick sales but rather building a visible presence over time, whether that’s in traditional media or online content amplification.

Brand reputation management

Do you know what people are saying about you?  When you’ve got all the blocks in place and have built your brand engagement, it’s essential to maintain that reputation.  There are now so many avenues for people to be talking about your brand and it’s great to keep the conversation going – whether it’s responding to negative feedback and turning that ‘Ow’ into a ‘Wow’ or thanking people for positive reviews and then of course sharing them on your own network!

The importance of the branding process shouldn’t be undervalued.  After all, we’re talking about your company’s biggest asset and if it’s not understood fully or being managed properly, we have to ask the question – is your brand really fulfilling its potential?

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