Branding will never go out of style. It’s a necessity for just about everything from the bagels you eat in the morning, the car you drive to work, the company you work for, and even you, yourself. Sure you may not have a logo for your personal self, but you have truth, values and a personality, all of which you need to create and have a brand.
According to the great Seth Godin, “BRAND is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
As a marketing agency, Willow offers a truly personal touch to identifying and creating a brand for our clients. We have a tested and true branding process – one that dives deep into the internal and external perceptions and uses a mix of data, art, and science.
Our branding process follows three distinct phases. Three. The simplest and strongest shape in nature is made out of three sides, the triangle. Ipso facto, we have the simplest and strongest branding process in nature. That’s a big deal. Sasquatch has got nothing on us!
Now we’re going to give you a little sneak peek into our three phases, but (spoiler alert) we aren’t going to divulge everything, because, ya know, Sasquatch could be reading this right now.
Discovering The Truth
The first phase is all about finding what makes you who you are (who you believe you are and who your customers/members believe you are). It’s all about discovery, just like it sounds.
We spend time with your team and stakeholders, asking all the dumb questions and all the extremely smart questions. We perform research (via surveys or in-depth interviews) with your internal team to help us gain an internal perspective.
We review your recent marketing and communications materials (print, digital, media, etc) and research your top competitors and/or peer organizations to see how you stack up and where the opportunities for positioning your brand lie. We map out goals and objectives, measure timelines, and check off some boxes, all to figure out your truth as a brand.
Phase 1 – All about listening and learning
Distilling Brand Meaning
The second phase involves a distillery and a half-day on Friday… just kidding. Wouldn’t that be great though?
In reality, the second stage focuses on taking what we learned in the Discovery phase and verifying it. We spend our time talking to your customers/members via in-depth interviews, surveys, focus groups, on-site event observations, etc.. Research is critical to what we do – it ensures we don’t just take your word for who your brand is, but we listen to the people who use/need your brand as well.
With this information, we can formulate our observations of the brand gap – how you see yourselves vs how your customers perceive you. We utilize several handy tools to document and share this information, including the 4 Dimensions of a Brand, based on Thomas Gad’s 4-D Branding, Brand Code, and Brand Archetype.
Phase 2 – All about verifying and processing
Designing the Brand
This phase is what most sasquatches think of when it comes to branding. It is the easiest to identify with as it leads to the end result, a logo. But guess what, your logo/brand won’t say anything truly meaningful about you or your company if the first two phases are neglected.
Having the information that we’ve gained from the Discovery and Distilling phases allows us to create a visual AND verbal brand that aligns with who your brand really is. There’s a reason that we chose the colors, the fonts, the imagery, and the words that we do – because they all align with what fits.
Our branding process always includes delivery of a comprehensive brand standards guide that shares the meaning behind the brand as well as the verbal and visual representation standards.
Phase 3 – All about bringing it all to life
These three phases highlight the process we utilize when developing a brand for a client. Although, it is worth noting that your brand is more than just a logo. A logo is a visual representation and a first taste of your company, whereas your brand is an emotion, a feeling, a personality. We’re the experts on all of this so please, if you have questions, reach out (even you, Sasquatch).