There’s often confusion about what Branding actually is. The term is used incorrectly in reference to logo design and Corporate Identity, but a Branding project is more strategic and takes in both of these other elements.

Branding projects are larger, more complex and take time. They should start at the very foundation of your business and build from there.

This is not just about the creativity, that’s covered by Logo Design and Corporate Identity.

Do you need branding?

If you are starting up a new company, repositioning an existing one or launching a new product or service, you may well need a full branding project.

Branding projects start from the very core of your offering which includes:

  1. Brand Strategy
  2. Brand Positioning
  3. Market research
  4. Naming
  5. Tag Line
  6. Logo Design
  7. Corporate Identity (fonts, colours etc)

If you already have points 1-5 sorted, it’s more likely you need a logo design or corporate identity as the next steps.

If you don’t have any of these, then we’re talking branding.

Brand strategy and positioning.

A brand strategy and positioning is a plan of how you are going to achieve your goals.

This will include things like your Mission, Vision and Values, brand promise and a top-level plan of how all this is going to be communicated.

This is strategic, not visual. A brand strategy is not what your logo and website look like, it’s what they say, what they convey and what they sound and look like.

A good brand strategy sets out how the world is going to find out about your product or service, what its purpose is and what makes it tick.

These are generally written statements and questions like these are not answered with visual solutions.

Amongst other things, you’ll need to define:

  • Your objectives and how they should be communicated
  • Target markets
  • The competition
  • How to engage with your market

These are strategic questions that need to be researched and answered before any creative brief is written.

Market research.

Boardroom guess-making is not the way to inform decisions.

Branding requires market research to provide data that allows you to make the right choices.

Brands that don’t research and fully understand their marketplace often make the wrong choices.

Disruptive brands are all-to-often not that at all, challenger brands can also end up as me-too offerings.

Tempering the ambition and passion for your new venture with a healthy dose of market research means you can benchmark your product or service objectively rather than subjectively.

Someone needs to do the research.

Naming & Tag line.

Never dive into the naming without the strategy and research.

Naming a business, product or service is a subjective and challenging task, and without the aforementioned stages, it’s guesswork at best.

Getting the naming stage wrong can lead to costly changes further down the line.

Things that might not have seemed possible in the early days may become possibilities further down the line, and if your naming is not right, it can cause issues.

Take the example of an up-and-coming UK-based brand that suddenly discovers a huge opportunity in the USA, only to find that the company name is already in use and/or trademarked in the USA.

What do you sacrifice? The equity in the UK brand you’ve already built or the opportunity for a huge new market?

This is why naming should never be knee-jerk.

Your tagline is equally important and should be subject to the same research and due diligence.

That will do is never something that should be said during a naming or tagline discussion.

How we can help.

This is all about investment.

If you are a startup on a shoestring budget, you will probably have completed a lot of this work yourselves, so in these instances, we can act as a sounding board and sense-checker.

If you do have the budget available, it’s worth investing it in the appropriate services to get things right.

Branding projects are usually a mixture of in-house work and third-party expertise (market research), so it’s about time and expenses.

We never embark on branding projects lightly, so the first stage is a conversation to establish:

  • If we are the right size of agency for your project
  • If the chemistry is there
  • Whether we can meet your expectations
  • Can we deliver on your objectives

To be completely honest, we say no to more branding projects than we take on, but this is often down to expectations massively outstripping budgets.

We also find that a lot of clients ask about Branding, but really need a logo design and Corporate Identity, so we can steer you in the right direction if this is the case.

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