Table of Contents of this Article:
Branding is a Disciplined Process
The goal of branding is to discover, articulate and present your organization’s personality—its resources, expertise, modus operandi, style and aspirations. The process requires many stages—all enlivened by our passion to help you enunciate and market your organization’s unique strengths and identity.
Each step of the way, we use information, interviews, analysis, experience, instinct and intuition.
First, we audit (collect, catalogue and critically review) all of your existing materials and those of your competitors. We are looking for any tangible and intangible evidence to evaluate current marketing communications efforts, among them:
- key messages—how your organization and your competitors have chosen to “sell” yourselves to date,
- overall quality of the marketing materials—strength (or weakness) of the creative approach, quality of copywriting and imaging, richness of production values, etc.,
- obvious inconsistencies in the presentation of service and product offerings and the marketing message,
- completeness of substantive information (is the message convincing?).
If you have access, we like to draw on proprietary or syndicated research in the markets where you have offices or interests. At this point we often conduct primary research for many clients. However, if original research promises to delay the process unduly or is beyond the budget, our deep experience in the services marketplace and our knowledge of buyer values gives us an excellent starting point to evaluate your current market position. We’ll know what resonates as accurate or what seems fishy in the results.
Trust but Verify
The next step is, in many ways, the springboard for all else to come. We need to learn about your organization’s real personality—the individuals, history and soul that drive its work and culture. So we interview your most important assets—your ruling body, rainmakers, culture bearers and rising leaders who will move you into the future.
We also interview clients to better understand their needs and competitive perceptions. Client interviews are often a reality check on your organization’s self-perceptions. The result of both the audit and the internal and external interviews is a brand platform—a single page brief with the brand promise reduced to a single sentence.
This is without question the most important document in the branding process. It is the distillation of all that we have heard and learned about the organization. It will guide our work throughout the branding process and be used again and again as a touchstone for the evolving creative.
Redesign and Realign
With a clear brief in hand that has been approved by you, we use our creative tool kit to solve marketing problems or align your organization’s messaging with opportunities in the marketplace. We might create a new logo or Web site or develop brochures, advertising and other materials. Depending on the situation, we do these projects one at a time or simultaneously.
Once the brand is established, the effort is far from over. Planning the next year’s campaign comes close on the heels of the first. Expanded advertising, customized sections of your Web site and initiatives that support individual services all strengthen and extend the brand. We anticipate a continued relationship—one that helps your organization move to a broader market position, deepens the awareness of your organization among your clients and prospects and charges enthusiasm among your members.
Once again, we’re your branding partners—from Day One. We’ve gotten to know you and are invested in your future.