What are the steps to creating a brand?
A brand is your company’s reputation.
When you want to build a brand, the most important things are to know your customers and to create a strategy to help them solve a problem.
Having a strong brand means customers will trust your business, come back and even refer their friends – the perfect outcome for any business!
Today we will look at the step by step process we use to create a brand from scratch or change direction for an existing business.
- Working with a designer
- The enquiry
- Getting to know each other
- Proposal and starting a project
- Discovery day
- Research meeting – creating a strategy
- Design concepts & message
- Iterations & testing
- Support and brand building
Working with a designer
Branding is a service industry but it has more in common with personal training than with serving food at a restaurant. That is to say that even though our end goal is to provide finished designs, our road there is more consultation than taking orders. Having a clear process means everyone involved feels comfortable and can focus on the vision we are creating together. If we do that, we will end up with a brand you can’t wait to shout from the roof tops.
For many of the people who approach us, it is their first time creating a brand and their mission is really important to the company. This is why it is extra important that our design process is easy to follow but doesn’t skimp on the research and results. We will take you through each step of our design process and look at why we think this is the best approach.
When you first reach out to us, we love to hear all about your story and why you would like to build a brand or rebrand your business. The more information we get from you, the better we can understand if we are the right fit and how we can help you reach your goals. We will quickly get in touch so we can plan our first meeting.
Getting to know each other
This first meeting is an opportunity for you to ask any questions about us and how we work. It is also a chance for us to understand your goals with the project. This will help us create an accurate quote and proposal moving forward.
Proposal and starting a project
Before we get started, we will take the information you have provided and create a proposal that explains how we think we can best approach the new brand. This will include examples of our past work, a timeline and a clear budget for the project. We have decided to charge a fixed price rather than by the hour for two main reasons. First of all, we want you to feel comfortable knowing the price in advance. Secondly, we want to make sure the focus is on delivering a quality brand and not on the hours spent. However, the timeline included will give you a clear indication of how long the project will take so you can plan ahead.
If you are happy with the proposal, you can let us know and we will send over a design agreement and an invoice for the first 50%. The design agreement contains a few key facts that outline questions about copyright, the project scope and our roles in the project. Once we have all signed the agreement and the invoice is paid, we can get started!
It’s kick off time! The discussions we have on the day will form the basis for our research so it is really important that anyone making decisions is present. We will start off by looking at your business now and why you decided to create a new brand. If you are a new company, this time will mainly be focusing on why you started the company. By understanding your vision for the next 5, 10 and 20 years, we can make sure the strategy we create will last. Once we know your “why”, we will start to look at your known competitors and the customers you want to attract. Are these the same customers you have always approached or are you looking to find a new type of customer? If you have done any market research or have analytics from your website or social media, we might ask you to share it with us so we can help you create a more tailored strategy. All the information you disclose is confidential.
Research meeting – creating a strategy
Depending on your business requirements, we might conduct market research, in person interviews, or focus groups. This will help us understand how customers see you and your competitors and what their likes and pain points are like. Focus groups are particularly helpful if you feel unsure of how customers feel about your brand before we look at changing anything. Our market research includes reading scientific papers, government reports and customer feedback on review sites and social media. All this information will give us a clear image of the opportunities and where your company can find their ideal place in the market. As part of this, we will also look at how your competitors describe their products and services and how you can stand apart. To help you connect more with your customers, we will also create personas. Personas are detailed descriptions of your ideal customer including basic facts such as age but also their favorite brands, social media habits and a backstory.
In the research meeting, we will present our findings to you and we use this as a foundation to discuss your strategy moving forward. After the meeting, you will receive a report with a summary of our discussions and all of our research findings and sources. This document is perfect for when you are looking for investment or as a way to guide the company in the future.
Design concepts and message
On to creative! We now have a clear strategy and understand your customers and competitors. From this, we will show you several design concepts for your visual language. Your visual language includes everything from your logo to photography styles, colours and your approach to social media. In essence, any time a potential customer interact with your brand online or in person, we want them to understand what you stand for and to have the same experience every time.
Another important part of this consistent positive experience is your message. This is your tone of voice in any text you have on your website, slogan or blogposts to name a few. For some companies, a relaxed friendly tone might work best while some companies need a more serious and trust worthy tone. A key part of the messaging is to come up with value propositions. These are single sentences that describe why a customer would want to buy from you. Since our research included learning about customer frustrations and likes, we can be confident that the value propositions we create will resonate with your ideal customer.
At the meeting, you decide which of the concepts you think will work best for your business.
Iterations & testing
If anything needs tweaking from the concept you chose we will make the changes and present the new designs for you to approve. It is very important to us that you feel confident and excited about your new brand since you will be the ones promoting and using it.
If you would like to test two different options against each other, we can help you set up a focus group or conduct online interviews with potential customers.
You have approved the finished designs and it is time to start using them. We will prepare all the files for use in print, your website and social media as well as create a brand guide for your new brand. The brand guide contains your mission, instructions for how to best use the logo and other brand assets and a way to get in touch with us if you have any questions. If you have employees or if you work with other creatives in the future such as a web developer, you can hand them the guide and they will make sure the brand is implemented in the way you want it to be. We typically send all files electronically but if you prefer, we can also provide the files on a hard drive.
Support and brand building
Building a brand only begins with creating the strategy and visuals. To truly connect with your customers you need to use the brand consistently in your marketing and any customer interactions. We love to help you with day to day operations such as running your social media, creating sustainable print material and design and send out newsletters. If you feel a little overwhelmed with building up the awareness of your brand, we can help you. We offer both one-off projects and monthly retainers so you can find a strategy that works best for the stage of your business.