Building Your “Brand”

Building Your “Brand”

Brand

“Brand” is expressed by much more than the name and graphics on a letterhead. Your brand is the distillation of the collective mission, goals and values of your organization, its products, its people and all the promise that they represent. The brand is a reflection of the beliefs, the experience and the expectations shared by every stakeholder, from the executive management to employees and customers. “Brand” takes the corporation from being a “what” to being a “who”.

Development

Brand development is a multi-layered process. It starts with the essential mission and vision of your organization,then it builds on the business philosophies, positioning, operations and culture that empower you to achieve your goals. When the essence of these elements is distilled to allow its expression in all forms of communication, your brand identity is defined.

Expression

Your brand character is a living work. The brand flourishes when the traits captured in your graphic identity are equally expressed throughout the culture and communications of the organization. As your mission finds expression in evolving products and services, the brand also evolves into greater definition and richness while it remains true to the core values that make the organization strong. Properly nurtured, it can become your proudest asset.

Process

Our process is based on 10 basic steps marked by three major milestones marking the way to exploration, development and application of your branding program.

The first phase, exploration, consists of extensive questioning and dialogue as we identify your various stakeholders and gather their insights into the nature of your organization. In the development phase, we begin to define your brand character by generating and critiquing alternative expressions of it in a collaborative forum. The final application phase ensures that your branding program gets a strong launch with the essential images and guidelines for effective brand communications.

Exploration

At Marketing Strategies & Solutions, we believe that brand development is a process of discovery more than an exercise in design. Our approach is to facilitate the organization’s own exploration and definition of its true character and values. We encourage a widely inclusive, collaborative process that strives to shed light on every facet of the organization from every angle. In the end, the brand emerges as a shared creation that reflects every stakeholder, recognized and embraced by all.

 

Brand Development Process

A. Exploration

1. Initial briefing

· Review organizational history

· Examine motivation for change

· Identify goals, opportunities and decision-makers

2. Stakeholders review

· Segment the internal and external audiences

· Define the roles and record of each group

· Compare perceptions and realities of organizational values

3. Debrief and strategic input

· Initial report to summarize findings

· “SWOT”: Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

· Confi rm strategic goals

4. Creative input session

· Critical review of the initial report

· Facilitate a collaborative exploration of desired brand values and corporate image

· Consensus on broad direction for brand character

 

B. Development

5. Initial branding proposals

a) Summarize direction for brand character

b) Conceptual short-list

· Develop and review alternative brand expressions

· Names, logos, wordmarks, taglines, “legends”

6. Selection, final direction

· Identify preferred proposals

– stakeholders’ review

· Provide direction for refinement

7. Render final concept for approval

· Revise and refine as required

 

C. Application

8. Develop applications guide

· Formalize the brand “legend” or thumbnail story

· Keywords and phrases in the brand character

· Finished art for logo, wordmark and related elements

· Typography and “proper use” guidelines

9. Primary applications

· Finished art for letterhead, envelopes, business cards

· Additional templates, as needed

10. Launch program

· Introduction to primary stakeholders

· Introduction to media and public