If you’re a player in the B2B arena, you know how important first impressions are to your prospects. Your brand communicates exactly who you are and what you’re about, which is why it’s a good idea to spend some time assessing what exactly your online “hello” looks like to the outside world. Perhaps you’re a new business launching into the marketplace creating a from-scratch identity - or - your business is due for a refreshed brand strategy to better align with your company's growth. Today, we’re breaking down the steps we take during the branding process as a creative digital agency from conception to launch.
Charting Your Course to Your Dream Brand
The first step will be based on your current business position. If a new business name is needed, you are definitely going to need a new logo as well. If your name is established, we can design a refreshed logo based on your ideas. The initial way we gather your ideas is through an online questionnaire where you can note any requirements, preferences, or specifics that are important to you and your new brand. We will then schedule a Brand Development Workshop where we discuss your answers in depth.
Brand Development Workshop
During this collaborative experience, our Creative team will come to the workshop having versed themselves on your business and history. Together, we will walk through the answers to your questionnaire and dig deeper by asking thoughtful next-level questions that help you to think critically about your wants and needs. The bulk of the conversation will be pertaining to voice. Although most people think of the visual entities that make up the brand, the tone, and voice that you employ play a critical role in how your business is perceived by your customers and prospects. Some of the questions that we use during this time to provoke this self-discovery include:
- What is your brand’s key message or mission statement? (If you don’t currently have a mission statement, we’ll instead look towards your business goals as a starting point.)
- What are your brand’s attributes? (This can include business personality, buzzwords, and remarkables.)
- How would you describe your brand to a friend?
- What is your brand’s target audience?
After assessing your brand voice, we will talk about other brands or businesses that you draw inspiration from. This helps us to gain an understanding of factors that are important to you, as well as what you find visually appealing. At this time, we will also discuss any of your imagery or color preferences. To close out the workshop, we will work together to complete the ‘Brand Archetype Survey’. This survey captures the characteristics and personality of your brand, and sets the overall tone for the mood and underlying messaging our Creative team will incorporate into your brand imagery.
The internal brainstorming process is by far one of the most crucial steps in the branding process. Because we have members with various backgrounds, we meet as a team to work through the aspects of your brand and put our heads together to deliver the best possible strategic recommendations. This allows us to cover all bases and ensure there isn’t a possibility that is being overlooked.
From there, we begin by creating multiple first-round drafts of logo concepts. Our ideas come from your feedback, questionnaires, and the archetype survey you’ve previously completed. We often take advantage of using mood boards to explore visual elements, and idea maps of words and symbols that are related to the archetype choices that we want to be sure to include. We call this process our “idea dump”, where we explore all directions, then weed out the no-gos to create winning ideas for initial logo imagery, where the fine details will be added later. This is also the time where we will pull first-round colors and typeface choices that represent your brand.
First Round Presentation
After we’ve completed the first drafts of your new branding, we will present these ideas to you for further feedback and direction. This is the time where you can voice your opinions to help us further evolve your logo and narrow down ideas. Depending on your preferences, the logo may be presented in black and white, with the typeface and colors saved for a later date, to ensure the focus is kept on the visual design and to not overwhelm you with an abundance of variations to consider.
Create Brand Voice Document
If you haven’t read our blog “Discovering Your Brand Voice”, we highly recommend giving it a read to learn more about brand voice and why it is such a distinguishing feature for any business. Once our team reaches this point, we will create a Brand Voice Document to keep the voice consistent in future messaging and overall presence. While it may not seem like voice and design choice have a lot in common, they very frequently play off of each other and contribute to the entirety of the brand experience. This document is formed through research and information provided by the client, along with our team’s expertise on communicating with your ideal buyer personas.
Present Revised Concepts
We’re getting closer to your finalized branding! In our second round of logo revisions, we present 2-3 solid logo variations that we have worked together on. These logos are extremely close to being finished, if not finished. Final notes and revisions are made to deliver the final product. This is also where color choices and typefaces are presented, and finalized after feedback. You’ll have almost the full picture of your brand’s imagery at this point and we’ll refine everything before we hand it over to you for implementation.
Brand Standards + Guide
We’ve reached the finish line! Our job wouldn’t be complete if we only delivered you a logo. The holistic brand experience is so much more than a logo. This is where your brand guidelines and standards will come in. Typically, your brand standards and guides will include your mission statement, your brand voice overview, your final logo, any logo variations you might need, logo usage rules, brand colors, typefaces, symbols or graphic elements, and imagery examples. If you need further clarification about what any of these inclusions are, we’ve got you covered in our blog on brand guidelines.
These brand guidelines will be the foundation of your future design work, such as website designs or printed products. Your internal design team, potential vendors, or marketing partners will need and request these materials to carry out projects on your behalf. Having these aspects of your brand packaged up in one place and in an easy-to-use format will save you from many headaches in the future.
Takeaways + Closing
While branding is important to the overall feel of your company, branding also plays a large role in aiding in your sales process. Your brand guidelines will play a vital role in attracting the right targets, providing them with knowledge about your brand and how it will interact with them, and aligning your sales and marketing teams within your company for a cohesive interaction. For more on how sales and branding overlap, check out this article.
The branding process is one of the most exciting parts of developing and evolving your business. But we know this process can also be daunting for many business owners. When you partner with a creative agency, we’re able to take your ideas and transform them into a beautiful visual experience. This experience will be the first impression your audience has with your company, and you want it to be lasting, positive, and representative of what your business provides.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your branding project, we invite you to book a free branding assessment with us. This will allow us the opportunity to get to know your business along with allowing for high-level conversations about what you’re looking for and where we will support you. Whether you need us to take the driver’s seat or read the map from the passenger’s seat in your journey, we’ve got you covered.