In this branding case study, we share our journey with Amber Manzer as she finishes her first novel, Ember in Shadows, and we imagine her growing book empire.
It can feel tricky to find a good fit between what works to grab attention today and staying authentic to your business’s identity and values. Platforms, opportunities, and marketing tactics shift so quickly that business leaders like you rely on data to guide growth. However, in the struggle to “follow the data” and keep up with the rate of change, many organizations fail to communicate a clear, consistent message and meaningful marketing with others.
In time, this lack of clarity becomes a huge challenge to sales because customers fail to connect a reason to buy with value. Without perceiving value relevance, customers will always choose cheaper options. If you want to avoid this commodity curse you must connect with your customers on a deeper level .
Every project begins with My Power Story where we develop your story to grab your customers’ attention. Our unique brand sprint process quickly develops a picture of your unique business, positioning, and customers. Results are presented in the Action Report, which details areas to focus and develop.
Next, through Creative Alignment, we engage competitive research and analysis, customer experience research, archetype positioning, and trend analysis to take your story to the next level, reverse-engineering the perfect pictures, colors and style your ideal customer is drawn to.
In Behavioral Branding, we establish brand systems used consistently across all media. Behavioral Branding builds on insights from every prior step to build websites, packaging, experiences, and digital marketing to get you more connections, leads, sales, and profit.
Surprises are great—if they’re parties!
When it comes to business projects, a predictable process wins.
Our goal is to make your business the most sought-after solution in your industry.
This three-step process ditches complexity and gets us there, FAST.
Typical projects from $2,500 to $30,000.
Discover your BRAND PURPOSE in a sprint framework where we explore the nooks and crannies of your business. We'll unpack your goals, ideal audience, action priorities, archetypes, positioning and more. Next, receive a custom report which specifically states next steps to connect with customers.
Align the pictures, colors, type and symbols meaningful to your specific audience with your business needs in BRAND CONNECT. As your brand partner, we'll conduct research, explore insights, and develop mood boards, avatars, archetypes, and brandscapes. This is the art of reverse-engineering brand influence; setting you on the path for alignment, attraction and connection.
Create impact with your BRAND EXPRESSION and start tracking your way to growth. Behavioral Branding is perfect for any business who wants consistency to successfully launch a brand that attracts and converts an audience into leads and sales.
In this branding case study, we share our journey with Amber Manzer as she finishes her first novel, Ember in Shadows, and we imagine her growing book empire.
The owner of The Kraken’s Cup, Vallie Cross, had a very clear idea of what her brand’s identity should look and feel like.
BarTender needed to break free from the commodity software curse. This is a case study about the updated BarTender brand identity.
The Veteran Team is a real estate team specializing in housing for active and former military personnel and their families. Guided by Dustin Comey, a proud United States Marine Combat Veteran, this Washington state RE/MAX Town Center team has helped hundreds of families fulfill their real estate dreams in King and Snohomish counties for over ten years. However, looking at his dated logo, Comey felt that this symbol didn’t represent everything he wanted to convey to his special audience. The Veteran Team’s new visual identity succeeds by incorporating everything Comey wanted in a unified and powerful symbol.
Charles is an experienced sailor, shipwright, and retired commercial photographer, while Margaret is a novice sailor, afraid of deep and murky water, and not a great swimmer. Charles and Margaret plan to sail south from Seattle, down the Pacific Coast to Mexico, and then into the South Pacific before charting the next leg of their sailing lives.
Like many business start-ups, Dr. Logan hired a cheap designer to create a logo for her brand. Dr. Logan felt the design concept was beautiful in presentation, but lacked finesse and structure to be effective in real-world conditions. Dr. Logan approached Think Tank Creative to update brand strategy and identity for growth.
For many business owners the emotional and psychological toll of life can feel overwhelming. Feelings of anxiety or depression are common.
Inside of our brains there’s a bunch of old, bad, and conflicting programming that can lead to unhelpful and self-destructive behaviors.
It’s time to fix this so you gain focus, clarity, and confidence in every situation.
Brand coaching sessions feature Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT). RTT combines principles from hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT, psychotherapy, and neuroscience to create a uniquely powerful therapy. RTT therapy helps clients overcome past hurts that are impacting present lives by working with the subconscious mind.
Brand coaching sessions also feature Magnetic Mind coaching tools, which harness the power of imagination to dramatically influence the mind and body.
Recognized as an accomplished creative, with multiple awards over 25+ years in Design, Jeremy Tank graduated from New School for the Arts high school (1997), the Art Institute of Phoenix (BFA – 2000), and Full Sail University (MFA – 2017). In all three, Jeremy was celebrated as valedictorian and honored with awards. Jeremy became a certified RTT therapist in 2021.
While simultaneously studying UX and subconscious reprogramming, Jeremy uncovered the idea of Behavioral Branding, a problem-solving framework uniting deep behavioral psychology insights with design and storytelling influence to enhance business marketing and sales.
“For the last 25 years, I’ve helped hundreds of people grow their business by teaching them how to show up so their audience pays attention. I bring to the table a unique history in corporate advertising, marketing, photography, packaging, print, design and branding — combined with keen insights in human behavior — to guide business owners.”
Owner / Creative Director / Brand Coach
Branding is the process of creating a unique and valuable idea known as a brand.
A brand is not a logo, but a brand can be represented by an identifiable symbol.
A brand is not a reputation, but can rely on word-of-mouth support for relevance and growth.
A brand is not static. A brand represents customers’ feelings toward an idea, tied to the values of that identity, and shifts with audience perception and time.
A brand communicates the story of this idea and what makes it unique and worthwhile. An effective brand elicits recognition and understanding in those who see it—two key components of a business’s overall success.
Recognition is when someone sees a brand and immediately knows what the business is or does. Recognition turns brands into household names. Recognition allows the company’s product or service to self-circulate and therefore increase sales.
Understanding is how the person who sees the brand makes a deeper, emotional sense of the company or product.
Branding is, therefore, a crucial process, and can be the key that unlocks business success.
To make sure results meet the initial requirements set forth by clients, all serious branding agencies have a process. There are many ways to handle the process, and every company approaches this process as it fits their team, skill set, specialty, and other factors.
The branding process consists of two major parts: Discovery and Creative. Let’s take a detailed look at both of them:
Get to know the client
Before working with clients, many agencies are hired to conduct brand audits. They investigate the client’s businesses, products, social media accounts, projects, and other avenues that are easily accessible. Based on the information collected through this research, agencies write down observations, questions, and probable challenges they identify during this stage. This reveals ideas of what a client might be looking for and need.
Some agencies send forms and worksheets to clients to gather background information. Insights gleaned from these answers drive strategy and future research. Other agencies hold workshops, sometimes known as sprints, to gather the same information in fun and interactive meetings. These workshops are highly effective because they gather all relevant stakeholders in a single location to reveal insights rather than relying on passing questionnaires around the office.
When the goals are set and your company’s path seems clear, branding experts will get going on research. This step is essential for all kinds of design tasks, whether a logo or a website. Research helps one immerse in the environment of the future brand and understand the peculiarities that will play a role in its potential success or failure.
A brand strategy is crucial to show which path will enable the growth of a brand. Brand strategy requires a mix of rational thinking and creative imagination. The reason is that creating a strategy must work for the company internally and for its clients externally. A brand strategy should clarify:
After examining the strategy, the branding team uses research, experience, creativity, and intuition to implement the strategy into representing the brand visually. Designing a brand identity always involves time and patience, and usually starts with creating several ideas that are eventually condensed down into one core concept over time.
The agency will provide you with the final options for your identity design, and you will choose one of them. This may require some back-and-forth because you may not be able to choose one final design, and might even have heated discussions with your team before making a final decision. The final design will be used for your brand’s image and all the collateral branding.
This stage involves taking the identity created in the previous step and applying it to many mediums that serve as points of contact between a business and its clients. These touchpoints may include:
Your agency will prepare all the brand identity deliverables necessary (the ones you’ve agreed on during client onboarding), and any guideline manuals, and send them to you (or your marketing agency) for use in marketing materials, campaigns, and everything else.
This can be done via email, shareable Google Drive links, physical mediums (flash drive or even disks), or another way you might prefer.
Brand identity asset management requires a long-term commitment from company owners to building and maintaining the brand. For a brand to succeed, it must be monitored and given consistent attention over a long time. This type of maintenance is crucial for the success of a brand, and brand coaching helps maintain long-term focus.
The Bottom Line
The process described above is in no way a strict paradigm. However, it certainly helps you understand the crucial key points of working with a branding design company, creative agency, or digital marketing agency. You must know what you need and be disciplined about it to keep the entire procedure going and not halt it with inadequate information or slow responses. Although a reliable and professional branding agency will always guide you through the process, it’s in your best interest to maintain professionalism yourself.
It’s essential to understand what exactly is included in deliverables provided by a brand agency. Below is a list of the things you could expect to be included in a branding package:
Creative agencies typically have workshop sessions to develop suitable and exciting names for clients’ businesses. You might be involved, or simply provided a list of names to review. At this stage, consider the list of proposed names and choose the best ones, or if none of the suggestions complement your vision, ask the agency to conduct another workshop.
After you choose a name, the agency team will do research and present several identity concepts. Your input at this stage is critical. Verify how many revisions are included in your package, and how much each new change (above this allotted amount) will cost.
Once the concept is approved, the agency will provide you with the final logo artwork (either in color or black and white, depending on your agreement) and various file formats that you will use, including .jpg and .png files.
After the basics are dealt with, you may get additional branding elements, such as:
Brand design can cost anywhere from $2,500 up to $50,000, depending on what you need. And that’s not even the highest price. Some of the largest top agencies charge over $30,000 for brand strategy development alone!
This means that when messaging, research, visual design, and other aspects of branding come into play, you may very well end up paying over $100,000.
But, if your budget is tight and you can’t afford to spend this much money, you can always hire a smaller agency that provides thorough and sophisticated branding services at a much lower cost.
First of all, you must define precisely what you need.
Let’s say you need comprehensive and all-encompassing branding services. This process begins with strategy development, brand positioning, and consumer insights and then moves on to brand identity.
A project like this can take up to a year to complete if it’s a new product or service. If reworking an existing brand, the process might take anywhere from 3 to 9 months.
Unlike an illustrator or graphic designer, a branding expert is a person who understands the ins and outs of the entire branding process.
Branding is a delicate, time-consuming, and expensive undertaking. If a brand comes out poorly, inordinate amounts of time and money will be wasted.
A branding expert is a person who ensures that every step taken to create a brand is both professionally planned and executed.
Founders of a new company might have a clear vision of their brand, but more often than not, they lack the experience needed to make their vision a reality—for example, brand strategy, development, and positioning are the foundation of the branding process. Within each, there are many more particular and detailed steps that must be taken.
Branding experts are familiar with so many different types of brands and why they succeed or fail, they can effectively actualize the conceptual visions of others within the real-world conditions of how brands function.
Branding is not merely about creating an image or designing a logo (though that is important!)—it’s about situating a brand in an effective, resonating way within a particular market and for a specific audience.
Last but not least, a branding expert is a master of communication. Throughout the branding process, the branding expert communicates ideas and visions with the client and can also clearly and directly explain what works and what doesn’t. This communication is essential for creating brands that maintain fidelity to the original vision of a client.
Branding agencies tend to look at brands as the big picture. This includes a company’s philosophy, vision, mission, values, reputation, and image. Customers consider their perception of a business as they experience service, and decide if the business adds anything meaningful to their lives. The goal of a good brand is to build a connection between the two.
Simply put: branding is the ‘why,’ advertising is the ‘what,’ and marketing is the ‘how’ of your business. Advertising is about developing a concept that draws attention to your business. Marketing converts your goals into sales. These two disciplines are rooms in your house that you can add later. Branding builds a foundation that supports the entire structure, so you can focus on building your business one room at a time.
Hiring a branding company is an essential investment. But, you shouldn’t expect immediate returns on that investment. Regardless, it’s still a step worth taking even in the early stages of your business. Some of the reasons why hiring a branding agency might be your best option include:
People generally understand that even in a large company, their branding project will usually be handled by only two or three people—the agency’s project manager and the designer. Although it may feel soothing to know that a creative agency has many employees, you will most likely be working with no more than two people. And yet, you’ll still pay a project fee that supports the entire staff.
At the same time, smaller agencies are in a unique position. The two people that take care of projects in these firms are often the company founders. Therefore, while you won’t get access to a large staff, you will work with a small creative team that provides the same purposeful design and strategic thinking that people usually expect to get from larger companies.
Many branding agencies offer a wide range of services. Usually, they’ll have core capabilities alongside new and developing ones.
To get a taste of where a brand company’s strengths lie, consider looking at its employees. Check out the agency’s About Us page on their site or take a look at their professional profiles on LinkedIn and see what kind of skills they have and how many employees are working within each specialty.
For instance, how many senior-level brand designers and strategists are there? Why is there only one copywriter or visual identity designer? This could mean that the agency’s strength is building and developing things rather than providing creative services.
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