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:
- Target markets;
- Competitive advantage;
- Brand values;
- Brand personality;
- Brand promise;
- Brand proposition.
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:
- Business cards;
- Product or packaging design;
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.