You’ve heard business leaders, marketers, and even consumers mention the power of branding—but unless you’re a branding expert yourself, you’re probably wondering how to build a powerful brand.
Every branding agency puts its own spin on the creative process. At Netwave, we try to keep it light enough for you to understand and embrace, yet thorough enough to develop a truly meaningful brand. Our approach looks something like this:
Branding can be a very introspective exercise; you define who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to be viewed. The part many people miss, though, is that the end result is really for your audience. Before we can define who you are, we need to know who they are. So, we like to start with some brief intake and independent research on the people you’re trying to reach, including demographics, background, market trends, purchasing decisions and so on.
In an article published on Forbes.com, our founder, Dave McIndoe, wrote:
“If your branding process starts with graphic design, you’re doing it wrong. Before you can even begin to envision the outward appearance of a brand, there needs to be a brand personality. Who are you and why should people care?”
To create your brand personality, we’ll ask a combination of lighthearted questions (i.e. “If your brand were a car, what car would it be?”) along with nuts-and-bolts questions about your business. The deliverable typically consists of several pillar statements capturing your “core identity,” accompanied by several more of these statements for an “extended identity.”
Mission, Vision, Values
Once we have established who you’re trying to reach and who you are as a brand, we will begin to craft the guiding statements that every business should have on hand: your mission, vision, and values. Your mission statement describes why your brand exists, while the vision statement is more geared toward where your brand is going and/or where you will take customers with you. Your brand values are written similarly to the pillars in your personality, but with an emphasis on what your brand represents. Together, these three pieces provide an instant, excellent baseline for your internal communications and company culture even before the customer-facing benefits of branding.
At this point, we are familiar enough with your business (perhaps with additional intake if the nature of your company is especially nuanced or complex) to craft what we call the main messaging. Think of this as the homepage of your website, because that’s what it will essentially become. You will see tagline-style headers with 1-2 sentences of supporting copy, each highlighting a value proposition, service line, etc. Keep in mind that revisions are a part of the process; we expect to be at least close on the first draft (and are often spot-on), but client collaboration is key in branding.
Everyone loves the visual aspect of branding, where your message comes to life through imagery, color, texture and other fun elements. Remember, however, that there is a huge difference between a logo and a brand. The latter is more cohesive, with positioning and messaging tying into a complete brand guide that includes:
- Logo usage and direction
- Supporting graphics
- Brand voice
Website Design & Printed Materials
After the brand guide is complete, we’re ready to hit the ground running with your “brand” new website design. You will also need new business cards, signage and other printed materials—all of which are in our repertoire.
Ongoing Marketing & Advertising
Having a clear, defined brand is a major advantage in your marketing and advertising. You are equipped with a better understanding of your audience, your business, and your messaging. Most newly branded or re-branded companies are willing to invest more in channels such as digital advertising, content marketing, email marketing and social media because they are confident in their identity and image.
Again, we can help with all of the above. But first, take a look at our recent branding projects. If you like what you see, contact us. There’s nothing we love more than taking a business through our branding process from step one. Don’t worry, it all comes together faster than you would think.