A brand is more than just a logo. It is a promise that can build trust and drive sales. And as much as we wish it were the case, your brand is not what you say it is; it is what your customers believe it to be, both consciously and subconsciously– It is what they experience.
Effective brands are born and grown of strategy. More specifically, brand strategies are based on your business’ unique answers to the what, who, how and why. The strategic goal for a brand is to identify customers’ wants and needs and match them with effective value propositions. In other words, your brand strategy tells the story of how your business helps customers solve their problems, satisfy their needs, and/or resolve their pain points. And it does so in a way that effectively grabs their attention, builds trust, and makes you stand out from the competition.
To create a world-class brand, one that stands in the top 1% of 1%, takes a lot of time and hard work. The following is our process here at L7: How we create world-class brands, one client at a time.
Phase I: Discovery & Due Diligence
The first step begins the moment we start communicating with you. We take the time to learn about you, your business and your goals. But we don’t stop there. We dig deeper, asking the right questions, and we take advantage of our clients’ unique expertise in their industries. The following are questions we typically ask:
How did your business/ brand start, and what has been accomplished to date?
Where does the brand currently stand in the market? What challenges are you facing? Are there unknown issues fueling the problem? And do we know we are solving the “right” problem?
Where does the brand see opportunity? Are there additional opportunities for the brand?
Who are your customers? And what are their wants and needs?
What are the current products and services offered by the brand?
What unique value propositions does the brand provide to solve the customers’ wants and needs?
Who are your competitors, both direct and indirect? What do they do right, and where do they fall short?
We take this information and then perform our due diligence to further flesh out strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats in the marketplaces.
We can then sit down with you and review the total picture, and any additional findings to refine and clarify the necessary steps for your brand to achieve your goals.
Phase II: Brand Strategy
With an understanding of the environment (the “who”), we then flesh out the five most essential Brand Strategy Statements (the what & why):
Business Purpose/ Goals: This is where we develop and articulate the brand’s deeper motivation or the “what.”
Core Values: We map out a set of guiding principles that help define how the brand should behave to fulfill its broader business purpose, the “why,” (Loyalty, consistency, honesty, creativity, inspiration education, health, etc..More here:http://www.threadsculture.com/blog/company-culture/core-values-list-threads/)
Mission Statement: We create a short statement of what the brand does, its purpose, scope of operations, products/ services it offers, targeted customers/ market, and geographic considerations. (Examples at https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/inspiring-company-mission-statements#sm.0000e2ypscaheflkthr29lw8kv7xv)
Brand Positioning Statement: We identify the product or service offered, the target audience, and a compelling picture of the brand’s value proposition and how it can best fit the customers’ wants and needs, to place it at the ideal position(s) within the marketplace.
Elevator Pitch: We simplify the previous statements and goals into a single-breath, succinct and persuasive sales pitch that anyone in the organization can easily remember and share, to quickly and effectively let people know what your brand delivers.
With a clear direction and message, we can move on to the next phase of creating the look and feel of the brand identity.
Phase III: Brand Identity
Your brand identity or logo, colors, and fonts are more than just a random amalgamation of colors and kerned fonts – it’s the embodiment of your company’s engine. It is the perceived image, impression, and emotional response to your business, products, and services. It needs to have the following five qualities: simple, distinct & memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. You can read more about this here.)
With a clear understanding of the goals, marketplace, and strategies, we develop your logo with appropriate colors for your digital and print assets, as well as identify the best fonts that fit your strategic needs.
Phase IV: Brand Style Guide
The final phase is to create a Brand Style Guide that establishes clear, consistent guidelines on how all aspects of the company’s brand will be handled. It provides standards for use: cases for the logo, colors, and fonts. It also provides guides for secondary graphics and photo treatments for the brand.
The other significant aspect of the Brand Style Guide is the customized creation of the voice, tone, and grammatical strategies for the brand for all written communications. The Brand Style Guide empowers a cohesive look and feel for all forms of content. The brand style can then be extended and applied to all future brand digital assets and collateral. In many cases, it can and should also be extended to all mediums and platforms such as social media.
At the end of these four phases, your company will have in its hands all the information, executables, and strategies necessary for the effective development of a world-class brand. This can then be applied to all of your marketing efforts.