Investigation is primarily through: (1) discussion conducted with key stakeholders; (2) first-hand experience of the product or place to be branded; and, (3) related internet research. The aim is to define the brand from both a rational and emotional perspective. This is achieved through an understanding of: (1) the product's strengths & weaknesses; (2) the solution it offers the target audience; and, (3) the market competition.
This process is important to undertake whether your brand is a business, a building or a biscuit. It ensures the creative work is reliably and honestly informed.
After careful evaluation, the brand positioning is described, typically using the following categories:
A long-list of potential names for the brand is generated using the four categories below. All the names are considered with respect to the brand positioning. The ‘essence’ statement from the positioning phase often translates directly into potential tag-lines for the brand. Consideration is also given to IP or URL conflict with existing competitors.
1. Legacy - related historic people, places and events - eg: Sainsburys.
Some names can be compounded to straddle category groupings - for example: Legacy + Explicit = Zaha Hadid Architects.
Brand hierarchy (the naming strategy for related sub/sister brands) and creative options for URLs are also developed during this stage of the process.
Some or all of the following design languages are explored and defined in the context of relevant materials:
These languages should embody the positioning statements (the ‘personality’ in particular). They are defined in a ‘brand identity guidelines’ document and provide the framework to ensure all material communicating the brand is coherent.
The ‘brand identity guidelines’ document is the key asset to create as it acts as a style reference for all design material and explains how the logo should be used in different situations.
The logo artwork pack (including size, colour and file type variations) is typically the first asset to create.
Other assets that may require creation:
The materials include some or all of the created assets, styled in accordance with the ‘brand identity guidelines’.
Material requirements may vary widely from project to project. A communication plan will be created where necessary to help define which media channels and content type will target the desired audience most effectively.
Core materials typically include:
Measurements can be put in place to determine the effectiveness of the materials, enabling any necessary updating or developments to be planned accordingly.