Building a powerful brand is a lot like going on a road trip. By understanding where you want to go you can then plan out the steps needed to take you there.
The following is are a few of the key steps that we use when creating a new brand. It’s a process that we developed over the last 20+ years and it has proven time and time again to be a powerful tool when working with both young start ups as well as large international brands. When creating a powerful brand we spend about 20% of our overall time into the first 4 steps. You will find this time spent to be invaluable as it helps to crystallize your vision for the brand and it ensures that your end creative is on path to get you where you want to go.
1) Start by understanding and communicating your short and long term goals. Years ago when Chip Wilson started lululemon he told me that he wanted his yoga startup brand to be as big a Nike. This meant that we needed to take a much different approach to building his brand than we would have if his goal was to be just the top yoga company at the time. We still needed to be true to the yoga community, but the brand image that we created for lululemon needed to resonate with a much much broader target market than it would have otherwise. At FreeBird Agency we start every project by first coming to understand what our clients short and long term goals are and then we plan our path to achieve those goals accordingly.
2) People buy into brands that they connect with emotionally. By understanding the likes and dislikes of your target market you can design your brand in a way that your future customers instantly connect with it. If you know they love Starbucks, Apple and Whole Foods your new branding want’s to feel at home when placed next to those brands. It shouldn’t look the same, but it should resonate with your target market in the same way. It’s also important to understand as much about your competitors brands as possible. You want to make sure that your new brand stands apart and differentiates you from them. Standing out will help to ensure that you stay top of mind.
3) Define and communicate your corporate values before starting on your branding. Brian Scudamore’s companies, (1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, Wow 1 Day Painting and O2E Brands), all share the same values which are; Happy, Outgoing and Quirky. As Brian’s creative agency we his corporate values as a guideline for creating each of his brands. By communicating your corporate values with your creative agency you are you are giving them valuable tools that will enable your brand’s personality shines through.
4) Create a Mood Board before you start designing. Mood Boards are important because they help set the overall visual direction of your brand to come. Our friend Kelly Deck is an interior designer and we have seen her use similar boards with great success so we thought that we would try using them as well. The results have been so successful that we have developed several different styles of boards depending on the project at hand. Basically a Mood Board is a combination of found images that help to tell the visual story that you want to create. Only use images that are on brand, inline with your goals and that fit your brand’s corporate culture. Be sure to use a lot of images of cute puppies and that good-looking crew from FreeBird Agency (ha, just kidding… sort of). Keep your long term goals in mind because you want to make sure that your new brand is going to take you where you want to go. Google images and Pinterest are great inspirations for finding images for your Mood Boards.
5) Now that all of the key stakeholders are in agreement on the vision and direction of the brand it’s time to get creative and start putting pencil to paper, or in our case it’s most often mouse to computer. When creating a new brand we constantly go back to the approved Mood Boards to ensure that what we are creating is in line with the overall goals of the brand. Once we have a selection of logos that we feel are well suited to the brand we place test them by putting them into the Mood Boards to ensure that what it works. From there we test it further by quickly bring the brands to life by mocking up how the brand will look in it’s living environment. By testing the brand on things like vehicle wraps, stationary, website, flyers, magazine ads, coffee mugs, advertisements etc. we can be sure that the chosen branding works. Once we have sign off on the the overall brand look and feel we then take the rough design concepts and finalize their creative and take them to production.
In today’s busy world it’s important that your brand stand apart from the competition so that it’s memorable and easily recognized. It’s my hope that this article helps as you embark on the fun and ever exciting world of building your own powerful brand.
If you have questions or are looking for creative services please contact me as we would love to help out.
FreeBird Agency – Solutionist & Founder
noel (at) freebirdagency.com