When our firm does a branding project for a client, we guide them through a three-step process. The first step is when we do our research. The next step is the evaluation of the research and the formulation of a brand strategy. The third step brings it to life with the development of a visual identity. We developed our unique process because we believe that there are four fundamental building blocks that every successful brand should have:
• Brand Essence – a brand’s fundamental nature, it’s heart and soul
• Brand Promise – a compelling and differentiated benefit to the customer
• Brand Personality – describes the brand as if it were a person (reliable, old-fashioned, progressive, innovative, bold, etc)
• Brand Identity – visual components that create recognition
At the end of our Brand Development Process, our client will have all four of these building blocks, as well as some other strategic recommendations and the research to support them.
For many of our clients, this marks the first time that these fundamental brand attributes have been defined, debated and formally adopted. It’s truly a milestone for many of our clients, because these guiding documents will steer the direction, language and style of every future marketing effort. This work may also impact other decisions, like product development, pricing and hiring. The Brand Personality and Brand Promise should guide the organization’s staff in every day decisions about how to treat customers. After all, frontline staff is usually responsible for delivering the promise.
It’s surprising how many businesses or tourism destinations have never given their brand the attention it deserves. Sadly, it’s usually reflected in their marketing materials. The message conveyed through the language and the visuals is unfocused and inconsistent. The message in advertising, press releases, promotions and in-person sales pitches could be totally different all on the same day. They are sometimes making decisions based on gut instinct alone. Even the greatest marketers with excellent instincts sometimes need a little guidance.