Laying the groundwork
Whether you are launching a new business, product or service, or rebranding an existing one, clarity is key. Clarity creates interest, grabs attention, and calls for action.
Gaining that clarity requires insight into what truly drives your business. (And it's not your products and services!) We call it "finding your pivot point." Once you identify your pivot point, you can build your brand around it, create a following, and command a premium. Then life becomes more enjoyable. Then it’s smooth sailing. Your audience “gets it.” When you’re clear, so is everyone else. Suddenly you find yourself in a different space; no longer battling the competition, but leading your company in new and innovative directions. Once you identify the key stakeholders for your branding process and determine your project budget, it's time to dive in.
step 01 - gather
Collecting background info
The branding process begins with a meeting of the key stakeholders. This is where you tell us where you currently stand in the process. You may have already formulated some thoughts and ideas. You might have names that you love but can't use for various reasons (i.e. trademark conflict, the domain was taken, etc.) Or you may just be at a dead-end, wasting valuable staff time.
In this meeting, we discuss the recommended timelines and milestones. We look at your slide decks, creative briefs, business plans, and any other supporting documentation that would help explain and convey your marketing objectives.
At this point in the process, we're here to listen, gather information, and ask lots of questions.
step 02 - analyze
Finding your pivot point
We start by asking you to define your industry. Sounds obvious, but here's what we mean: Apple is not really in the "computer" business but in the digital lifestyle business. If they acted like they were a computer company, they would be marketing against Dell and Gateway, and they wouldn't be where they are today.
Before branding a company, product, or service, we dig deeper to determine the end benefit, the true value proposition, so that the branding remains anchored, relevant, and timeless. We call this "finding your pivot point," or that central theme that resonates throughout everything you do. Your pivot point does not typically refer to your products and services, but rather how you deliver them. For example brands such as CompUSA are product defined, while BestBuy is more attribute defined.
We align your brand identity with your company's core strengths. That way, when your industry goes through cycles, you don't necessarily suffer the fate of that cycle.
It's not just strategic, it's brilliant.
step 06 - refine
Reviewing and refining
Oftentimes, in the discussion of the brand names the team will have their "ah-ha!" moment. Someone will share a new twist or insight that transforms a good name into a great one. Or one name sparks a train of thought that leads to other possibilities. That's the purpose of this process, to help find and define the essence of the brand. Once in a while, a name will pop right out, but most often, one or two of the names begin to rise to the top and make more sense with each discussion. The "story" behind the brand will begin to emerge and the name will gain traction.
step 07 - select
Selecting the winning name
Typically it requires one to three "rounds" of names to uncover the perfect candidate. Some of our best and brightest brand names were initially passed over in the early stages of the process, only to be revisited again and again. This can happen simply because it requires contrast and comparison to see the value in a name. It helps to air out each idea: how will the name be used? where will it be seen? how will it be used in a sentence? does it have "verb potential," etc? There are usually several names that will meet the branding criteria, and then it's a matter of choosing the one that feels the most fitting and comfortable.
Based on the specifics of the project, we can also provide comprehensive trademark research, name validation testing, and linguistic evaluation to further assist you in your decision.
Want to see examples of winning names?
step 08 - develop
Developing the marketing platform
We won't stop at a name, tagline, logo, and domain name, we'll work with you to develop a marketing "lexicon" or language set to further enhance and support your brand message. By developing a language set, you will be able to create a more meaningful and congruent brand message, one that highlights your core strengths. This gives your brand message more substance and makes it more engaging and believable.