A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. - Seth Godin
Branding is the core of your business' marketing, it is the first impression, the core message, the values, the purpose, the mission and the vision. At its heart, it is the essence of your business and and why you do what you do.
I work with a lot of clients on branding projects. Re-branding, brand "refresh" and brand new branding design projects. They're the most challenging and the most rewarding projects I work on.
Having done this for a while now I have a set of questions that I ask clients when working on branding and logo design projects.
Over the last 12 months I have undergone a major overhaul in my business. I'm undergoing the sometimes overwhelming, always fun but very time-consuming task of tweaking my website to attract my dream client.
This process has sparked a brand examination. I designed my logo rather hurriedly one afternoon back in 2009 when I had to drop everything as my first freelance client had fallen out of the sky!
Since its inception I have received more than one comment that people "love" the simplicity of the blue circles in my logo (as my primary business back then was as a copywriter, the circles were intended to evoke imagery of pens, writing, ink, etc.). I love the blue circles too. The original font, however? Nuh-uh. Yuk. So: blue circles in, font, out.
So I have changed things up a bit and have maintained a clear, business-y font but the blue circles stay. It's not outrageous, it's not particularly bold but it's me: clear, to the point and loving blue circles.
So, are you undertaking a re-brand?
Here are twenty four key questions to ask yourself before you re-brand:
- Why are you re-branding?
- What are the reasons behind your motivation to re-brand?
- Do you feel your branding is dated?
- Does your logo look too much like a competitors?
- Does your logo not communicate what you do?
- Does your current logo not engage your audience?
- What is it about your current brand that isn't working?
- What don't you like about your current brand?
- Every brand has integral elements what are the elements of your current brand that need to be maintained through the re-branding process?
- Is this a re-work or a complete do-over?
- Do you want to retain or invest in new typography/fonts?
- Do you want to retain or invest in new colours?
- Do you want to retain or invest in new design elements?
- How is the new brand going to be used?
- On your website? (Obviously this is always a firm yes!).
- In print design i.e. annual report design, business cards and letterhead designs?
- Across your social media channels?
- Do you use any promotional items or uniforms?
- What will engage your target audience?
- What do you know about your target audience?
- What do you want your target audience to feel when they interact with your brand?
- What do you love?
- What are absolute non-negotiables?
- What elements of your personality do you want to shine through in your new brand?
We interact with brands constantly. Some brands I love and some I detest. Some I want to engage with, others leave me with a terrible impression. Think about the brands you interact with on a regular basis; are they memorable? What do they make you feel?
I could talk about branding all day and I go through these questions (and many more) with my clients at the start of every branding project.