The Branding Process: Brand Strategy

Today we’re continuing this blog series on the branding process by talking about the homework and strategy phase. This is an incredibly important since I utilize the one concept method. If this step is skipped, the brand design won’t be strategic or long lasting. By no means is this the only way to do this, but strategy needs to be a part of brand design.

Last week I ended the blog by talking about my onboarding process. I send them a questionnaire once they’ve signed and paid the deposit. They can fill it out in Dubsado, and this questionnaire must be completed by the project start date.

Once I become clear on the brand, their target audience, mission, and values, I begin on the moodboard. My boards are typically 12 images and show type, color, illustration or pattern, imagery, and print. I’ve found it helpful to go ahead and include color in this step. This site can be a fun resource for curating color palettes. But, I don’t just give them the board and ask their thoughts. On the next page I break the board down even more and explain my vision for the brand. It’s important to remember that not everyone thinks like a designer, and that’s ok. If the client thought like a designer, they probably wouldn’t need you! I include this additional breakdown page to help them further visualize the direction the brand will take. If this is done well, there should be no surprises when the brand concept is presented.

The brand strategy presentation + moodboard is delivered one week from project start. I send over the presentation through Dubsado with a feedback form and a walkthrough video. It’s important to guide them through the presentation, and I find recording a quick walkthrough video is easier for both parties. Then, we don’t have to schedule a time that works for both of us – this can often push the timeline out further.

I mentioned that I send the presentation with a feedback form. I’ve learned the hard way that there are right and wrong ways to ask for feedback. Training them to give feedback will be even more important during the brand design phase, so start off strong with this phase. Ask specific questions on what works and what doesn’t work. Don’t ask them how they feel, but word the questions in a way that brings them back to the needs of their target audience. I’ll go into even more detail on gathering feedback in the next blog on The Branding Phase.

Once they provide feedback on the brand strategy and we move forward. If there are refinements to be made, we do those, and if it’s approved, we move forward!

RESOURCES

An important note: I’m sharing these things because I’m passionate about being transparent and open. I want you to succeed, but please do not use this knowledge or the materials I share throughout this series in a harmful way. I share these presentations because I want to help you, but I sincerely ask that you not take work that isn’t your own. You are capable of creating original work that speaks to your target audience and communicates your message, so please don’t take mine.

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