What makes a great brand? Ask any marketer this question, and you’ll likely get an impassioned response.
Here at Raindrop, we’ve developed our own unique branding process that has proven successful across various industries including the arts, education, healthcare, and hospitality, to name a few. How do we create meaningful, impactful brands? Here’s a glimpse into our process.
Who Are You?
Your business already has a brand, even if you don’t realize it. The question becomes whether your brand is “deliberate” (meaning you are consciously, cohesively, and consistently embodying a certain image), or “by default” (meaning your identity is being left to the eye of the beholder).
There’s a simple test you can use to tell whether your brand is clear or ambiguous. Ask these three different people what it is that your business does well:
- A staff member
- A client or customer
- An acquaintance (someone who has scanned your website)
A strong brand shows common themes in all three answers. If the responses are all over the board, your brand is essentially open to interpretation, and the first step toward strengthening it is to define who you are.
We take clients through what we call a “brand identity session” that runs two to three hours long and involves several levels of leadership within the client’s organization. The session isn’t designed to uncover surprises. Again, the makings of your brand are already there. Our job isn’t to come in and make a grand discovery; it’s to be your “brand chiropractor” and align your organic identity with the perception you create.
That said, the brand identity session is filled with interesting questions that spark unique responses, such as:
- If your brand was played by an actor, who would it be and why?
- What other brands do you appreciate and why?
The “and why?” part of each question helps us to generate words that become the essence of your brand: approachable, respectable, lighthearted, etc. We also examine outside verticals to gain outside-the-box insight. Any brand can try to model itself after the leaders in its industry, but a truly special brand is able to “zig when others zag.”
How Do You Make People Feel?
The brand identity session establishes a collaborative arena and leads into our second phase, where the focus shifts from brand to audience. Your core values, beliefs, and purpose are all about you. This is where many branding and marketing agencies conclude their work. But when it comes down to it, it’s not about you at all. It’s about the people you’re trying to reach.
Your brand identity uncovers how you aim to make people feel. Too often, branding or rebranding is mistaken to be a purely aesthetic play, when it really dictates every single impression your business makes. Once we’ve created a brand identity, our mission together is to then deliver on who you say you are, and make people feel the way you want them to feel when they go to your website, receive your email blasts, follow you on social media, and, of course, buy from you.
At this point in the process, words that describe your brand translate to words that describe how you want to make your customers feel: connected, empowered, strong, hopeful, determined, excited, etc.
How Can You Make Them Feel That Way More Often?
Every brand should have its own language. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or Earth-changing, but it needs to be effective in evoking the emotions you want your customers to feel.
Branding is certainly driven by visuals, but those visuals lack impact without thoughtful messaging to accompany them. Brand messaging is pivotal because it leads into your overall marketing strategy, which revolves around constantly reminding people of who you are and how great you make them feel. Every touch point presents a chance to reinforce your brand. We survey the opportunity landscape with “customer journey mapping,” which traces your sales funnel to shed light on the different ways you can infuse your brand into the customer experience.
Time to Create
All of the above amount to a crisp, concise brand identity document that serves as our roadmap to actually creating the many elements of your brand, from your logo and color scheme, to your print materials, to your digital presence.
Are you looking for a different type of branding and advertising agency? One that’s ultra-creative yet unintimidating and…dare we say…fun to work with? Check out our work and get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.
By: Jacques Spitzer