Creative Processes Explained

The Branding Process

Important to understand, often overlooked, commonly underfunded. Given the value a brand adds it is important to know the true power that  it can deliver. . .

In this post I wanted to touch on the role of process within the everyday business strategy. This may sound dull and the opposite of being creative, but it is in fact inherently important to pursue as it allows you to exceed, succeed and most importantly retrieve the aspired value from all of the effort.

Like anything we do in business there needs to be a start, middle and end, but in today’s digital world, the end is now an iteration, a key building block in the concept of continuous improvement and evolution. The middle is a series of milestones and the start is the planning. These fundamentals are building blocks across all processes in order to introduce, maintain, monitor, measure and finally improve.

As you can imagine it takes time to work through the process but by the end of the ‘iteration’ you’ll see it will have paid dividends. Again, important to understand this statement. The branding process is an investment in the future NOT a bottom line cost.

These thoughts aren’t anything new but you’d be surprised just how many people try to short-cut them, ignore phases or are actually unaware of them in the first place. This isn’t a criticism by any measure but as creative experts it’s as much our job to educate our partners on the process, as it is to deliver on the process.

So, enough with the pre-amble, let’s take a look at our first creative processes – The Branding Process.

The Branding Process

Creating a brand is so much more than just a logo or a signature and this is often misconstrued – there are memorable brands and there are iconic logos, two differing elements but important to each other none the less. The brand is in fact the underlying components that forge together to form the foundations of a business. Identifying and understanding these components internally is imperative for others to then follow, represent, build and grow. The architecture of a brand is what positions these components into logical places and spaces, such as hierarchies of information and channels of importance; what should be said where and when, even how it should be said.

Before you kick off your next marketing drive, be sure you have your brand house in order as business and brand can often become misaligned.

Now, if you’re starting out from scratch and creating something new, then congratulations first and foremost; the branding process can be truncated, but there is still a process to follow. The important thing here is that there is less consideration needed to any existing brand asset value; there is less cut-through and engagement and so less disruption to anyone that will be on the receiving end. Likely also there are no internal teams to advise, support, coordinate and control.

If you’re an existing brand then the process needs further thought. Let’s reflect on your existing teams, departments, clients (new and old); deals in play, past and future innovations, products and services; as the last thing you want is to turn any audience away as well as disrupt any potential revenue. Before getting too deep into the detail however, ask yourself – design or redesign? You don’t always need to start with a blank sheet of paper, sometimes all you need are a few tweaks, an evolution, that can lift and freshen a brand. This not only saves money but it also gives reason to reconnect with audiences.

Let’s look at the high level process:-

01 Research

We kick off the branding process with an audit and review; here we get to know you and your business, the whos, whats, wheres, whys? We find out your mission, your target audiences as well as your current challenges, objectives and goals. It’s important that we align our thinking to yours; after all no one knows your business as well as you do…

We don’t just look internally but also externally; who are your competitors, what are they saying and who to, what makes them successful and how do they differ? This level of thinking and analysis helps to set the scene, as well as build a picture of where you want to be.

Next up, we ask what do we need to do in order to get there? From this we can build the strategic approach and roadmap that is tailored to your business as well as set of circumstances.

02 Strategy

The strategy is launched off the back of the research. A time to consolidate views, messages, goals and visions for the future. This brings clarity to values as well as direction. The strategic positioning can form the very platform that everything else extends from.

03 Design

This iterative stage is where the research and strategy begins to translate into practical, tangible, creative visual solutions. Not only does it start with a meaningful identity, it grows far beyond this, across every facet of business, every asset even; and don’t think that it stops just there.

If you’re branding or rebranding, you may well be looking to enter a new market or reposition and realign your brand; it’s not uncommon, and so if this is the case then the chances are you may also find it valuable to review your business processes, service offerings, products as well as revenue channels as these are all impacted by branding, positioning, engagement and innovations.

04 Application

Here is where you plan and execute roll-out. Naturally this phase is different for all as it can be as quick as a switch or be phased over time, geographies and markets. No matter your position you need to think both internally and externally and ensure you have all of the relevant material, collateral, guides and assets ready to support your business’s transformation and transition into a new way of thinking and, quite possibly, new ways of working.

So, why is this branding process so important?

The process is what drives internal stakeholder buy-in as well as external means to go to market. The objective of the process is to strive toward a memorable, identifiable, trusted brand that is over and above consistent and authentic. Consistency is critical in order to build trust, fostering long-term customer engagement as well as lifelong customers. So it is our belief that the process is a kick-start that optimises businesses, galvanizing the team today but preparing it for tomorrow.

At Digital Creative, we understand the challenges that change can bring to an organisation, but also the many benefits.

We’re here to help you navigate through the process ensuring focus is maintained on the end prize.

If you need Branding expertise or need to transform your User Experiences, then we want to hear from you! 

Get in touch or call +44 1491 913 873. Let’s get this conversation started!