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What is a brand? Why do you need to consider your branding?

The Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, defined a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” We know that sounds confusing, but let’s break it down into simpler terms.

If something is intangible, it can’t be touched – it’s inferred rather than explicitly spelled out. And product attributes? They’re the visual aesthetic, messaging, position and behaviour of a company.

In other words, you can think of branding as your company’s personality – how it dresses, speaks and acts and even who it hangs out with – and trust us when we tell you this, your business will reap the benefits if you prioritise branding from the get-go.

Why is branding important?

A strong brand is ‘sticky’ – it sticks in the heads of those who engage with it and becomes trusted in its sector. ‘Sticky’ brands have a solid identity to set themselves apart from their competitors and they use their position to generate loyalty with their audience and keep on expanding. Examples of successful brands include Apple, Nike and Lego.

Without well-thought-out branding, businesses are generic, forgettable and far more likely to fail, even if what they offer is completely unique (5 Things Your Brand is Missing). But which thought processes actually go in to getting branding right?

Well, it’s necessary to consider everything about your company, and we do mean everything! From business goals and challenges to competitors and target audience – you can only shape your perfect brand when you have a solid idea of exactly where it fits.

Think about what makes your business special (it’s Unique Selling Proposition, or USP); see how others in the sector do things and outshine them in every way to become more distinctive, more trustworthy and better recognised for what you do (How to Increase Brand Loyalty).

In the current economic climate, quality branding is the fastest way to scale a business. And with so many companies competing for consumer attention, bad brands are increasingly becoming expendable.

If you’re worried about falling behind your competitors, get in touch with Create8 today and we can help to turn your brand into something that sticks: start a project.

Is it too late to rebrand?

Rebranding is a marketing strategy for established businesses that want to switch things up. Whether motivations stem from wanting to reach a broader audience, keep up with design trends or reflect new business offerings, rebranding is one of the fastest ways to boost profits and stay relevant, but only if it’s done successfully.

Adjusting the look, feel, voice and position of your brand can help your company to better fulfil its purpose. Rebrand adjustments can range from minor to major depending on business pain points and the motivations behind the change, but companies should come away from a rebrand project looking and feeling refreshed. Examples of companies which successfully rebranded recently include Kia, Burger King and AirBnB.

Our team of Manchester-based creatives are on hand to help you develop or reshape your brand so it can perform at its best. Check out our branding case studies to see some of the businesses we’ve propelled towards success, and keep reading to find out more about the Create8 branding process.

The Create8 Branding Process

We’ve developed an effective strategy for building and rebuilding brands that means we repeatedly create impactful and lasting impressions, amplifying brand awareness and driving engagement for our clients.

Whether you’re looking to create a brand from scratch or rebrand an existing business, the Create8 branding process consists of 5 phases: 1. Scope, 2. Discovery, 3. Research Proposal and Moodboard Development, 4. Concept Creation, and 5. Refinement and Delivery. Each phase is detailed below to help you understand exactly what you’ll be signing up for when you start a branding project with Create8.

Phase 1: Project Scope

During this phase, you’ll meet with your account manager to talk about your vision for your business and what you hope to achieve from working with Create8. By letting us know about any obstacles you’ve faced so far and pain points you’re keen to overcome, we’ll have a clear idea of the scope of your project.

Phase 2: Discovery

For the discovery phase, you’ll join your account manager on a discovery call (approx. 2 hours) or full discovery workshop if you choose our highest branding package (1–2 days), during which you’ll meet your project manager and members of the Create8 branding team to discuss the project and really get the ball rolling. After the discovery session, we’ll have a clear idea of what’s required for your project and will provide you with finalised prices and estimated timeframes.

Discovery Call

During the discovery call, we’ll ask questions about your business and goals to find out how it started, what makes it stand out and whether you’ve faced any challenges so far. We’ll also ask questions to determine where your company fits in the market, discussing competitors and the composition of your sector so we can see exactly where your brand should sit.

We’ll consider how you want the brand to communicate and the emotions you’d like to be triggered when people interact with it. We’ll ask about brands you’ve seen, both in your sector and beyond, to find out what you like and what you want to avoid. Finally, we’ll ask you to define your target audience, so we have a clear idea of who you’d like to focus on, who wants the product/service you’re offering and what their needs and motivations are.

Our discovery call questions are extensive and specifically designed to help us build a clear picture of your brand so we can start to develop your new brand identity.

Discovery Workshop

If you choose our highest branding package, you’ll join us for a full discovery workshop. We’ll ask all of the discovery call questions to learn the ins and outs of your business as well as lead interactive activities to help you position your brand more clearly.

Together we’ll analyse your competitors in depth, including their look, feel and tone of voice so that you can start to visualise a clear direction for your brand. We’ll think about your vision and mission statements, values and USPs and start to define personas for your customers and target audience, all of which will propel us towards your new brand identity.

Phase 3: Research Proposal and Moodboard Development

After the discovery phase, members of the Create8 branding team will conduct independent research and start to think about a visual direction that will work for your brand.

We’ll review the strengths and weaknesses of competitors to identify potential gaps in the sector from a visual and messaging perspective. Having a better understanding of your industry will help our branding team relate to the market and create a brand that appeals to consumers. All research will be summarised in an exclusive proposal, tailored to you.

As part of your research proposal, your branding designer will create 3 to 5 moodboards (the number of moodboards you’ll receive is dependent on the branding package you choose). Each moodboard is designed to capture a potential direction for the look and feel of your brand and will include references to textures, typefaces, fonts, colour palettes, colour contrasts and photography or illustration styles (Choosing Your Fonts). Grouping our thoughts in this way will help you to conjure up a mental image of where your brand could sit within its sector and how your brand might present itself.

This will be your first introduction to the Create8 branding team’s generation of ideas. The moodboard direction you choose is entirely up to you – you might be drawn to a specific moodboard or you may prefer to involve elements from multiple moodboards.

Phase 4: Concept Creation

We’ll follow the aesthetic you chose in phase 3 and create 3 to 5 exclusive concepts of your new identity (the number of concepts you’ll receive is dependent on the branding package you choose). We’ll consider every angle, from name and logo, to look, feel and tone of voice and we’ll tailor each concept to your sector, consumers and target audience to create something entirely unique and suitable for your business (What are Brand Values).

Your branding designer will draw up a variety of logos, paying attention to shape, pattern and texture and the way each logo differs in regards to the emotions it evokes (The Difference Between a Brand and a Logo). We’ll also think about your brand’s personality and extended identity and choose colours, styles and fonts for each concept that will help generate brand awareness and solidify your brand as ‘sticky’.

We’ll even consider how the different types of people who make up your target audience might respond to each concept, all while ensuring our designs are memorable, but simple enough to be scalable and suitable for a variety of deliverables.

Finally, we’ll create branding mockups for each concept that position your brand in the real world. Through rendered content and images of your website, social media profiles, merchandise and/or packaging (depending on your business type), you’ll be able to clearly see our visions for yourself. This will also help you to determine the brand’s potential usability in your sector.

Phase 5: Refinement and Delivery

Once the concepts are finalised, we’ll arrange a meeting with you to run through everything and you’ll choose the final direction for your brand.

From there, we’ll work together to create a brand identity you’re completely satisfied with. We allow for 3 to 5 rounds of amends (depending on the branding package you choose), and can refine or tweak elements of the concept, such as the typography and colour palettes, so that it fits in line with your vision.

Once everything is finalised, we’ll produce all of the deliverable assets in web and print formats based on your chosen package. We’ll file everything in your personal brand folder, which will be sent to you upon final sign-off and can be used for future web or marketing projects.

For the highest branding package, we’ll also deliver your brand guidelines, which are essentially the rules for your brand. They’ll detail everything from logo usage and colour codes for web and print to tone of voice direction and photography styles. Brand guidelines are a great tool for helping you to maintain consistency across platforms and solidify your new, ‘sticky’ extended identity (What are Brand Guidelines?).

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Get in touch!

Quality branding is essential to any business. Whether you want to give an existing brand a boost or shape an entirely new brand identity, we’re here to help.

Get in touch with Create8 today to hear about the ways we can help you to reach new customers and make sure your company outshines competitors and really stands the tests of time. And if you want to see what we’ve done for clients in the past, check out some of our branding case studies.

Take a look at some more of our blogs for helpful tips, tricks and advice: