Insights / Business
Oftentimes, most businesses assume that building a brand is all about having well-designed graphics...
Not to mention, catchy slogans, 'creative' taglines, or even humorous social media posts to go viral by having customers engage and share them with others online. While that might seem like so from afar, this is often just the tip of the iceberg as it only provides a 'surface' view of the entire situation.
Instead, what’s more likely is that the company is reaping the rewards from weeks & months of hard work in planning, strategizing and executing their branding activities, causing their business to thrive as a result. So, if the various factors listed at the start are not sufficient for building a brand that is well-loved, strong and powerful, then what does it take? Shown below is a ‘step-by-step’ approach taken to establish a strong & powerful brand.
Step 1: Discovery
Before starting out, a business needs to discover the purpose of its existence. For instance, Tesla was founded with the main purpose of helping the world transition to a greener, ‘sustainability-led’ future through transportation (electric vehicles). In essence, this ‘discovery’ phase is about asking the critical and ‘big-picture’ questions, such as:
- Missions & Vision: Why does it exist?
- Personality: What are its core values, value proposition, messaging, voice, tone, brand promise etc?
- Current perception (if applicable): What is the company's current perception of its own brand?
Step 2: Design
After discovery, comes the development or rather, the ‘design’ of the brand itself. This means bringing those ideas to life by embodying them through:
- Brand Guideline
- Digital & Physical Brand Assets
In this phase, working with a branding agency is highly recommended as they have strong professional expertise in visual creation which greatly benefits companies that are looking for assistance in developing a strong & powerful brand. For instance, Wolf Gelato is a brand that wanted to position its business and products as a healthier alternative to traditional ice cream.
They partnered up with a branding agency to bring their idea to life through its brand identity and various deliverables (physical and digital). Safe to say that Wolf Gelato experienced a successful launch and solidified its position in the market through a multi-channel approach using branding, advertising and marketing. For more details on the project, please head over to this link.
In short, the second phase is about bringing the ideas of the first phase to life through design with the expertise of creative professionals. Particularly, those who possess the industry experience that is crucial to the company they are working with.
Step 3: Implementation
After the design, it’s time to implement it by launching the brand across various platforms. In this phase, it is all about the execution of the company’s strategy, especially all the activities that are related to branding and marketing. While some companies have the in-house capacity to handle this themselves, others often opt for a ‘full service’ creative agency. This is because not only do they offer graphic design and branding-related services but also an extensive range of solutions too. To emphasize, they will assist with planning, strategizing and executing all the business activities related to building the brand of the company. This also applies to businesses with an existing brand as well. For instance, from designing, strategizing and executing a social media marketing plan to build awareness and interest in multiple products of a business:
Shown in the example is STABILO, one of the brands that lead the writing instrument market around the world.
In 2020, a social media campaign (Beat The Study Mess) was launched in Malaysia & Singapore to help their online followers gain better focus during their study sessions. They did so by partnering up with a full-service creative agency to orchestrate a fun experience that was designed to engage with their followers through various social media challenges. For more details on the project, you can refer to this link.
Step 4: Evolution
After some time, companies will need to think about evolving their current brand by updating it. This is done so by giving their brand identity a refresh. In more extreme cases, rebranding might even be considered if the company's main target audience is no longer resonating with the brand in a positive manner.
This aspect is important because keeping up with current trends and staying relevant with consumers is crucial for companies to maintain the brand equity generated from its birth to the present-day situation. After all, when people see an outdated logo, they perceive the business to be out-of-touch with society, alongside all its important events and issues that surround it. To illustrate this point, take a look at this example:
Kokuyo is an organization that aims to enrich the world through innovative products, designed to transform work and all aspects of office life into a better, extraordinary manner.
After 20 years from its inception, the company recognized how far they’ve come in that journey and wanted to commemorate that occasion by celebrating its achievements and the valuable progress made thus far by all its internal stakeholders. To do so, they partnered up with a branding agency to launch a multi-channel communications campaign internally for its 20th anniversary.
Through a combination of branding, social media marketing, print, and packaging design, the company breathed new life into its brand, resulting in creating a positive perception from various stakeholder groups that are crucial to the company’s success going forward. For more details on the project, you can refer to this link.
In short, the fourth phase is about maintaining the positive value generated by the brand thus far, while also getting rid of any ‘negatives’ associated with the company through evolving the brand to current-day standards.
While branding might not be easy for some, getting a branding agency on board can greatly lighten the load, as well as reduce the difficulties that arise from planning to the execution of tasks and activities that are branding-related.