07 March 2014
Shaun Westgate, Managing Director

The branding process made easy

How to develop a brand

The branding process
We have been creating and developing brands for some of the biggest companies and organisations in the world. Over that time, we have developed and honed a simple, step-by-step creative process to ensure that highly effective results are achieved for our clients.

Brand audits
This is our very first step to getting to know the existing brand, its values and customer behaviours and how it communicates all its key messages. Most importantly, we need to understand how effective the brand engages with its key audiences, on and offline.

We do this by reviewing all the key aspects, including the logo, all brand and marketing collateral on and offline. We then produce a critique of what is working well and what needs attention. Within this part of the process, we will also assess how the brand performs in comparison to its competition.

Interviews and workshops
Working with a carefully developed questionnaire, we conduct interviews with a complete cross section of people within the brand's organisation, as well as key customers or clients. This is very much a fact-finding mission and gives us both brand and business insights into what is working and what is not. This process also gives key personnel the platform to suggest ideas that could help enhance brand communications and of course business performance. Depending on the type of organisation, a more collective approach may be taken, and we can involve key individuals in creative workshops to help start shaping the brand.

Research and analysis
After the workshop phase, we will then conduct some targeted research where we believe there are gaps in our findings, to develop our understanding of the current brand and business situation. We will then compile our findings into a report on how the organisation is perceived, why it is seen that way and then we will outline any ideas or thoughts that been generated from the process so far.

Developing the brand narrative
With this research and analysis we are able to develop a unique brand narrative. This is a blend of the brand positioning and key sales messages combined with the story of a company's past, plus its current and future plans. The brand narrative we develop focuses on a brand's most positive aspects to ensure customer and client engagement. Then, we present our key findings to the client with our recommendations and a full outline of the brand narrative. This is then used as the bedrock for the subsequent creative design process.

Devising the core thought
Using everything we have learnt about the brand we will then devise the brand's core thought.

The core thought is the most succinct articulation of an organisation's unique positioning. This is articulated in a simple sentence or a short paragraph and is used to create an original and compelling strapline that key audiences can engage with. This will invariably appear alongside the company logo.

Designing the brand logo
At this stage, we have a very clear view of the brand's unique positioning. So we are now able to create logo designs that reflects the true essence of the brand. This is a very creative stage where incredible amounts of ideas can be generated.

Creating the 'look and feel'
We then design the visual creative environment – or how a brand communicates on and offline. This will reflect the essence of the brand including elements such as the style of images, colour, typography and tone of voice.

Producing the guidelines
Once the new logo and 'look and feel' is developed, clear brand guidelines need to be created, ensuring all parties develop communications collateral that is effective and consistent. A typical brand identity is composed of a number of graphic elements that come together to create a distinctive brand. The brand guidelines will explain how these elements should be applied. Used properly, these guidelines will help create far more engaging brand communications that truly reflects the brand and it's values.

At Westgate, we have a long track-record in carrying out rebranding exercises so if you are looking for a new brand or simply a brand refresh that will create real commercial impact, please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or one of the creative team here.

shaun@westgatecomms.com



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