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Strategic Brand Planning Services

The success of any branding project stems from a thorough approach to planning and preparation before any type of implementation takes place.

Brand planning involves identifying existing customer perceptions through a brand audit, understanding the emotional connection the brand has with its customers through brand positioning, and defining the brand essence, which looks at how the brand communicates its core values.

Our Brand Audit Process

Creating a clear overview of your brand requirements.

All brand projects start with establishing a clear understanding and exploration of the client, the organisation or business, products or services the brand represents. This helps to establish agreement on the parameters of the project, what the client’s expectations are and what is expected of them.

Brand exploration - creating understanding through three simple exercises

Brand Attributes

A dive into six areas of a brand: 

Culture what would they describe the atmosphere, expectations and values of their organisation? Is this particular brand part of a wider relationship within an organisation? Where does this brand sit within that?

Customers - How would they describe their target customers; their demographics, needs, goals and story?

Voice - How do they think they sound to others?

Feeling - How do they want customers to feel after experiencing their brand and interacting with them?

Impact - How do they improve customers’ lives? 

Distinction - What makes them special or different to their competitors? Who are their competitors? Where do they see themselves positioned within that market? 

Company/project statement of intent

This should involve clarifying the exact name of the brand - is this how they would want to be known from their logo/branding? It should also clarify the exact intent of the project in one succinct statement. Overall the statement provides alignment of intent between decision makers and stakeholders.

Writing customer profiles 

This involves creating three realistic and detailed profiles for your archetypal customer. By archetype we mean that each should be detailed enough to be empathised with and clearly pictured, but not be based on any one person. Each ‘customer’ is given the one name with surname but they are also assigned an archetype title. Once this is established we will then define details around their demographic; facts such as age, marital status and income. We create a detailed story of what their day to day looks like and what challenges or pain points they face or needs they want to fulfil to be happier and healthier. The last step is to assess how the organisation/business can meet those needs- this could start to give us an idea of what applications they may require as a company, or even suggest more we can do for them. 

Brand Positioning - carving out your brands niche

With so much choice in the world, the competition customer’s attention is fierce. Consumers are inundated with choices. In order to engage with them with your organisation, those helping to build your brand must think both imaginatively and strategically. Strategy cannot simply focus on the point of sale but rather the entire experience. If brand builders are able to apply business acumen, creative thinking and understanding of a customer's needs then they can engineer a one of a kind customer experience which can not be replicated by competitors.

Those involved in investigation use the adage; ‘every contact leads a trace’ and when you’re positioning your brand it’s worth remembering the same is true for customer experience. It is imperative every interaction with your customer is viewed as an opportunity. If the customer experiences you create are truly compelling then not only will you be able to command a premium, but also increase the loyalty of existing customers. Customers who love your brand are the cheapest form of marketing as they will share their positive experiences promotion via word of mouth and social media and thus attract new customers. It is always worth remembering that the opposite is true of a bad experience as that too will be remembered and shared, tarnishing your brand.

This is where brand positioning is vital as it creates that distinction from competitors by deliberately designing the brand in such a way it occupies a specific place in the minds and hearts of the target market.

As the market place has become crowded, it is harder and harder to carve out that place in someone's mind merely through targeted messaging. Whereas before a well placed television advert with a catchy jingle may be sung for years to come, these channels are increasingly diversifying and opening out and in doing so becoming diluted as viewing habits and daily patterns change. This is why experience is key. 

A created experience should be a deliberate offering which not only engages customers economically, but builds positive memories for them which last. This should be true even for relatively mundane tasks or transactions. This can be either physically in brick and mortar stores or venues, or it can be online employing specific user experience design and immaculate web development to create a smooth and frustration free space which not only serves your customer well but delights them.

Brand Essence - defining what your identity is

Brand essence is simply how you would define the heart and soul of your brand. It stands at the very centre of any strategy for growth and draws together elements of your brand. Brand essence is a combination of your brand goals, what you do as a brand ( your USP) and your brand values. It is the DNA that creates exactly what your brand is and it’s essential for any marketing campaign, as ultimately you can not communicate what your brand is to your customer and convey it to them effectively if you don’t yourself understand it. 

When a brand clearly stands for something, be that an idea, a set of values, a distinctive voice or a strategic position, they become more powerful. This is because the brand is associated with something extra which helps it stick in the memory of your customer in a way which stands out. 

Brand essence creates an aura of authenticity for your brand, In psychological terms, authenticity concerns self-knowledge and how that self knowledge then helps inform decisions in line with that. If an organisation truly understands who and what they are organisations who know who they are, what they want to stand for, the process of building an identity begins on the strongest of foundations. Customers do not like being misled or mis sold fakes, so a brand which is genuine and delivers on the promises they offer because they are self assured in who they are as a business builds trust and confidence. How brand essence is expressed therefore must be appropriate to the business or organisation and so will be unique to their history, culture, values, and mission.

Got an upcoming project?

Let's talk. Call us on 0330 2233 182 or contact us.