This seven-stage method costs a fraction of what a branding agency would charge and can be completed in less than three weeks. For most companies this a GBP20,000 exercise, but do ask.
1. The client condenses as much data as possible that might influence future brand direction. This will include all recent marketing materials and any strategic thinking that has been written down or enacted. It will also include any opinions that the client holds strongly. I assimilate and understand this initial shape as part of the briefing process.
2. Senior clients answer three questions (see below). This can either be done online in a few minutes, or can be the subject of a more reflective awayday facilitated by me. Taking the time to have an awayday at this point is preferred because it will most likely improve levels of understanding for the subsequent stages.
3. Staff opinion can be solicited via the same three questions online. The findings are co-ordinated by the client and given to me. Assuming up to 100 replies, it will take two days to distil the findings into a manageable mass of information. (This stage can be avoided if the management wish to set the direction on their own, or if there are too few staff for it to be a consideration).
4. I take all three sets of data and generate a large number of expressions (probably around 50) that convey the collective spirit of the company or brand. These can be viewed as straplines, but will also most likely form the basis of many other communications platforms such as internal communications programmes and training themes. They are intended to have the same sort of resonance as The future's bright. The future's Orange.
5. These are presented to senior management a week later. One theme is agreed, and favoured runners up can be earmarked for other uses such as presentation themes.
6. The resulting theme will be validated against all the distilled information so far. This new branding direction is honed into a final statement of intent to ensure that staff convey the style and zeal necessary to convince customers of the potential of the company or brand.
7. We then decide which marketing materials will best communicate the new direction. It is important to complete all the preceding phases without pre-supposing what these will be so that the whole process remains open-minded.
1. WHAT WE ARE
Describe what the company/brand is in less than 10 seconds
eg. WE ARE ____________________________________________
2. WHAT WE DO
Describe what the company/brand does in less than 30 seconds
eg. WE DO__________________FOR/IN/TO THE _________WORLD
3. WHAT WE ARE LIKE
Describe what the company/brand is like to interact with in less than 30 seconds
eg. WE DESCRIBE OURSELVES AS ___________________________
These questions will reveal diamonds in the dust, things that you already do well but do not necessarily articulate or publicise.
Assimilation of condensed data: 1 day
Management response to questions: 1 day
Collating data from staff responses: 2 days
Creation of brand expressions: 2 days
Presentation of brand expressions: 1 day
Validation and brand statement: 1 day
Marketing materials: Separate
Typical time span 8-10 days over 2-3 weeks