Taking the first steps toward a new brand
You’ve developed the RFP. You’ve been through procurement. You’ve read through a myriad of proposals. You’ve interviewed firms who seemed like they really understand what your organization needs and what you’re looking for. You clicked with a particular team, and you’ve made your selection. Congratulations: you’ve arrived at the beginning of the branding process—be it name generation or visual identity development.
Now, the real work begins.
Focus on the process, not just the deliverables
There is often a temptation to move quickly and get to the final solution, especially when you feel you’ve engaged a firm who you feel “gets it.” While the destination is important, what gets you there with confidence is the culmination of a strategic, objective process.
It’s a multi-step exercise that helps to ensure that the decisions you make are made for the right reasons. It also creates strong buy-in, helping your organization along with you on this branding journey by having everyone “speak the same language.” By using words such as “effective,” “memorable,” or “off-/on-target,” rather than “nice,” “odd,” or – worse yet – “I like/don’t like,” you will foster a more effective working relationship with your branding firm, and provide them with actionable and tangible feedback to work with as you proceed along the branding journey.
Committing to the process is sometimes seen as time consuming, but in the end, it helps remove the guesswork that occurs when the firm you’ve engaged is trying to decipher feedback to a creative presentation. It helps them find the solutions that will in turn create a distinctive and effective brand.
1) Ask questions that lead to fresh ideas
The right answers come from asking the right questions. These questions may mean letting go of some preconceived notions and opening up the floor to different perspectives. They may confirm your notions, put forward a new consideration, or even provide a gold nugget that can really get you to the heart of the matter.
2) Review strategically—not emotionally
Turn a subjective exercise into an objective one. View creative through the lens of, “What supports our business goals best?” instead of, “What do I like best?” Having asked the questions in this way, you can base your decision-making on a strategic set of criteria, rather than an emotional set.
3) Reframe opinions into criteria
Strategic, objective criteria is the best way to reframe subjective and emotional options into usable feedback. Going through a well-defined process reduces uncertainty amongst team members by providing a consistent framework for decision-making that allows people to measure and, importantly, get behind the new brand.
The right process will lead to the right outcome
Following a well-mapped-out process allows decisions to be made based on “what we need” rather than just “what we like in this moment”—ultimately ensuring you arrive naturally at the destination: a strong brand identity that is both memorable and distinctive.