id8 is pioneering a high-performing branding agency with a unique “Customer Experience” approach. And we know that when people interact with your brand, there’s an opportunity to create memorable experiences and build true brand engagement.
We create transformative brand experiences and connect your audience to your brand story to foster brand loyalty.
We understand consumer behavior, brand strategy, and marketing. Our experience provides us with unique expertise. We deliver brand strategies that will support the success of businesses for years to come.
id8 has established a proprietary process for branding and rebranding high-end corporate companies.
Our branding process consists of four phases:
Phase 1 – Discovery – The Branding Process
Step one of the branding process is the Brand Discovery phase. At id8, this phase is a 6-step process that we use for our corporate branding clients. This process ensures that we understand every part of your business. Through this process, we also gain a thorough understanding of your ideal customer or target. A powerful brand encompasses the identity of your business, employees, and target audience. When a brand is sustainable, it supports the long-term goals and success of the company.
Have you ever received advice or recommendations from someone who didn’t know you? If so, then you know that advice is often not particularly useful. It’s the same when an agency gives your recommendations about your company. A strong branding company should observe your business and know the ins and outs of what you offer and how you operate.
This is important to your future success. Your brand is not just a logo and a tagline. Your brand represents you, your employees, your values, and the culture of your company.
We make it a point to observe your business in action. We watch and take notes as we study different facets of your business. Our goal is to observe internal and external interactions, workflow, and communications. From production to customer service to executive management, we want a complete analysis.
The snippets of life in your business help to paint a picture for the story of your business.
The Comprehensive Brand Audit
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a process of building a detailed analysis of your position in the marketplace. The assessment reveals your brand’s strengths and weaknesses. This assessment allows id8 to strategically point out potential areas of focus. An effective brand audit should provide insight on how to strengthen your brand.
Depending on the size of your business, you can expect the brand audit report to be anywhere from 30 – 300 pages.
This is one of the most important steps of the branding process. You should not rush this step.
We often get asked, “How long will it take to complete a brand audit?” The average time to complete a brand audit depends on…
Business Size – Number of Employees
Structure – Number of Office Locations
Complexity – Number of Different Aspects of Your Business
Reach – Number of Countries Where Your Marketing Materials Are Used
Why you need a brand audit?
In an abstract sense, a brand is a promise to your customers. Your brand represents and supports that promise. A brand audit will uncover if your customers think you are delivering on your promise.
If you do not conduct a brand audit, your competitors have a chance to gain market share in your industry.
What is included in a brand audit?
The brand audit step of the branding process covers a lot of different parts of the business. To understand a brand audit, it may be easier to break it down into 3 categories. This perspective will give you a helpful overview.
3 categories of a brand audit:
Internal Branding – What Does Your Brand Mean to The People Who Work There
• Company Culture
• Brand Values
• Brand Story
External Branding – What Does Your Brand Mean to The Public
• Print and Online Advertising
• Marketing Materials
• Public Relations
• Social Media Presence
• Email Marketing
• Content Marketing
Customer Experience – What Does Your Brand Mean to Customers
• Sales Process
• Customer Support
• Customer Service Policies
Brand Equity Analysis
A brand equity analysis is another exercise and tool that measures your brand. It can help you discover if your business should complete the full branding process.
A brand equity analysis is a little like a brand audit, except an equity analysis will help a business determine if their branding is in need of a change. A full explanation is not necessary here. If you want to know whether your company needs to go through the entire branding process, this can help.
Competitor Research and Analysis
At id8, we often have discussions about what is the most important step of the branding process. Yes, every step is important. But the competitor research and analysis step is at the top of the list.
Why is the competitor analysis so Important?
The importance of competitor analysis lies within the data. When you perform an analysis of your competitors, you may find their areas of weakness. Where your competitors fail, you might find an opportunity. Your ability to fill the gaps may lead to a new competitive advantage.
The easiest way to gain market share is to do something better than any of your competitors.
At id8, our branding process includes competitor analysis. We can assist the needs of your company. If you’re considering an audit to assess your company, look over this case study and give us a call!
Internal Analysis and Employee Interviews
Empower your employees and let them help with the branding process. Employees are the oxygen that allows your company to breathe and grow. The side of your business that deals with customers will know a lot about how your company is performing.
Conducting employee interviews is a time-consuming step in the branding process. Yet, it is crucial that you do not rush through this. These interviews should occur face-to-face, through a virtual or in-person meeting. Employee interviews provide valuable insights into the inner workings of your business. It’s important to note that the data gathered from these interviews is anonymous.
You should factor employee feedback into the branding process for two reasons. First, you can learn a lot about the inner workings of companies from the employees. Second, you want the employees to buy into the new brand, so make them a part of the branding process.
There are four key pieces of information you get from employee interviews.
- What is the company doing well from an internal perspective?
- Should the business do something different?
- What does the company do for employee engagement?
- What does the company do for employee retention?
The information collected during employee interviews guides both the internal and external branding process.
Target Audience Research
Who is your target audience? What do they want from your business? How do they prefer to communicate? What form of media do they prefer?
During target audience research, we ask these questions and more to dig deeper into your business. This is the last step of the Discovery phase.
This step of the process is what will help you build a rock-solid buyer persona. Effective target audience research will enable your business to improve communications and reach. By taking the time to research, you’ll spend less time and money going after the wrong type of client. Gain more of the right audience with more information and accurate analysis.
How Does Target Audience Research Save Money?
Target Audience Research delivers data that directs your buyer personas. These are also called customer personas. Buyer personas will tell your business how to best reach that type of customer. The data set will contain detailed profiles of their sociographic and psychographic characteristics.
This is the roadmap for where you can reach that customer and what to say when you get your message in front of them.
Your target audience is not limited to one customer persona. A target audience is anyone who needs or wants your product. Businesses may have many customer personas.
Buyer or customer personas are one of the best tools your brand may use. They are a must-have for any business undergoing the branding process.
That was a brief overview of the Discovery phase. At the end of the Discovery phase, the results reveal windows of opportunity for improvement and growth. This brings us to phase two of the branding process.
Phase 2 – Creative – Branding Process
Now it’s time to cement your brand in the mind of your audience and separate your company from the competition.
After we collect the data in the first phase of the branding process, we analyze the data. At id8, our team’s analysis from the data serves as the foundation for developing a brand strategy. As experienced branding and strategy professionals, our analysis supports the core brand messaging. This second phase of the branding process should ensure audience connections and engagement.
Step 1 – Produce a Comprehensive Brand Strategy
Brand strategy development needs a concentrated effort from many departments. Having open lines of communication is essential for success during this step.
What Is a Comprehensive Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is a plan that identifies specific and long-term goals to achieve. Your brand strategy outlines specific rules and guidelines for communicating your brand message. Focus on determining answers to these questions: Who, What, When, Where, and How.
This roadmap ensures brand message consistency over time. As a result, an effective brand strategy increases your brand equity. Read more about brand Positioning and Messaging.
Why You Need a Comprehensive Brand Strategy
The Brand Strategy is an essential step of the branding process for long-term success. This is how you will future-proof your brand. You should have a step-by-step strategy guide with internal and external triggers. These triggers identify when to use a new part of your brand strategy.
What Does a Comprehensive Brand Strategy Include?
A comprehensive brand strategy is an 8-part document. All marketing, business development, and customer and employee communication efforts should refer to it.
Define your Why!
This is your mission statement. The mission statement will guide all future efforts. Your business will refer back to this whenever there is a new offering or a new marketing campaign. When you refer back to the mission statement you can be sure that everything your business is doing matches your mission statement.
It is important to note… Your mission statement does not change to match what you are doing, but what you are doing changes to match your mission statement.
What do you want your customers to feel?
To be specific, what do you want your customers to experience when they interact with your brand? Consider the following touchpoints:
- Company Website
- Customer Service Department
- Marketing Materials
- Business Operations
Brand personality combines human traits into one cohesive guide. Your Brand Personality consists of three things:
This part of the Creative phase combines your customer knowledge and brand values. A clear brand personality creates consistency across the entire customer experience. This is important when there are many ways for customers to learn about your brand.
The brand consistency ensures all materials produced match your brand identity. Customers prefer your brand because of the identity built around your brand. If something you produce does not align with your brand, it can harm your business and reputation. A lack of consistency will weaken your brand. Read more about branded materials and corporate branding.
To have brand consistency is to have familiarity and loyalty with your customers.
The most successful brands in the world leverage emotions. Everyone loves to feel good. By associating your brand with positive feelings, you’ll see your customer base grow.
The best example of this is Coca-Cola. Watch any Coke commercial and you will see how they are connecting their brand with emotions.
Brand loyalty is so important. Your loyal customers and clients help sell your product or service and you don’t have to do anything.
Your most loyal customers and clients are brand advocates. Loyal customers support your business by selling and promoting your brand. It’s important to recognize their contributions and reward their loyalty. This is why so many businesses have rewards programs. Look at some of the major credit card companies and the rewards they offer to cardholders.
Brand values are at the core of every part of your business. These values should guide your business decisions and actions.
Brand values help to build the company culture you want. On a larger scale, you can use this as a guide for taking a stance on current issues. You should be open and public about your brand values.
Step 1 – Brand Employee Embodiment
The image you portray to the public is the same image you want your employees to embody. Brand Employee Embodiment ensures consistency between internal and external interactions with your brand. Regardless of who customers interact with or how customers interact, consistency is key. Customers should have the same brand experience during any interaction with your employees.
Step 2 – The Brainstorm Sessions
Brainstorming sessions are a common practice at id8. We leverage these to create ideas for your brand assets. This is one of the most exciting parts of the branding process.
This is also one of the fastest steps in the branding process. With this step in the Creative phase, our goal to generate a master list of ideas for refinement.
Step 3 – Develop a Brand Identity
Brand Identity encompasses all visual aspects of a brand. These aspects include color, design, typography, and logo. Customers and prospects use these visuals to identify your brand.
Up to this point, the branding process has focused on research and information. Now, the brand starts to take shape.
Here is a list that breaks down everything you should have, after this step in the Creative phase.
- Primary Logo / Wordmark
- Primary Logo Variants / Secondary Logos / Sub-brand Logos
- Primary Brand Colors
- Secondary Color Palette
- Images and Content Styles
- Graphical Elements
- Style Guide / Brand Guidelines
- Social Media Identity
This may seem like a lot of work, but compared to previous steps and phases, this step only requires production. Steps that focus on gathering information and data take longer than producing assets.
At id8, we produce assets in-house, then compile them into a full report for clients to review.
Step 4 – Building a Brand Story
By completing the previous steps, we gain the information needed to build a brand story. Your brand story should paint you as the hero that everyone roots for in any story.
This is your origin story. It should be relatable and truthful. You want to cover how you got started and why, and you also want to include the trials that you have had to overcome. A great story allows the reader to see themselves in that role or relate to that role from their struggles.
A good brand story establishes your authenticity. This authenticity will resonate with your target audience. The result is greater brand affinity, brand loyalty, and sales growth.
Phase 3 – Execution – Branding Process
At id8, the Execution phase of the branding process is all about the deliverables. This is the part of the process when we deliver the created assets and reports.
This is a collaborative phase. Branding agencies are not likely to just hand over the reports and make the clients go through them on their own.
The best branding agencies use this opportunity to build their client relationship. This phase includes meetings and presentations with all levels of your business. We explain the new direction of the brand and answer any questions.
What Is the Execution Phase?
The Execution phase is the culmination of all work completed in the previous steps. You’ll see everything assembled into an easy guide for all employees to reference and use.
There are two important deliverables of the Execution phase.
Delivery of The Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is a very specific set of brand guidelines for how to present a brand. These guidelines start with covering logo usage, typography, colors, and imagery. These are the staples of most brand style guides. Brand style guides can also include such things as letterhead and PowerPoint presentations.
This document is set up for easy reference to ensure consistency across your brand for years to come.
At id8, we deliver your brand style guide via in-person presentation. This allows better communication between the agency and your company’s stakeholders and executives. The presentation is an open forum to address questions and concerns.
Keep in mind this is an opportunity to strengthen an existing relationship. In-person interactions are essential for deepening those relationships.
Staff Training and Brand Presentation
After we deliver the brand style guide and address any concerns, training begins. You will introduce your new brand to employees and train them on ways to support it.
This should be an exciting and fun phase. We cannot overstate the importance of employee support for new branding. This experience needs to be positive, engaging, and inclusive.
Phase 4 – Launch – Branding Process
The fourth phase of the branding process is Launch. The brand Launch phase consists of two parts: internal and external.
We talked about this in Phase 3 – Execution and even included an employee presentation. The difference in this phase is the action of training for employees.
What is an internal brand launch?
The internal brand launch consists of small to medium-sized training classes. These classes educate employees on the new brand. Some branding agencies may overlook this part of the branding process. We recommend starting with the internal brand launch. It is easier for customers to accept a new brand when they interact with employees who have embraced it.
What is an external brand launch?
You have reached the end of the branding process!
You should have the assets in place to update your company branding across all channels. Now you can finally reveal your new brand to the world.
Does your company need a brand review? Let’s Talk. Contact us about your brand today!