Questions to answer before you start a branding process
A list of questions you shouldn't start a branding process without thinking through
These are the first questions I ask a new client in the beginning of each branding process.
Clients and designers alike can often focus on the "visual fit" of their brand and neglect how important having a background and strategy are tied to the outcome and success of the branding process. Creating a brand that tells a story speaks on a deeper level and will connect your client emotionally to their brand, so they can do the same as they tell the story to their audience.
What is the long-term goal of your company?
Your company’s fundamental purpose. Why does this company exist?
Your company’s unique value. What is/will be the brand known for?
Key beliefs of your company
How will people learn about your company?
What specific challenges does your company face?
Who are your main competitors?
What sets your company apart from the competitors?
Target Market Demographic
Who is your audience?
What drives your target market? What do they care about and why would they choose your product?
What are you looking to achieve with your new brand? What's wrong with your current brand, if you have an identity already. What would make this process a success?
What do you want your audience to see/feel/think when they interact with or think about your brand?
What are 5 words you want to be associated with your company? (Ex: Modern, neutral, traditional, playful, luxurious, serious, etc.)
What are 3 brands that have identities that inspire you and you believe that you believe your audience relates to? Note the specifics.
Are there stories you often find yourself telling people about your company? Tell me more.
Symbols & Icons
Are there any symbols that come to mind when you think of your brand?
Are there any colors you’re drawn to for the brand? Why?
Keep these ideas close throughout your process
And most importantly, after I have a deep understanding of these topics, they inform the decisions I make on the visual side. But I don't expect the client to understand that on their own; I have to keep talking about these ideas and themes throughout the creative process. I am always explaining how these ideas are unfolding in the design directions I show them. I'm verbalizing how my creative direction feels, say playful, and why this specific visual mark will work perfectly for the applications they'll actually use as a brand.
While explaining the rationale behind visuals might be obvious to you, if you're a designer, you start to build trust and empathy with your client when you help them see it too, and this gives them confidence in you and their brand.
Did you find these questions helpful? Are there other questions you think are essential to a branding process? Email me at email@example.com with thoughts or questions, or ideas about branding you want to hear more about.