Research begins the creative process on a solid shared understanding of the brand. This shared understanding ensures when Pulsar is designing your brand identity the brand is built on a solid foundation. Research exposes various facets of your brand to scrutiny in turn shedding light to areas of improvement.
Research reduces and/or eliminates risk as the brand will be built from an informed point of view. Below is a summary of what we do when carrying out research.
Understanding your brand’s market.
The first step is to understand the market you are operating in. The breadth and depth of this step is determined by one’s budget and size of target market. A novelty product may require collection of primary data in the market. At times resources may require we only use sources of secondary data. The main information being targeted here is an understanding of your target market.
Understanding the brand is for the customer not the owner.
Developing an identity centred on the user/customer lends the brand credence to its target market. This informs on design solutions and puts the customer at the centre of the process. This is where business owners need to let go and understand the brand is ultimately for their consumers. This then improves profitability by reducing costly mistakes that can head out to production.
Understanding where the brand is coming from and where it is going.
This is an examination of where the brand is coming from; a current situational analysis. We examine your current brand identity and historical identities if available. We will also examine various facets of your marketing including but not limited to:
- Current sales, marketing literature (online, offline, above and below the line communications) and business stationery including receipts, letterheads etc
- Internal communication processes i.e. the decision making process, communication responsibilities within the organisation
- Current retail solutions i.e. packaging, promotional materials, display, and merchandise
- Key employees responsible for the current brand i.e. in-house designer, marketing managers, In-house webmaster
- Attitude to existing brand identity
We then organise the above information so that it is easy to retrieve and reference as the branding process continues.
Understanding your industry to develop a compelling positioning strategy.
Inventions come few and far apart, and even then, they do get competition. The first task here is to identify the industry your brand operates in. Not forgetting Michael Porter, we look at some of the five forces influencing any industry including competitive rivalry and the other four forces (bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of consumers, barriers to entry/exit, and threat of substitutes).
It is important to look at competition from a broader scope than the traditional approach above i.e. the five forces. The solution you seek to provide is competing for the same customer’s pocket. What is it that your brand can do to convince your customer to spend on your solution?
Regardless of the scale of the branding project, we identify consumers using the competitor’s product and why. Go through websites, visit shops, buy their products/services if need be, listen to sales pitch, and engage their customer service. We also examine their visual identity and brand architecture.
This stage should yield a compelling positioning strategy for your brand including key messages i.e. mission, tagline, themes.
Creating a persona for your brand.
This stage involves a couple of activities including developing a tone and voice for your brand. Firstly, though, we evaluate the language used in brand communications. This is not forgetting the cultural dynamics within the country of operation.
Language is an important aspect of the brand. It is a key tool that connects your brand to the customer. From the naming of your brand, to your brand’s aspirations e.g. mission and vision, and to building content for your customers; it is all about the language.
Create a stronger brand by narrowing your focus.
At the end of the research process, we gain clarity from information gathered. Clarity in vision, strategies, goals and values. The brand is then able to narrow its focus by clarifying its positioning. Brand attributes can further be developed from this process.
The research process is a scientific process. Information gathered removes guesswork from the branding process, focuses on objectivity and removes any subjective opinion from it. The main aim here is to achieve agreement between the branding agency, Pulsar, and your brand.
Achieving agreement gives the green light to the next phase of the branding process including developing key messages or even a naming strategy.