If you haven’t read Susan Nettle’s blog on the importance of developing your brand’s unique value proposition (UVP), you should start there. I’m going to build on her UVP foundation and talk about how that guides Brand Direction, which is the phase when we concept what your brand will look and sound like.
But let’s take a step back before we move forward. To define your UVP, as well as give your brand direction, we use our proprietary process called THIRST®. There are three phases to THIRST: Brand Assessment, Brand Definition and Brand Direction.
During Brand Assessment we evaluate where you’ve been, by analyzing internal and external communications, competitors, audiences, SWOT, etc.
From there we start to define your brand with Brand Definition, by developing personality, positioning, messaging and your UVP – everything that helps you stand out from your competitors.
All of which helps to point us in the right direction when we concept your Brand Direction, which is what I’m going to talk about.
As an associate creative director at R+M, I recognize it’s hard work to dig into where you’ve been and where you need to go. There’s lots of questions, phone calls, meetings, emails, etc. But it all pays off at this phase. The more we accomplish in the first two phases, the stronger your Brand Direction will be. Believe me.
So what happens during this phase? We start by building a “war room” stocked with information, insight and inspiration we gathered during the first two phases taped to the wall. This is where we start concepting, looking for those special ideas that communicate your UVP and resonate with your customers on an emotional level. We call it “Creative That Sticks,” which means it’s unique, smart and strategic.
To get there it takes thinking about your brand constantly – in the shower, at the grocery store, while watching TV, while talking to our families, which is usually when the nugget of an idea pops up.
Then we form this nugget into a real idea with legs and a brain and a heart and courage. How does it translate to a tradeshow experience? What does it look like on your website? How does it sound in every touch point your brand has with your customers and prospects? Then we seek out another one.
When we present the two Brand Direction concepts, they will take the form of “posters,” with imagery, a headline and your logo. We want to make sure the ideas can be conveyed clearly and simply – the sign of a smart idea.
There will be rationale that clearly articulates the thinking behind each component. We will provide additional samples imagery/visual style, an example of how we reimagine your brand voice to sound, as well as color palette allocation.
From there we will take the selected concept, give it shape and start applying it strategically to every aspect of your brand. Consistency is key and the Brand Direction is that foundation to be referred to both externally and internally.
As a primer to better understand the importance of developing a compelling UVP, we highly recommend downloading our article “The Top Five Factors That Drive UVP Success.”