Bringing the brand to life

4th July 2018

When it comes to any kind of branding project – whether it’s a new brand entirely or a refresh for an existing one, it’s vital to have a brand strategy.

The strategy is what aligns the new brand with the business goals and ensures everything is consistent. Only after that strategy is in place, can the creative work which brings the brand to life begin.

Once the brand strategy has been finalised and signed off then a brand agency should take the client’s work to the next stage which is developing a brand proposition.

Some businesses will want to move straight to creating a new logo, colours and fonts, however a brand agency like Frost Creative will look more in-depth to create a complete proposition for how the brand will work.

There are a number of elements which make up a brand proposition for any client – here are the steps we would go through:

The brand truth

The first step in developing a valuable brand proposition for any business is to create the brand truth. Taking the information gathered during the brand strategic planning, the aim is to develop a clear summary of who the brand is and what they stand for.

It’s about getting to the very core of the brand – what does the brand stand for in the eyes of its customers; what is the brand an expert in and what does it do better than anyone else out there?

This is the brand truth and it is the building block for all of the rest of the brand elements. It’s what makes the brand stand out from any others and keeps it real and grounded throughout all the marketing materials.

The proposition statement

The second step is to develop the brand proposition statement – this is also sometimes referred to as the brand promise. It’s a succinct statement which declares what the brand is promising to deliver for its customers.

It should explain how the product or service can solve a problem and the benefits which customers who buy/use it can expect. The statement needs to explain why customers buy from the brand and not any other – it paints a strong picture of what the brand can offer.

This statement is about what customers will expect and how they will hold the brand up against its competitors. It’s vital that this statement is true and honest, and the brand can deliver the promises made within it, if it is to be successful.

The brand values

The brand values are an incredibly important part of the business as they expand upon what the brand stands for in the brand truth. The brand values are what holds the brand together and creates a backbone for it, helping it to stand out among competitors and hold its own in the market.

The brand values explore what the company stands for and how it works to achieve its end goal. The values are ultimately what define the company and how it will go forward into the future.

A customer will look to the brand values to see if they feel the business is aligned with their own values and it can be an important part in the decision-making process about whether or not they use the business services or products.

The positioning lines

More commonly referred to as straplines, these are stand-alone statements which will be used within marketing materials which sum up what the brand stands for and will help to make it instantly recognisable to customers.

The lines will be unique to the business and use wording which encapsulates the brand’s truth and values in a way which customers will instantly relate to and recognise. They will be used across all marketing campaigns, alongside the brand visuals.

There may be one distinct brand positioning line, supported with several campaign or product positioning lines, but always with strict guidance about how and when to use them in any kind of marketing materials.

Brand visuals

Once all of the brand fundamentals have been finalised, only now can the design stage take place to create the brand visuals. This will include final colours, fonts, images and styles and in a brand proposition they will all be led by the strategic work which has gone before.

The visuals will be created to give a client a choice of brand propositions, so will include logo ideas, and how they might look within different marketing collateral types. The aim is to show the client how the brand will look in a number of different ways.

The visuals are what many businesses often think of as “the brand” however, they are just one part of the branding process. The visuals cannot work as a stand-alone- they need all of the rest of the brand proposition to work effectively.

The visuals work with the brand truth, values and proposition statements to create the entire brand identity. This is what makes good brands stand out from the rest – those with strategy and business goals driving the branding, rather than those who make the visuals the key focus.

How the brand works

This final stage is the key stage for us at Frost Creative. It’s about taking all of the brand strategy and brand identity developed so far to show the client how their new brand will actually work.

This phase is the most important one. At this stage it’s about taking all of the brand elements and including sales messaging to demonstrate tone of voice, along with the visual identity, to really demonstrate to a customer how their brand becomes campaign-ready.

This is where we bring the brand to life. The client can instantly see the new brand in its entirety, easily able to understand how the brand values, positioning statements and chosen visuals all work together to entice potential new customers for them.

The importance of starting with strategy

Businesses sometimes think of their brand as just the look and feel of the company but a brand agency should always include a strategic element before the design phase.

However, with the right brand strategy in place, bringing the brand to life becomes far easier as it is aligned with business ideas and plans, and is not just a case of a pretty logo.

With brand strategy as the starting point, the brand identity will work much harder for the business, pulling together the proposition and values so that customers start to recognise and relate to the brand and its products immediately.

A brand that has been brought to life effectively, following all of the right steps, will support business growth and become a tool for the company to use to attract more of the right customers – it is way more than just a logo.

Starting with a strategy means that when it comes to the brand proposition stage the client will have a much clearer, sharper idea of how their brand is going to work out in the market, whether through packaging, advertising, promotions or any other marketing method. The brand proposition brings the brand to life by demonstrating clearly how it will support business goals.

For any business that is serious about creating a brand which works it’s important to choose a brand agency which will work on a strategic level to create a working brand proposition for the company.

No matter what size your company is or what budget you have, at Frost Creative we will always start with strategy first. We are a complete brand agency and can help you with every stage, from brand strategy to implementing the new brand. If you’d like to talk to us about help with your brand or rebranding project, get in touch today.