Have you ever wondered what makes a successful brand? Well, it’s a lot of different things, but it all depends on having a strategic and creative process. Today I’d like to share how Klasik utilizes discovery sessions in the branding process, and give you tips on how you can implement these steps if you’d like to do your own branding or just gain some new insights into your business. I’d also like to note that there isn’t one set of rules on what a discovery session should consist of, but these steps are what I believe to be the most important when trying to gain a deeper understanding of your business and brand. While this post is specifically tied to branding projects, discovery sessions are also used for developing websites, social media presences, and products or services. Let’s get started!
An overview of the discovery process
To give you a better idea of how we facilitate discovery meetings, and to also give you some tips on how you can try this out for yourself, let’s take a look at some of the key phases.
1. Audience personas
WHAT IT IS: Also known as user or customer or consumer personas, this information helps us gain crucial insight into who your brand will be serving. For each project I usually create 2-3 different target personas that serve as representations of potential target markets or audiences. This number is more of a rule of thumb and is based on my past experience as being most effective. For your project it depends on what types of users exist within your audience. Each user has different goals and needs, but with personas we do our best to narrow them down into a few general groups to help inform our decision making process. If we had just 1 persona we wouldn’t be able to get a broad enough view of our audiences, and more than 3 personas can be very difficult to keep track of.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE PROCESS: Audience personas help us create more humanized representations of target markets. We can more easily keep our creative strategy and design materials in check if we’re able to also point towards a person and ask ourselves “Would this person enjoy this aspect about our brand?”. For example, when working on the branding for Ambedo Media, I was able to define 2 primary audience personas:
1.) young creatives seeking to promote their arts and
2.) PR and marketing professionals looking to promote their business in a dignified and premium manner.
This greatly guided our entire creative process throughout the next phases.
HOW YOU CAN USE IT: I take into consideration many variables that can affect a user’s everyday decision making. While this doesn’t have a single solution for every project, here are some general questions you can ask yourself when developing an audience persona:
- What’s life stage are they currently in?
- Where are they from?
- What’s their occupation?
- How much is their annual salary? How much are they willing to pay for your product?
- What are their hobbies?
- How do they spend their free time?
- What activities do they enjoy?
- Relationship status?
- What are some of their expectations and desires? Both short term and long term
- What are they passionate about? How does your brand fit in?
It can also be useful to give your personas names and use some stock photographs to help create a clearer visual representation of your persona.
2. Business goals
WHAT IT IS: Defining business goals helps everyone involved understand what you are looking to achieve with the (re)branding project. I use this phase to define how your goals can align with the needs of your audience.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE PROCESS: By being able to gain clarity and understanding of your goals I can see how your brand is creating value for your customers, but I also use this part of the process to compare the goals with the defined audience personas. This way, we can compare our previously defined audience personas with new insights about your business goals.
HOW YOU CAN USE IT: This is a very popular topic and searching online can give you a lot of very good tips on how to properly define business goals, but here’s what I think are the top 3 things you should keep in mind:
- Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based)
- Stay optimistic, but don’t forget to also be realistic of what you can or can’t achieve
- Set long- and short-term goals, then divide them up into 4 major categories
3. Brand matrix
WHAT IT IS: With the brand matrix (sometimes referred to as the brand product matrix) we’re able to define and articulate 9 key aspects of your brand. They are as follows: Brand Core or Promise, Expression, Personality, Mission & Vision, Culture, Competences or Skillsets, Value Proposition, Relationships, Position. This model has been showcased around a bit, but the most comprehensive example I’ve found is by Stephen A. Greyser and Mats Urde. If you’d like a deeper dive on the brand matrix subject, I definitely recommend checking their guide as well. The model we use is based on their brand matrix but we have modified it a bit for previous project needs and I feel this to be working best for Klasik.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE PROCESS: By gaining an understanding of your brand and defining this matrix we will have a final guideline for developing the strategy, brand direction, style, tone of voice, personality and content. Helping everyone stay on the same page is one of the most important factors when developing a unique brand identity.
HOW YOU CAN USE IT:
How I can help
One thing to note about all of the discovery phases - there’s never too much information! You will have to sort through all of the information at the end, but every bit can be helpful for guiding the process.
I hope this short guide can help you gain a deeper understanding of your brand or service. When using a discovery process to gather information about your business and audiences, it can become a bit difficult or you might feel like you’re going in circles when working on it alone. So I highly recommend working with 2-3 more people to help diversify your thinking process and gain different perspectives.
As I mentioned in my previous post, if your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm offering free discovery sessions to help you get a better idea of your brand and needs, so if you’d like to gain new insights about your business and brand, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Stay home and stay safe.