The Brand Insight workshop - What is it and why do we do it?

Why undertaking a Brand Insight workshop is a vital stage of any branding project

October 16, 2020

Companies that choose to invest in their brand with a design agency should expect a strategic approach to the branding process. Typically, this will involve the company stakeholders and decision-makers coming together in a structured workshop or meeting with their design agency to answer a series of questions and undertake exercises to build a clear picture and develop a unified vision for the company brand, long before any design work takes place.

Often it is the design agency’s approach to the strategic side of brand development that clearly differentiates them from the cheaper freelance logo designer, and is a vital step for any company who is looking to identify and target a specific audience with their product or service.

Companies that choose to invest in their brand with a design agency should expect a strategic approach to the branding process.

Helping a company clearly articulate their audience, their brand message and tone-of-voice is a process that should be undertaken before any meaningful design work can take place, and it is this 'below the level' non-visible work that will ultimately inform the visual aspects of brand identity.

The difference between a brand, brand identity and positioning

Understandably this is a frequently asked question, so it is important to make some distinctions.

Firstly, a brand is not a logo, a website or a business card. These are things that make up part of your brand, but they are not 'the brand' itself.

Renowned branding expert Marty Neumeier defines a brand as 'a person's perception of a product, service, experience, or organisation' meaning it is the feeling your brand gives a person.

Your brand identity is the visual and verbal interpretation of that brand. It is the choice of colours, fonts, tone-of-voice and your logo among other things. These visual elements will combine together to form your website, your business cards or your brochures. As humans, we interpret the world visually, so it can be helpful to think of the role of brand identities as helping us interpret and understand a brand's values.

Renowned branding expert Marty Neumeier defines a brand as 'a person's perception of a product, service, experience, or organisation' meaning it is the feeling your brand gives a person.

Brand positioning is how brand values and brand identity work together to place a company in a space in the marketplace when being compared to another company in the same marketplace. Using supermarkets as an example, think of Asda and Waitrose. What attributes do you associate with Waitrose and are they different to Asda? If you can list the differences then that is an example of brand positioning at work.

Why a Brand Insight workshop is essential

At Chenery Creative, before we undertake any brand identity design we will always work through a Brand Insight workshop with the client. The workshop consists of approximately fifty questions and a series of exercises to help understand the clients' current position and their future goals and aspirations for their company.

We will work with the client to uncover the company's point-of-difference, finding out what makes their service unique and how they wish for their company to be perceived in the market place.

A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis focuses on the company's current marketing efforts and aids honest discussion among shareholders about where the company may currently be excelling and where improvements can be made. This exercise also looks at any marketplace competition the company may have, and how the competitors' brand is currently positioned.

A 'Past, Present and Future' perceptions exercise facilitates discussion about where the company is 'now' and how they would like to be regarded by their target audience once the branding process is complete.

How deliberate branding positions your company in the minds of your audience

These exercises and questions are completed to allow us, as a design agency, to gain a solid understanding of your business, who your customers are and how you wish to be perceived in the market place. 

This perception of your company will be shaped by your brands' visual identity such as colour, typefaces and your logo, and in turn, this visual identity helps position your company brand in the minds of your audience.

Consider this car brand positioning chart by You will see how the car marques are placed on a matrix of how people regard the brands. As you would expect, brands like Porsche and Bentley sit firmly on the luxury side, (with Porsche also high on the Sporty axis). The Volvo brand sits in the middle of the Luxury and Economy axis but, as expected, is leaning towards the Family end of the 'Sporty / Family' axis.

Brand positioning chart for popular car manufacturers and models

This is obviously a simplified example, but it shows how car brands may be understood by their audience based on their reputation, cost, speed and other selling points (i.e. the traits that make up their brand and create an opinion).

Creating clarity among shareholders

The Brand insight workshop also allows the directors of the company to develop a unified focus for their brand. The workshop naturally promotes a lot of discussion among company stakeholders and we find this is an invaluable step that helps bring the company values and vision to the forefront. Verbalising who your company is, what it stands for and who your ideal target audience is, is essential and helps pave the way for a deliberate and purposeful branding exercise.

The workshop also allows us to be clear on another important point. When we design brand identities for companies we make sure we are designing for a particular audience in mind. That audience is not, of course, the client or the company owners, but it is the target market that the company is trying to attract. The brand workshop helps iterate this point and allows the design work to be carried out with a clear audience demographic in mind.

If you are looking to invest in your branding and would like to work with Chenery Creative then get in touch. We work with a range of clients in the UK helping them articulate a clear brand vision, and delivering purposeful brand identities.

October 16, 2020


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