Branding a branding company

Mark Busse – One Comment

Industrial Brand Business Cards

If you are a business owner working on the development and growth of your own company it can be a challenge no matter what industry you are in. This can range from generating more sales, creating or finessing your marketing plan, sourcing manufacturing or creating a new brand for your business. It is your business, your baby, you want to make the right decision and you often question what the right decision or direction is. And, at the end of the day, it’s your bottom line that is affected so you’ll want to make a good decision.

So when Industrial Brand Creative chose to re-brand we knew the branding process was going to be an interesting journey.

There have been challenges–some which we could have predicted and others that came as a surprise. There were also insights into the world of our clients.

Still, we needed to service our clients and run the business and we knew that our re-branding would from time to time be pushed down the priority list. Two years later, it had come to the point where it could not wait any longer. We were still getting great feedback about our website and other promotional materials, but for ourselves the identity we created in 1997 no longer reflected our capabilities and the calibre of work we provide to our clients. It was time to re-brand.

A major advantage was that we knew what we were doing–it’s what we do for our clients with very successful results. We knew all we had to do was to put ourselves through the same branding and design process and we would arrive at the outcome we were looking for.

The first stage was one of Discovery, Analysis, Research, Collaboration and Strategy.

This involved the business owners asking questions that included: Why change? What are we hoping to achieve? How will we know the branding process has been a success? We interviewed clients, staff, vendors and others to discover if what we think about ourselves is the same as what others think of us. Thankfully the results confirmed we were heading in the right direction.

Your brand is aspirational and goal-driven, but as a company you have to bridge the gap between where you are today and your aspirations. Your company has to walk the talk today and everyday. It must look and behave like the kind of company a high calibre client would hire.

The Brand Discovery Session was essential in our branding process. We dug into every aspect of the company, often facing difficult questions – some which took several months to resolve. We questioned the name of the company, who our target audiences are today and will be in the future, how we will reach them, what our message is and how will it resonate with them. We also looked at how we differentiate ourselves from other design companies and what our core service offering is.

The next phase involved consolidating the knowledge that we’d gleaned from the research and applying it. It involved brainstorming ideas, conceptualizing initial logo concepts, being strategic and making sure everything we did was relevant and aligned with our discoveries during the first phase. It was also during this phase we explored a new tag line. Parting from the old, ‘we’re not wired right’ we wanted something that was honest, concise and gave a better sense of what we are all about. WHERE IDEAS WORK is a statement of not only what goes on within the studio and the people that compose it, but it also says something about the outcomes we deliver.

Business owners can often be too attached to their company to be objective and decisive. The third and final phase saw us starting to whittle down iterations and make final decisions based on the research and strategy from the earlier phases. This foundation made it easier for making clear final decisions.
With the new identity and tagline complete, the next step was to produce all the marketing materials, website and internal documents. At the end of August we rearranged our production schedule for two weeks so the entire Industrial Brand team could focus on doing just this.

We knew from the outset that two weeks was a somewhat optimistic timeframe to complete the myriad of tasks at hand, and in the end it was. But without dedicating that time to the development of our own brand it would probably have continued to get pushed to the bottom of the priority list (below servicing clients). Now we had the momentum we needed to make the final push to completion.

Branding is all-encompassing and there’s a clear distinction between the creation of a new logo versus the formation or re-formation of a brand. Even though we’ve been re-branding for our clients for many years, undertaking our own project has provided us with further insight into client concerns about the branding process, and the confidence, financial commitment, trust and hard work that is required to create and implement a new brand.

That being said, branding or re-branding is worth it if done well and assuming there’s a sound rationale for it. It will reinvigorate and energize the company, its clients, prospects, staff, vendors and all others associated with it. It’s important to remember that a brand is organic, and grows and changes over time so must be managed. With the successful re-launch of Industrial Brand, we’re excited to watch as people take new notice of our new look and the platform from which we continue to build and grow our business.