If you’ve crafted and successfully gone through a proper RFP process, you’re likely well ahead of the curve in establishing a solid foundation for working with your chosen branding firm. If you did not conduct a formal RFP, here are a few pointers to help you get the process and relationship off to a great start.
1: What are your goals and how do you measure success?
How will you measure the success of working with a branding and design firm? Will it be purely financial growth and market domination, or will you also measure staff moral, integration of one culture across multiple office from different cities? The answers will help you define the relationship, project parameters, areas of responsibility and help both parties remain focused on producing real results.
2: Which companies inspire you?
Who in your industry is doing a great job that you aspire to be like? It could be their service and product offerings, the way they market themselves, or their reputation for being an amazing company to work for. Who outside your business inspires you and why? Many companies aspire to have brands as powerful as Apple, IBM, and Virgin for example, but start by asking what it is about what they sell and the way they operate that you might model, and if that is a realistic goal for your business.
3: Who will be your decision maker?
Once you have retained our services, we get started with an initial meeting to set the foundation for our knowledge about your business, the challenges you face, your desired goals and other specific details. This is where business meets design so to speak. Will the decision maker be limited to the partners and directors of the company, or do you want to strategically involve other key people in the company? The choice over who and how many people from the company to include in the team leading this stage of the project should be a strategic one as well as practical. Most importantly though, is to capture top-level management and the key decision maker(s) to ensure a smooth process.
4: How do we position our relationship with Industrial Brand?
Our goal is to learn and understand as much as possible about you and your business from the start. We will be asking you a lot of questions; interviewing your board of directors, staff, customers and vendors to gain insights into your business. The presence of outside consultants at a company has the potential to cause anxiety amongst staff and others, especially if there are extenuating circumstances or events that have brought us to you. Consider how you want to position your relationship with Industrial Brand.
5: Who will represent you?
To uncover real insights, we want to hear the good and the bad. Who would you like Industrial Brand to interview so we may talk to the broadest cross section of clients, vendors and staff? We have found that our interviewing process and style encourages people to be honest with their answers, uncovering real brand insights through what others ‘really’ think about the company. Even though some of this information may be hard to hear, this depth of information is the foundation for positive change.
6: Allocating enough time.
On average you should allow between four to eight months for a complete branding process that includes research, creation of brand essence and filters, new brand identity and application to a new website and marketing and collateral materials such as stationery.
7: Who is your audience?
We will be learning all about who you sell to (or want to sell to) as we complete client interviews, but the more initial intelligence you can provide about them, the better understanding we will have of their priorities and preferences. This goes deeper than demographic information such as age and sex and into habits, desires, work status, social media skills, buying behaviour and more.
8: Who do you compete against?
Who are the companies you regularly win work from and loose work to? What criteria do you judge them as your competition and how do you measure up against them based on this criteria (and how do you want to measure up in the future)? What are they doing well that you admire? What do you do uniquely well and what differentiates you from them in your industry and market?
9: Where do you currently stand?
Are you tracking visitors to your website? If you do not have Google Analytics, we suggest setting it up for your website immediately. This will allow us to integrate an understanding of your online presence into our research, giving us a better view of your website visitors and their online behaviors.
All companies have many items that will need to be redesigned to reflect the new brand look and feel. We are going to need a list of every brand touchpoint (anything that has your logo on it or represents the company). This will help give us an idea of the scope and scale of the project, and a starting point from which to base recommendations. In addition, samples of branded items, or photographs in the case of signage and immobile items, are very useful for initial and ongoing evaluation.
10: Evaluating your current team
While you are taking an inventory of physical items to include in the brand audit, make a list of your staff resources. This includes those people and their time available for writing, social media content creation and publication and design. This is easy when you have designated in-house design and writing resources, but more complicated when these tasks are to be added to someone’s job scope who may need to be assessed for these skill sets and aptitudes.
Ultimately, in order to do our best work, we need to understand your company and business as well as you do. The level of preparation, materials and briefing we receive will determine how much time it takes to immerse ourselves in your unique situation. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on what you can do to prepare to work with Industrial Brand, and hit the ground running.