What does a branding project entail for an accounting practice?
For most people, branding is a bit of a mystery. I come across so many clients who really have little idea about how a branding project works.
It isn't rocket science but it's probably unfamiliar territory for most. So here's a quick overview of the process.
The main objective of a branding exercise or re-brand is to present a look and feel that represents the team behind the business and the service they provide. It's as simple as that really. The more specific you can be, the more you can stand out and say why your business and your service is unique, the better. Unique doesn't mean weird or challenging, it means individual. At the end of the day a person or a collective of people will all have a culture and a feel about them. It's just how it is. The aim of a branding exercise is to bring the essence of that business to the fore so that you are able to say more than "we are personable" or "we are professional". Let's face it, both statements are hygiene factors really.
So the aim of a branding exercise in a nutshell is to help your desired client to make the right decision and to choose you.
The process in 4 stages:
Stage 1: Talk to the team
This stage is critical. It unearths the team's perspective of what is special and defining. It also helps to explore what their own vision is and their hopes for the business. In a series of 121 meetings, we talk to them about their perceptions of the business. As the meetings continue, there will undoubtedly be recurring themes and those are the gems that we want to collect to help us. For example, in a recent project it was clear that the team was extremely energetic and focused. We used this idea of energy as a start in the new look and feel of the brand. We also used the feed back to start creating a set of values that would resonate across the team
Stage 2: Report back
Once the interviews are over, we pull together a report of the gems that we spoke about above. We talk about the values that are consistent in the team, and the vision for the business but we also talk about what defines the culture. This becomes the concept that we use as a starting point for the look and feel of the brand
Stage 3: Workshop
The next stage is to present back the findings to the team and to get feedback. In working on the findings, and specifically refining the values, the team starts to buy into the process. After all, they can see and hear some of the feedback that they themselves gave which is incredibly powerful.
Stage 4: Design
Once the workshop has brought further definition, it's time to wrap up all the findings into a brand blueprint ready for a team of designers to create the logo and overall brand design. This more than likely moves into the re-design of the website too.
An Example: For illustration
So what does this actually mean?
I'll give you an insight into a current project to help. I've recently interviewed a team and its leaders and the key insight was that every single individual wants to balance home and work. More importantly, they want a sense of purpose by doing more charity work and giving back to the community in general. The owner said in our chat "it's about marginal gains, we want to start small but make an impact every day".
This was the nugget. The gem.
From this, we came up with an idea entitled "A million small things" the idea now is to build a story about achieving small wins every day which build to a bigger benefit along the line. We've started to play with this idea and have thought about how this could look from a design aspect. We're working with the idea at the moment about pixels and how a picture is just millions of pixels joined together to build a whole.
With their desire to leave the planet in a better state and to take on the small things to make a bigger impact, we now need to ensure that this idea jumps off the page.
It's early days, but I hope this gives you a bit of a flavour.