Running a Brand Audit in Three Steps

Is your startup on brand or off the mark?

March 19, 2020

Before we jump into details, we gotta get one thing straight:

A brand is the gut-feeling has toward a business. By definition, being "on brand" would mean that the feeling you want people to have is being felt by your target consumer. Being off brand would mean they feel the opposite or something unrelated. For example, if I want people to feel "rebellious," then similar feelings like edgy, badass, and cool are right up my alley. What I'm looking to avoid is the opposite; safe, quaint, pretty, timid, etc. With me so far? Cool, here are the three steps:

Define your brand
This is done through a brand discovery workshop, it's borderline therapy for business owners. Founders sit in a room with an objective third-party and tell everything they can about their business. Their customers, their dreams and goals, the culture they desire, all of it is put on the table. In doing so, nuggets of information can be pulled that show what someone should feel about the business. The goal is to create a definition of the brand that can be used as a yardstick.

Review all marketing collateral
Social posts, brochures, swag, websites, the name, logo, identity systems, business cards, email templates, everything that comes into contact with a customer is put up for review. It goes without saying that if you're jumping into a rebrand, you are probably not happy with all of these assets anyway, but you need to clarify why that's the case. If you don't you open the door to repeat the same mistakes in recreating them.

Make a game plan
Using the items in the review, make a plan of action prioritizing the elements that would have the greatest impact on the brand. Then, get to work updating them and getting them on brand.

More you say?

One-Liner | Software Branding

If you cannot describe the impact of your software in one-line, try this formula.

1.18.2020

P + S = R

The (P) problem when combined with a this (S) solution drives these (R) results.

Plain and simple.

Some examples:

Your passwords suck and expose you to risk. Dashlane's simple application makes bulletproof passwords and keeps your data secure.

Coding emails is draining and boring. Mailchimp's drag and drop email creator allows you to easily create email campaigns that customers love.

Handing your website designs to a developer ruins them. Webflow's no-code website builder allows you to create pixel-perfect websites that let your creativity shine.

Can you write a one-liner?

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Vibranium Shield Branding

What a superhero's tool of choice says about branding design.

6.24.2020

In Marvel's Captain America: the First Avenger, Steve Rogers is transformed from a scrawny pipsqueak into the formidable super-soldier, Captain America.

After completing a successful rescue mission using nothing but a stage-prop shield, famous inventor and colleague, Howard Stark offers to improve upon the shield design.

He presents Rogers with a dozen different designs, some outfitted with electronics to zap his adversaries, some with spikes and other baggage. He glances on the ground and picks up a round disc.

"What's it made of?" he asks.

"That's vibranium, it's completely vibration absorbent." say's Stark.

After being put through a spur of the moment bullet deflection test, courtesy of an angry love-interest, Rogers chooses the shield and gives it a fresh paint job to match his uniform.

That was in 1944.

Fast forward into 2020 and the same shield is used in later battles without losing its gusto or its alignment with Cap's identity.

Why? Because it was a simple, elegant, and timeless choice. Unhindered by fads, excess, or things that would weigh it down.

The point? treat branding design the same way. Don't be bogged down by choices simply because they are popular today, aim for something genuinely useful and timeless.

The clip from the movie, for you poor souls who haven't seen it.

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