A disciplined process used to build awareness and extend customer loyalty.  Branding is about seizing every opportunity to express why people should choose one brand over another.  A desire to lead, outpace the competition and give employees the best tools to reach customers are the reasons why companies leverage branding.

Types of Branding:

  • Co-branding: partnering with another brand to achieve reach
  • Digital branding: web, social media, and search engine optimization, driving commerce on the web
  • Personal branding: the way an individual builds their reputation
  • Cause branding: aligning your brand with a charitable cause; or corporate social responsibility
  • Country branding: Efforts to attract tourists and business

The branding process is completed by conducting research, clarifying strategy, designing identity, creating touchpoints, and managing assets.  There are many reasons to invest in brand identity.  It makes it easier for the customer to buy, the sales force to sell, and build brand equity.  A strong brand identity will help build brand equity through increased recognition, awareness, and customer loyalty, which in turn helps make a company more successful.  When you affect behavior, you can impact performance.


The brand strategy builds on a vision aligned with the business strategy of a company’s values and culture.  The brand strategy reflects an in-depth understanding of the customer’s needs and perceptions.  Brand strategy defines positioning, differentiation, competitive advantage, and a unique value proposition.

Positioning is defined as the scaffolding on which companies build their brands, strategize their planning, and extend their relationships with customers.  It takes into account price, product, promotion, and place.  Concept that continues to be a fundamental precept in all-marketing communications, branding, and advertising.

The onliness statement: What: The only (category), How: that (differentiation characteristic), Who: for (customer), Where: who (need state), When: during (underlying trend)

Big Idea Process:

  • Understanding: Vision, values, mission, value proposition, culture, target market, segments, stakeholder perceptions, services, products, infrastructure, marketing strategy, competition, trends, pricing, distribution, research, environment, economics, sociopolitics, strengths/weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Clarifying: Core values, brand attributes, competitive advantage, and brand strategy
  • Positioning: Differentiation, value proposition, and business category
  • Brand essence: Central idea, unifying concept, key messages, voice and tone

Customer experience: Building loyalty and lifelong relationships at each point of contact.  Name is timeless, tireless, easy to say and remember, it stands for something, and facilitates brand extensions.  Qualities of an effective name: MeaningfulCommunicates something about the essence of the brand.


Unique, easy to remember, pronounce, and spell.  Differentiated from the competition.


Positions company for growth, change, and success.  Has sustainability and preserves possibilities.


Enables a company to build brand extensions with ease.


Can be owned and trademarked.  A domain is available.



It lends itself well to graphic presentation in a logo, in text, and brand architecture.

Customers and investors like names that they can understand.  Things, places, people, animals, processes, mythological names, or foreign words are used in this type of name to allude to a quality of a company.

Brand architecture refers to the hierarchy of brands within a single company.

Taglines influence consumers’ buying behavior by evoking an emotional response.  A short phrase that captures a company’s brand essence, personality, and positioning, and distinguishes the company from its competitors.

Essential characteristic of tagline:

Short, differentiated from its competitors, unique, captures the brand essence and positioning, easy to say and remember, no negative connotations, displayed in small font, can be protected and trademarked, evokes an emotional response, and difficult to create.

Process of collateral design

Revisit the big picture: Examine positioning goals, competitive audit and internal auide, identify functional needs for how brochures are used and distributed, understand how collateral is produced within the company, identify challenges

Design a cover system: Design grid for signature, content, and visuals.  Examine signature scenarios: Signature in primary and constant place, split signature, signature not used on cover, signature used on black only, signature used in secondary position with product name in primary position.

Determine typographic system: One typeface family or two, title typeface, cover descriptor typeface, header typeface, and subhead typeface, caption typeface.

Determine artwork: Photography, illustration, design elements, collage, typographic, abstract, identify derivative,.

Design color family: Define set of approved colors.  Evaluate production methods to align color across media.

Choose standard formats: U.S. sizes, International sizes, consider postage, consider electronic delivery

Specify paper: Examine functionality, opacity, and feel.  Examine price points, decide on family of papers, have dummies made, feel the paper, consider weight, consider recycled.

Develop prototypes: Use real copy, edit language as needed, demonstrate flexibility and consistency of system, decide on signature configurations.

Develop guidelines: Articulate goals and value of consistency, create grids and templates, explain system with real examples, and monitor execution.

Favicons-miniaturized storefront signs that give brands an opportunity to attract attention and stand out from the crowd.

Signage Design Process:

Establish goals: Determine project scope, understand audience needs and habits, clarify positioning, clarify function, and develop time frame and budget.

Build Project team: Client facilities manager, information design firm, fabricator, architect or space designer, lighting consultant

Conduct research: Site audit: environment, site audit: building type, user habits and patterns, local codes and zoning, consideration for the disabled, weather and traffic conditions, materials and finishes, fabrication processes

Establish project criteria: Legibility, placement, visibility, sustainability, safety, maintenance, security, modularity

Begin design schematic: Brand identity system, color, scale, format, typography, lighting, materials and finishes, fabrication techniques, mounting and hardware, placement

Develop design: Begin variance process, prepare prototypes or models, finalize content, create drawings or renderings, choose materials and color samples

Complete documentation: Complete working drawings, construction, mounting, and elevation details, final specifications, placement plans, bid documents, and permit applications

Manage fabrication: Check shop drawings, inspect work, manage fabrication, manage installation, develop maintenance plan.


Generative Research: Clarity product brand strategy, conduct competitive analysis, absorb client and secondary research, indentify information gaps, research new insights, analyze ergonomic and usability issues, survey market trends, search for any IP landmines, perform tech feasibility study.

Product Definition/planning: Assemble cross-functional development team.  Develop user profiles, define key features and differentiators, clarify brand position, refine formal product spec, build consensus with team

Ideation: Conduct multitier brainstorming, explore configuration options, explore 2D and 3D concepts, build models to prove concepts, refine concepts for team review, narrow range of concepts and refine, create testing presentation materials

Evaluate research: Develop research methodology, recruit partnerships, conduct customer concept testing, analyze data, and develop recommendations for refinement

Concept refinement: Synthesize customer feedback, refine the product specification, flesh out aesthetic and feature details, create user interaction logic, engineer component resolution, detail form and touch points, refine product inform and graphic system, review 2D and 3D touchpoints

Engineering development: Develop breadboards, create manufacturing strategy, build detailed parts list, develop assembly design tasks, analyze high-risk features and interfaces, engineer or sustainability and cost optimization, render mechanical and electrical UI design in CAD, Fabricate prototypes, conduct performance testing and customer validation

Evaluate research: Validate product design: Examine customer experience, devalues aesthetics usability functionality, perform engineering analysis, ensure standards compliance, review production strategy with manufacturers, analyze results of testing, create list of final changes

Product implementation: Finalize production estimates, complete mass production details, fabricate final prototypes, codify design improvements, perform engineering tolerance study, finalize engineering documentation for tooling and production, finalize tooling and production plan

Production support: Coordinate tooling fabrication, do formal review of first production parts, achieve final approval, provide final production changes, assist with final compliance testing


Consider the entire lifecycle of the package and its relationship to the product: source, print, assemble, pack, preserve, ship, display, purchase, use, recycle/dispose.


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