EXECUTION In Part 1 of Creating Your Strategic Brand Position, the summary findings and recommendations of the brand research phase will provide the roadmap for executing your brand direction. In many cases you might be creating a new name and logo; in others, you might be refreshing the logo and positioning. In either case, the same rules apply in the execution stage related to client engagement. A cross-section of the Executive and stakeholders will be used as a Steering Committee, of ideally, nine people, to be the sounding board for the development of the brand. This group should be updated weekly on progress, and met with when decision points are reached. Any tactics that come out of your strategy should be focus tested beyond the Steering Committee in professionally run focus groups of those made from other stakeholders and customers or the public.
If you are creating an entirely new brand name, you should obviously put meaning into the new brand name, with careful scans of other entities that might be using the same or similar names; you want to be able to trademark your new name, and anything the same or too close to another might not pass trademark examination, which would be a costly mistake. There are free online trademark databases you can use to do your own scans of both names and positioning statements. While you can do it yourself to a large extent, it is wise to engage a trademark lawyer in this process once you have shortlisted possible names and positioning that you like. The same holds true for the logo mark you create, you should have a trademark lawyer do due diligence on the mark as well since you will also want to trademark the shape and colour use of your logo. While trademark lawyers are relatively inexpensive for early stage scans, trademarking can be an expensive proposition depending which jurisdiction in which you plan to register your trademarks and tradename. Check with your trademark lawyer on the best approach here as they can help you save money and protect yourself. The process for creating and evaluating a number of possible names should result in no more than three top options for your Steering Committee to consider. You should know before you walk into that meeting if these names are all clear for trademarking. Names should meet the standards for these categories: • Appearance • Ease of use • Memorability • Differentiation • Depth of meaning • Energy • Relevance Coupled with your names should be a short narrative that explains the rationale of the name and shape and how it exemplifies your brand's essence. Whatever you make should inspire an emotional connection to the brand and stand for something, take a position, or represent some ideal. They key reason to brand or rebrand is to discover the 'why' of you, your vision and your promise. Inherent in your discovery and the eventual naming, look and feel of your new brand, will be the expression and codification of why you exist and what you believe in as a promise to customers, employees, and other stakeholders. PRESENTATION Each logo option should be applied to design mockups for presentation and testing, such as a web page, exterior sign, business card, or brochure cover. The mockups are rough drafts that will help others imagine how the new name and logo will appear in the real world. It's also an opportunity for you to test readability of the mark at different sizes. From your presentation to the Steering Committee, you will test the marks and positioning statements with you focus group. From here, you will go back to the Steering Committee with your findings from the focus group. It might be enough to hold one session of three separate focus groups for roughly a total of 18 to 24 people in total. It's smart to do more than one group for testing as you'll find both similar and different points of view spread over three groups of 6 to 8 people in each. From here, you should be able to justify a top choice in mark and positioning statement with your focus groups and Steering Committee. Now you're on actually developing the chosen mark in application. These tactics will include a complete logo package in a variety of applications such as print, digital, and swag, etc.). Specifically, the logo package will include: • Each version in colour, black and white, and reverse • Each version in eps, jpg, and png format • A logo icon (if applicable) for use in social media BRAND STANDARDS GUIDE As part of the design process, you will develop a visual identity system in a Brand Standards Guide, which will codify the use and look of the brand in style, sizing across materials, typography, and colours. Your Brand Guide will include technical and expressive uses of the brand as we've described in other posts. Technically speaking, your Brand Guide will outline brand identity standards, including: • Minimum spacing requirements and guidelines • Logo variations with explanations • Don’ts and restrictions • Brand colours and breakdowns • Expanded colour palette of neutrals and accents with breakdowns • Fonts and suggested use: body copy and headlines In Part Three of this series, we will discuss how to bring your new brand to life in a launch strategy and how to engage your internal teams to understand and live the new brand and its promise.