We focus as much on the inside as the outside.

A powerful brand is visual but it’s also behavioral. It’s about what you do, why you do it, and how you do it differently from others. In other words, it has to be built on organizational strategy. The people on the inside—employees, donors, and other stakeholders—are just as important as your customers, visitors, or prospects.

We’ve got a time-tested process to put all of these elements in order, make sure they’re true, and then let the world know.

1. Discovery

Phase 1 Discovery

We start every project with a diagnostic workshop that brings together all key stakeholders, staff, and project partners to build consensus and momentum around the project objectives. In this meeting we’ll create the organization’s Brand Pyramid which answers some fundamental questions and guides the rest of the process. We’ll also make a hypothesis for the organization’s differentiated value proposition which we can test in Phase 2.

See this in action: Case Study

2. Research

Phase 2 Research

It’s crucial for an organization to be able to see itself as its customers do. A truly strategic process must incorporate an outsider’s perspective. Our qualitative research methodology uses in-depth projective interviews with key target groups. We’ll figure out where your competitive advantage is: where does your offer intersect most naturally with what the audience needs?

Quantitative support for our qualitative research can also be brought to bear on key questions that might emerge.

3. Brand Strategy

Phase 3 Brand Strategy

At this point we’ve got internal insight from Phase 1 and external insight from Phase 2. Time to put it all together. The backbone of brand strategy is your positioning statement, which defines your key target audience is, the area in which you compete, your differentiated value proposition, and what you aspire to be known for in the world. We’ll craft the statement to be ambitious enough to drive marketing efforts and influence operational decisions across the organization. It’s also an inspirational statement—it will make a promise that everyone is excited to work together to deliver upon.

With the position established, you can assess the strategic alignment of virtually any current or future tactical activity or product: websites, exhibitions, programs, events, advertising campaigns, publications, etc.

See this in action: Case Study

4. Alignment

Phase 4 Organizational Alignment

One of the most common complaints about brand strategy processes is that they end up as documents on a shelf or lists on a wall that are soon forgotten. In other cases strategy is just a perfunctory exercise leading to creative. This is a waste of potential. A process like this should make an organization feel different and behave differently. That’s why we have an organizational alignment phase that transforms your core values into operational practices across the organization. In a collaborative, discussion-based setting, we’ll translate these values from an abstract set of words into a real set of behaviors that make sense within everyone’s daily responsibilities.

See this in action: Case Study

5. Creative Execution

Phase 5 Creative Execution

Creative execution is where it all comes together. The audience understanding we've developed, the strategy we've defined, the goals we're reaching towards—this is where they come to life. It isn't just about personal taste. Should it be aesthetically beautiful? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean that personal taste should override strategy and customer understanding. Our process ensures that design responds to audience needs and sound business goals. It's one of the reasons we aren't your typical agency: we won't just give clients eye candy that's easily approved but not grounded in strategy.

Our creative capacity includes a wide range of execution: logos and identity systems, taglines, print and digital advertising campaigns, websites, and other marketing communication materials.

See this in action: Case Study