MAT MARTIN | Branding – Brand Design Questions for Businesses
When defining and/or developing a sense of brand identity it is important to be familiar with a basic set of information about your business. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how often we cannot answer simple questions if we haven’t put some thought into what they mean for our practice. Brand design questions can be as simple as “What does your business do?”, but can lead to answers which help a brand to gain clarity and really define what it is trying to communicate.
Try working through the questions below, and making a note of your answers. Put together, they should go some way towards providing a basis for the decisions you make about how to present your brand to your clients.
If you are considering working with a designer on your brand assets (logo, style etc.), website or print material, the more time you have been able to spend considering such brand design questions, the better you will be able to get them to understand what you need. Good designers may well be able to see further into ideas than their clients, but even their best ideas can only come from what they are given to work with. Take some time to prepare yourself for this kind of investment in your business – it will make for much more rewarding results.
Brand Design Questions
Many of the questions in this article are owed to some fine work done in this article over at SitePoint, with a few tweaks here and there. I have included some of the information again here as part of a series intended for clients’ reference, but highly recommend reading the full article too.
About Your Business:
- What does your business/product do? (1-2 sentences)
- What problem do you solve for your clients?
- Who are your three main competitors?
- What do you like about their brand/presence?
- What do you dislike about their brand/presence?
- What makes you different from your competitors? Why should your clients choose you? This is your USP – see this article for a more in-depth discussion of how to define yours.
- Describe your company in 5 words of any kind.
About your Clients:
- Who is your ideal client? If you need help defining their attributes have a look at this article.
- What is the main message you would like to convey to your clients? This can be a feeling as much as it is verbal – think about how you feel when someone mentions some of your favourite products.
- Describe your ideal client in 5 words of any kind.
About your New Brand:
- What is the reason for doing this? Why now? What do you hope to achieve from this exercise?
- Share 3 examples of a brand whose identity works for you. Why are you drawn to them? What do you like about them?
- Share 3 examples of a brand whose identity you dislike. What do you find weak? Why don’t they connect with you?
- If you have an existing brand, what is no longer working for you about it?
- Do you have any specific guidelines about the brand you wish to create (dos and don’ts on e.g. colour, imagery etc.)?
- Describe the desired look and feel of your new brand in 5 words of any kind.
If you’re working on a specific project with a designer or consultant it may be useful to ask yourself the following questions, too. The clearer you can be about your needs and expectations, the more likely you are to have them met.
About the Job in Hand
- What are the desired deliverables on this project (logo, stationery, brand guidelines, fonts and colours etc.)?
- Do you have existing materials which need updating?
- Who is leading this project for the business / who is the decision-maker on the project? What is the turnaround time on decision-making?
- Do you have budget/timeline restrictions?
Take a look at your answers to these brand design questions. What have you learnt about your business that you didn’t know at the start of this exercise? How could knowing how to express your business’ strengths, qualities and intentions more precisely help communication with service providers, colleagues and peers? Better still, how could knowing this shape the decisions you make about how you present your business to your clients?
The document you have created is one to which you should be able to refer back regularly, and one which will benefit from regular updates as you come to know your brand better over time. The clearer your communication with your clients, the better the feedback you will receive, and the more you will be able to refine your answers to these questions.
The following articles go into greater or lesser depth on the type of questions included above – depending on how much time you have to spend on this it may be useful to read through them and see how other people frame these questions or break down their constituent parts.