Brand positioning and clarification

Brand positioning and clarification is often a review of an existing brand; refreshing the direction and clarifying the purpose or values. However, this is also something that needs to be factored into a new brand.

Creating a brand, undertaking a rebrand or choosing a brand refresh is a strategic move.

It should be carefully considered. Understanding the reason for any change in a brand direction is crucial to successful brand development.

Our branding, brand positioning and brand clarification work is dependent on client requirements and objectives for that business. Defining an organisation’s purpose is a crucial early step in any brand strategy work. This purpose should be evident throughout the messaging and visual outputs for the brand positioning strategy. 

Similarly, the brand vision is an important consideration for strategy projects. 

Keywords:

  • Rebrand: A new identity for a business which may include a revised name, slogan, visual identity or brand values, and often becomes necessary after major changes to a company or its business model.
  • Brand refresh: Changes to an existing colour palette, logo or font style to keep the visual identity fresh, up-to-date and appealing.

Our brand clarification

Step 1: Definition

The first step is to establish what the client is looking for; brand, rebrand or brand refresh and also a full rebrand of the visual identity or clarification of the existing brand messaging. The brand refresh can have varying requirements whilst the former two follow a similar process; establishing visual identity in the form of a logo, colour palette and typography. See our brand identity capability. We host a kick off call with the client to establish these details; the objectives for the work, the purpose of the organisation and the customers’ expectations of the business. 

Key stakeholders need to be identified for this project and everyone who needs to be informed should be involved from the beginning so that any major changes in direction should be avoided.

A workshop with the stakeholders is organised to further define the brand purpose, direction, goals and aims as well as to surface information on demographics and customer archetypes and expectations, if available.

The workshop will also be used to ascertain preferences on the core brand elements, e.g. preferred or disliked directions or concepts. If the client has no clear direction on these, mood boards can be used to gather more information.

  • Identify key stakeholders 
  • Workshop and kick off call to clarify the type of brand work
  • Define the organisational purpose and customer expectations
  • Establish the parameters and objectives for the work
  • Gather existing brand materials

Step 2: Solution

Rebrands and brand refresh benefit from an audit and review of existing brand elements at this stage. This can help update any market segmentation to include new audiences and shed light on any potential negative perceptions that need to be counteracted as part of the brand updates. This can involve social media listening, surveys, focus groups and data from any loyalty programs.

Brand clarification is primarily about research and analysis. The goal is to understand what the business does, the experience that it delivers, what customers value and what they dislike. We then undertake a gap analysis of that and the current brand presentation. Within this process there is also an audit to ensure that the brand is communicating itself effectively.

An audit of competitors may also need to be conducted. Any new branding should communicate the specific industry and stay up to date with its trends, whilst creating a clear point of distinction between the client and competitors in a dynamic design. 

This step involves establishing the visual direction of the new brand. Initially, three conceptual directions for core brand elements should be the focus, to show a broader selection of brand possibilities to the client. Ideally, feedback should be reviewed in person or on a call with all key stakeholders. 

  • Audit and review existing brand elements, e.g. messaging
  • Present three conceptual visual directions 
  • Receive feedback and choose the winning concept

Step 3: Implementation

Once the conceptual directions have been reviewed and one has been chosen, we have a clearer direction to proceed and expand on that visual concept. Iterations with the client help us to refine the visuals until they are exactly what the client and customer is looking for. 

After reviewing the existing messaging, we aim to present a streamlined, improved version that fulfils the objectives and fits within the brand parameters. In this step, we may present more than one option to the client so that one route can be chosen with iterations to follow.  

We implement these creative directions by applying the branding to digital or physical assets. Digital applications include website UI, digital ads, email templates, internal documents and apps. Offline branding can include print marketing materials, such as brochures, or office signage and branding, personal stationary, product packaging, vehicle livery, uniforms and show stands or booths. 

  • Revise the existing messaging 
  • Establish a clear visual direction
  • Implement the designs onto brand elements

Step 4: Optimisation 

The brand has been refined and the new direction implemented. In order to maintain consistency and future-proof the brand, we outline key elements of the brand personality in brand style guides. A light style guide covers logo usage, colours, typography and icons or illustrations, if applicable, and is the usual minimum documentation that we supply at the completion of branding projects. 

As part of the launch, we recommend using the brand guidelines and identity standards and appointing a brand guardian to ensure consistency across the launch. It’s really important to aim to rebrand all customer touchpoints simultaneously, so customers do not get confused between what is old and new branding

To launch the branding, we recommend sharing it internally and working to develop an understanding of the new branding and messaging so the client’s brand and marketing managers, as well as sales reps, customer service teams etc. all have a clear idea of how to communicate the brand going forward. 

Communications involving the new brand need to be planned by the audience. A roadmap for implementation can be established by determining who needs to hear what and when. We can help you to plan the release across multiple customer touchpoints and effectively reach your audience, considering print, digital, industry events or social channels. 

Key brand attributes and perceptions pre-launch need to be tested pre-launch, and then again after the new branding has had some time to settle. It’s important to do this to gauge if the new branding is having the desired impact.

  • Supply a brand style guide: core values, tone of voice guidelines and manifesto
  • Appoint a brand guardian 
  • Test the brand perceptions before and after launch 
  • Launch the brand internally and externally

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