Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Problem solving 2, part of Branding for Designers.
- You've pulled together the information that points to an answer with the values, strengths, weaknesses and message. Now, it's time to delve into the rest of the research and determine a strategy for the communication and visual direction. Who is the company's primary audience and stakeholders? I compare the answers I have from my interviews with the analytical research from data. The answers maybe 100% correct but if they are different than the reality, again, I need to show facts to prove this.
Who should the audience be? The answer is based on the CEO's goals. It may take some work to move out of everyone. You might break the audience into the different groups. The core group, secondary and general public. However, if he or she wants the audience to be only men with an eye patch, then it's my job to learn what that audience values and how to reach them. You're free to have an opinion here, you're an expert not a doormat. You can certainly suggest that this group might be too narrow but it's the client's company and goals.
Who is the company's primary competition? The answer to this will come from the interviews and your own research. Who is the most direct and current competition? Who is the next level out? And who is a minimal threat? Now, it's time for how. How does the company reach the current audience? You've gathered the visual collateral and looked at all the touch points. This is a list of those. There are probably some that the client hasn't considered. Remember to include all social media even if it's not coming directly from the client but secondhand.
How does the company define itself to the outside world? The answer here is more about the primary media than the message. Does the company define itself through the web and a magazine? Is it a mix of media? What media fits the company's goals best? If it's a non-profit helping homeless people, the internet may not be the best media for those without access. Perhaps inexpensive newsletters are a better choice. How does the company communicate its values to the internal audience? Many times a client forgets to talk with the internal audience, the employees and business partners.
But this is as important as the external audience. If I think I work for a company that cares about homeowners' financial stability and Joe thinks we are a car loan company, the message we tell and the choices we make will be out of sync with the vision. Does the internal audience have a place to go online to learn about the goals and vision? Is there any training or a manual? In the end, you won't have one clear answer for all of these questions. They can be subjective.
You will, however, have the tools needed to make choices about the design solution and media to use. You can use this information to back up your work with hard facts.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books