Brand Discovery Objectives

What are the objectives of brand discovery?

While brand discovery can range from superficial and cosmetic to deep and probing, a typical goal is to provide a starting point for a comprehensive brand assessment. Brand discovery may then be said to share objectives with both brand assessments and brand strategy: more pronounced differentiation, greater impact, resonance, consistency and alignment, the establishment of guidelines for a brand refresh, and the opportunity to bring new ideas and new solutions to marketing or business issues to the fore. In order for a business to garner a competitive edge or maintain its success, it must remain in step with an ever-changing marketplace.

Brand discovery often serves as a check-in point or re-focusing milestone for the company: we said we needed to be x in order to capture opportunities a, b and c… are we doing that? Have we gone astray? Are we missing something essential? Are we proactively identifying the ideas and opportunities that will increase success and widen the competitive moat?

Companies take advantage of the brand discovery exercise because they want:

  1. To express their authentic vision, internally and externally
  2. To more effectively and efficiently garner attention
  3. To influence perceptions and cultivate positive predispositions
  4. To influence behaviors (both customers and employees)
  5. To increase engagement and foster loyalty (both customers and employees)

Is brand discovery similar to other strategy sessions or planning workshops we may have already done?

Today’s brand discovery, assuming you are working with a qualified and experienced brand consultant or agency, is not your father or mother’s “let’s all get together and work on our mission statement” agony session. Similar to any other strategic planning or organizational development initiative, but quite possibly the parent of them all, brand discovery is an exploration into the essence of the company. The branding team and other stakeholders assemble to ask who we are today in relation to who are customers are, who we want to be and who we may need to be, in order to better leverage strengths and overcome weaknesses as the company identifies and seizes opportunities while mitigating threats and risks.

What is Brand Discovery?

What is brand discovery?

Brand discovery is the process companies undertake to better understand how their unique value exists in relation to target needs and wants, their competitors, marketplace changes and perceived opportunities. Multiple, simultaneous inquiries into a broad range of business and marketing topics, often led by a branding consultant or discovery facilitator, aid the organization in objectively exploring today’s marketplace, the current brand strategy, the current brand identity and potentially more lucrative or sustainable brand positioning opportunities. Most commonly, brand discovery serves not as independent exercise, but as a precursor to a formal brand assessment or the development of a new brand strategy for the company. In traditional settings and small businesses, brand is typically viewed as an adjunct to marketing. In more progressive organizations, the brand and the business are considered to be synonymous.

What elements are typically involved in brand discovery?

Though the elements utilized in brand discovery may differ from agency to agency and consultant to consultant, there are some common themes. While some firms are content to have you complete a form, just as you would a brief for an individual assignment, other agencies and consultants use the information you’ve provided on the form as only a jumping-off point.

  1. Input sessions, creative exercises and brainstorming with the brand team to establish objectives and timelines, facilitate buy-in and explore the following topics
  2. Your company’s unique history
  3. Your products & services
  4. The features, benefits and self-expressive benefits of those products & services
  5. Your targets (needs, wants, demographics, psycho-graphics)
  6. Your competition
  7. Your vision for the future
  8. Your values
  9. Your primary points of difference
  10. Your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  11. The emotions relevant to the purchasing decision and the brand experience
  12. Your existing marketing materials
  13. Any extant marketing research
  14. Key stakeholders and their connection to the brand
  15. Financial and marketing performance data (depending upon the scope)

For more on my distinct point of view as a brand consultant:  brand discovery.  In very near future blog posts, I’ll share more with you about what I think constitutes a fully-cracked brand, the true role of the brand discovery facilitator, the importance of building business development pragmatics into every branding endeavor and why the value of Message-centric Branding™ exceeds that of traditional branding. But if you have questions for me right now, why not give me a call or shoot me an email? I’m always happy to have a chat or lend any upfront advice I can.

 

Big Naming Company Options and Alternatives

Finding a great name for a new business, new product or service leaves many marketers feeling lost.

Let’s assume you already know a little bit about branding. Let’s further assume you quickly recognize the difference between a cool, catchy and unique name and a lame one. In fact, let’s assume the search for a standout company name is what brought you here in the first place.

Your options are limited.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but naming fees might paralyze you.

On the one hand, you have the global naming agencies and the reputable New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles naming firms. I don’t begrudge them their rates. The good ones (of which there are really only a handful) are worth every penny, but for the small business on a budget, $25,000, $50,000 and even $250,000 are simply too much to pay for a name. This is especially true if you a startup or you’re launching a new product right out of the gate.

Some call it crowd sourcing. For naming, I think it’s the equivalent of practicing medicine without a license.

On the other end of the continuum from the big brand naming companies, there are the crowd sourcing options. I mean, who can argue with a couple hundred bucks, right? Most of the prospects I talk to and people who believe in higher standards, that’s who takes issue with the crowd-sourced naming options. Of course, the premise here is so intriguing, I have to admit that on the surface it sounds like a terrifically modern approach to the age-old naming challenge, even to me. So, where’s the rub?

Problems with crowd sourcing naming projects:

  1. Knowing how to wordsmith does not impute the strategic ability to properly position a company.
  2. One hundred or two hundred awful to mediocre contenders does not in any way equal 12-18 brilliant options, one of which you’ll actually select, clear through your trademark attorney and rave about.
  3. Of the submitted names, an overwhelming majority will include misspellings of common words, unavailable dot com domains and trademark trouble.
  4. There is a time and a place for cute. While your naming project could be one of them, it’s usually wise to explore all of your naming options, not just the cutesy ones, the cheesy puns, etc.
Company-naming-agency-business-names-consultant-Scott-Silverman-Articulated-Brands-Los-Angeles

Technology name example by Los Angeles branding consultant & naming consultant Scott Silverman, Articulated Brands.

So, is there a company naming agency that can go toe-to-toe with the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco naming agencies at 50% less cost?

Hi, I’m Scott. So glad we met like this. Check out the company and product names portfolio. Read through the testimonials. I made naming a specialty of Articulated Brands® because it’s a chance for me to give people a leg-up from the get-go. Though I’m based in Los Angeles, I’m giving those New York and San Francisco naming agencies a run for their money. (Not to mention the Chicago naming agencies, the Seattle naming agencies, the Fargo and Fairbanks naming agencies… you get the idea.)

Brand Strategy Consulting Is Business Development Done Right

What’s a copywriter, branding consultant and company naming guy doing consulting on business development for over 20 years?

Not every copywriter, branding consultant or company naming agency will focus this intensely on your business development fundamentals.

And that’s my point, exactly.

Sure, sometimes your deadline is looming and your budget is tight. You need an experienced copywriter who has enough familiarity with all manner of copy assignments to quickly dig in and make you sound polished, professional and personable. I still fill this gap for people everyday. And, of course, I’m fortunate to have this much experience creating high-impact marketing and advertising. And, yeah, a quick wit and a conversational style, well, those have certainly come in handy. (For examples of short, snappy, often humorous copywriter samples, please see advertising copywriter portfolio.)

But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking these creative executions, this tactical work… even when it spikes sales, wins awards and opens up new pathways of thinking… can even come close to what you can accomplish when we focus our attention on something much more critical to scalable, sustainable success: how we’re going to build what we know about customer creation into our very foundations.

Los-Angeles-branding-consultant-business-development-company-name-logo-web-design-development-Los-Angeles-Scott-Silverman-Articulated-Brands-brand-strategist-creative-driector-copywriter

A recent website and branding example by Los Angeles’ Articulated Brands®, the message-centric branding® & company naming agency founded by brand strategist and veteran, freelance creative copywriter Scott Silverman.

As a copywriter, the focus is on how to say it best. But as a branding, positioning and messaging consultant, my focus is on accelerating strategic growth, pure and simple.

Even slight adjustments to how you are capturing your company’s core value can exert a profound influence on your ability to captivate and resonate with your most important prospects. A few years ago, I sorta coined the term “telescopic clicks” because what may seem to like nuance and hair-splitting to the uninitiated actually has the capacity to change your field of vision… and the game. When you need someone to creative interpret and breathe life into your extant brief, that’s the copywriting side of me. When you want a fresh, objective perspective on business development – from how you are defining the market opportunity to how to render your vision in a more target-centric way, and from the operations side of your pillars to whether adequate, relevant differentiation has been built into your model, you want to be talking to the one guy who has set himself apart by making branding make business sense…. even for the smaller business.

The Harvard and Wharton grads have their tools and methodologies. I use branding and brand discovery to provide a framework for business development because it’s a brilliant opportunity to kill multiple birds.

You wouldn’t think someone who operates in these disciplines would be engineered for efficiency and results, but, for me, saving companies marketplace time is the holy grail of strategic accomplishments. There’s just no sense in building brands that haven’t been engineered to forge real connections and real results. There’s just no sense in hiring consultant after consultant only to realize later that a holistic approach is far better, both financially and psychologically, than a series of half-answers. When your company is in a position to nurture a longstanding relationship with a copywriter, by all means, grab it! You’ll experience a cumulative benefit to the copywriter’s increasing understanding of your unique business and your environment. But when what you really want is business growth and a galvanizing brand, you need far more than a wordsmith. Count on the one brand consultant who brings clarity and focus first and foremost to your business development strategy and then, of course, to your communications.