Insight driven brand intelligence, emotion connecting brand design
At Truly Deeply we believe that understanding your customers and stakeholders is fundamental. The brand is never about the brand per se, it only about how it connects with target audiences, how the brand builds relevance and esteem in their hearts and minds. So we always start with the target audience, whether that is using your available research or undertaking our own primary or secondary research, all with the same driving purpose, to truly deeply understand how the brand’s target market views their world.
We dig and we dig, as frankly we don’t know what we don’t know. We are zero gravity thinkers, never weighed down by convention. We are driven to understand the codes at play in the life of brands and the customers they serve. We have skilled qualitative researchers on the team who are masters at asking the right questions, along with observing and interpreting telling behaviour. Video, dialogue, immersion, trialing, sleep-overs (by invitation only), focus groups, depth interviews, or whatever it takes, we seek to be masters at unearthing insights into the hearts and minds of customers that can be leveraged.
Brand DNA – defining the layers of the brand that will make it a compelling force
Brands are managed from the inside-out. It is critical that brand owners have razor sharp clarity over what they wish their brand to stand for. We always therefore start with the brand’s internal mantra, its belief system. Every action of the brand should be a manifestation of this desired brand positioning. The following are layers of brand definition that make up the DNA of the brand.
Brand Essence – the core of the brand’s DNA
The brand’s essence is a single thought that encapsulates the soul of the brand. It expresses clearly what the brand stands for. It should be ownable, provide differentiation from competitors and be enduring.
Brand values are the key behaviours or virtues of the brand that need to be expressed day in and day out. The values are interdependent and work together to drive the DNA/essence of the brand. They represent a clear articulation of the belief system of the brand. They are a call to action for everyone responsible for the brand.
Brand drivers define how the brand’s core values will be manifested in the marketing mix or key business processes that support the brand. They play a role in translating the belief system of the brand into actions.
The brand promise is essentially the value proposition of the brand. It is a definitive statement of what the bundle of benefits is to customers and stakeholders relative to the costs they incur to realise them. It is a clear articulation of precisely what it is that gives the brand a competitive edge over competitors.
Understanding the role of individual brands is critical, but also understanding how brands within one’s portfolio work together is equally important.
One of the most critical of all brand portfolio concerns is how the diffusion and infusion of brand equity can be leveraged across brands in the portfolio. Determining the extent to which individual brands stand alone or are positioned as part of a family of brands with strong levels of endorsement are important strategic and resourcing issues.
Internal Mantra – the sum of the parts
The above layers of brand definition; eg. essence, values, drivers and promise essentially reflect an internal mindset regarding what the brand stands for. They can have varying levels of detail around how they are described, but the end game is always the same – conscious decisions about what your brand is going to be and by definition what it is not to be.
Brand Design – a brand voice rich in storytelling
Your brand voice should never be random. It should communicate powerfully and coherently a brand position that is true to your brand’s DNA. There are many, many canvasses available for brands to tell their story. Design is our calling, but always through a brand lens. Not everything is about design, but design is about everything- we creatively use it in diverse and ingenious ways for brand storytelling. Below is some of the ways we use DESIGN to enhance brand equity.
Brand Identity – creating a visual language that works hard for the brand
Every industry or competitive set has an underlying code of visual language. The manner in which one mirrors or departs from this code provides guiding signals to a target market to understand a brand’s positioning relative to its competitors. We understand the code of visual brand language like no other brand agency because we discovered it.
Colour, typefaces, imagery, words, humour, wit, urbanism, art, sound, animation, symbols are but some of the domain of we operate in. We reference and map the codes at play but our desire is always to create a visual language that exemplifies the defining DNA attributes of the brand and generates a positive market position relative to competitor brands. We have done our job well only when we have gifted a brand a look and feel that truly sings to its market, when it is distinctive, ownable and memorable.
We spend a huge amount of our time designing brand expressions that communicate brands in their purist form. Every conceivable brand expression from business and product names to brochures and menus, from retail sales catalogues to post cards, from how to broadcast messages at a railway station to the uniforms of front line staff, from the livery of trucks to the look of a web site, from annual reports to magazine advertisements, from the imaginable to the unimaginable, brand expressions are infinite in possibilities.
We are hard core brand designers and we see every customer touch point as a blank canvass on which a piece of brand magic should be created. To list every possible brand expression that we work across would simply potentially preclude us from the ones that have yet to be imagined. Suffice to say the interface between customer and brand is our space, design is our craft. Brand expressions are only limited by one’s imagination, and we refuse to limit our imagination.
Gone are the days when packaging was designed to simply be a safe and convenient way to make products accessible to consumers. Today, more than ever, great packaging not only delivers in spades on convenience, it also provides a medium for powerful brand storytelling. For many FMCG products, on shelf presence is their primary marketing tool and hence packaging should be treated like gold, it should be leveraged to the max.
Whenever we embark on a packaging project it is always from a brand storytelling perspective. Every element of the packaging, from materials through to design, from graphics through to shape, from pack copy through to brand messages, they are all saying something about the brand and it needs to add up to awesome storytelling – why would you not be truly obsessive about this? We are – it is a brand canvass that has incredible upside.
Bold Brand Gestures
Yes, brand gestures are simply another brand expression, but we give them they’re own heading because we believe some bold gestures can play a disproportionate role in building brand equity. We would rather design a small number of bold gestures that have clout in the market than roll out a myriad of small gestures that frankly add up to nothing. We think you should never die wondering. Bold brand gestures should have a stand out dimension that serves to allow the brand to own an attribute/s that competitively differentiates it and builds true market presence.
A significant cultural tool for any organisation, particularly service organisations is the creation of a brand book capable of informing and inspiring staff to align their actions to the desired positioning of the brand.
A brand book brings alive the DNA of the brand with a rich narrative and a design style that evocatively manifests the desired personality of the brand. The book provides a platform to transform an organisation into a brand savvy business.