Getting Started With Your Branding Process
All branding projects begin with the phrase, “I need a logo.” Though a brand is far more encompassing than the logo alone, that is generally the genesis of when and why a brand engagement is initiated with an agency. Then it builds on from there.
I’m Terisa Brenna, Creative Director here at Rebel and I’ve been designing for 20 years with a specialty in branding. In my experience, every branding or rebranding project looks different, has different needs, and is at varying points in its respective brand evolution and business journey.
Regardless of these variances, the process always beings the same way. The go-to tool that I give every client to kick start the branding process is the Branding Questionnaire. It is essential—no, let me say crucial—to the branding process. Without it, there would be no starting line.
The questionnaire consists of roughly 30 questions that gather relevant project information like scope, timelines, and project overview. It’s the qualitative and quantitative information needed to start the research and development phase. Speaking from my perspective as a brand designer, I like to get inside my client’s head and approach the work as if it were my own business. I guess I take to heart the old adage, “the devil is in the details,” so I ask all of the questions, leaving no detail behind. By filling my tank with as much information shared and made available by the client, I’m able to create a brand that is unique in its own authenticity and built to resonate with its customers.
For designers specifically, there are questions that can help inform the creative direction they can take. Questions like, how should the logo look and feel? What do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand?
Finally, intermixed into the questionnaire are business-related questions. “Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 5 years? 10+ years?” These are important details to capture in order to dial in on the vision for the brand, which will also inform how the brand will be built. Many clients have told me how this questionnaire was extremely valuable to them simply for the opportunity to get all of this information out of their heads and onto paper. It helps provide clarity. When the value is three-fold, there’s no question about whether or not it’s worth the time investment.
What is a branding questionnaire?
Essentially, a Google doc of gold. It’s a 30-question document (aka gold mine) that collects the information needed to design a brand (new brand identity or rebrand).
Knowledge transfer medium. It’s a valuable tool that extracts insights from the founders and stakeholders into a form that can be shared and understood by the project team. It informs direction and contains the substance required to build the brand. In the long run, this information is also used to build the brand guide.
Why is it important?
Ambiguity to clarity. The questionnaire will be a fundamental building block for the project planning and branding process. It is crucial to the process of developing a brand that leads to results that are on target. Without this information, teams are left filling in blanks on their own and the result may be far off-target. Teams that are laser-focused with a set of guidelines can avoid wasting time and money chasing ideas that aren’t aligned with company goals.
When do you use this?
At ground zero. The brand questionnaire is used at the very beginning or even before a project contract is signed in order to gather pertinent information that will help accurately build the scope.
Who uses this?
Founder(s) and designer(s). The Founder and stakeholders will fill out the questionnaire. The designer uses this information during the brand research and development phase.
Project manager. Since the form captures scope, deliverables, and timelines, the project manager and designer will use the information to build timelines for steps in the process such as kick-off meetings, review meetings, and tasks to help the team stay on track. The creative lead can also use this information to determine who the project team should consist of—copywriters, photographers, videographers, etc.
What happens after the questionnaire is filled out?
Creative Brief. The valuable insights and information collected is then translated into a Creative Brief. This document is another tool that ensures the project team of creatives and the client remain aligned and have a tangible list of items to refer to during the concepting phase.
Research and development begin. After the Creative Brief is shared with internal teams, and the client approves, the creative teams get to work. The research and development phase involves researching the business, market, and competitors, to name a few. The development process follows shortly after with a brand voice exploration exercise, as well as mood boards to inform the brand style and identity.
Do you need a logo or a whole brand refresh? Kick start the branding process with our starter template below.
After you’ve completed your brand questionnaire, feel free to send it to us for a quote on your project.
Branding Questionnaire Template
What to consider when rebranding your company. An easy to use branding questionnaire to keep your rebranding efforts on point.