You are the expert on your brand. You know it best, inside and out. So, then why do I need a branding expert? Because there is a difference between knowing your brand and your brand's branding. HUGE. DIFFERENCE. So, while most brand designers will ask you questions and guide you on the brand strategy path, here are four tips to make the most out of your sessions.
Help Me—Help YouPhoto by Leon on Unsplash
Any designer embarking on a new project will have questions for you. One of the best things you can do is be open and honest with your branding team. We do our best work when we have the whole picture. The more we know about who you are, where you have been, and where you aim to be, the more ammo we have to craft your compelling story. As designers, it is our job to gather all of the information about your business—tidbits large and small, everything from founder stories to mini-fails, and, of course, where you see the company headed. We are sponges that take in all your info and then sift out the interesting parts to craft your unique branding. Think of it as a well-stocked kitchen versus a mostly empty fridge. Sure, you can cobble something together from that fridge, but it will pale in comparison to the feast of a meal that a well-stocked kitchen could make. To give you the best possible result, we need a stocked kitchen.
Be Clear And Realistic About Your TimelinePhoto by STIL on Unsplash
If you know that a big annual conference is three months away, make a note of it with your brand team and work together to see what is achievable within that time frame. We know the world moves fast, and turn-times are faster than they have ever been. We want to meet your deadlines, but to do this, we must know what they are. It's far better to set realistic dates and launch your brand impeccably than half-baked and fast. People notice, and every time a touchpoint is off, your brand loses a bit of its luster.
Pinterest Is Your FriendPhoto by Fahim R. on Unsplash
It can be hard to verbalize a vibe. If you are more of an "I know it when I see it" person, then embrace that! Create a Pinterest board with images that feel like how you want your company image to feel. I use the "note to self" feature on pins to remind myself what I like or dislike about each picture. People can see the same thing in different ways, so making specific notes about each image can be more helpful than someone else interpreting what they think you like about it.
Tell Us Your Pain PointsPhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
We are here to help, seriously. Most designers are problem solvers, whether they think of themselves that way or not. While something like less expensive packaging or wanting to become more eco-friendly may not fall directly under branding, they are 100% related and should be discussed. If we know a particular pain point, we can try to work a solution for it into the branding. For example, if the packaging you are currently using is expensive and not sustainable, intentionally switching to greener packaging or soy inks can be built into the branding. So, your look is both intentional and solves the cost and consciousness problems.
Ideally, the brand strategist you are working with will have a plan in place to guide you seamlessly through the process by asking you all the right questions. But on the off chance they don't, these tips should help you to open up the lines of communication and help keep your brand strategy team moving in the right direction.