Successful branding requires branding first.
It sounds like a Zen statement, and it kind of is! In order for branding to be successful, we must first brand the brand by uncovering it’s essence. Tease out it’s true nature so that the brand is an accurate reflection of who you are. That essence will form the foundation and serve as the core of the brand. Then based on that core, we craft your look and any ancillary deliverables.
In Asia, not many design studios work in this order. Sadly, it is common to make websites and packages separately before having a true sense of the brand essence, then introduce branding later and adjust the look. This is inefficient with both money and manpower and not nearly as effective as approaching it systematically.
In Europe and the United States, the first thing that is created when launching is a BRAND SYSTEM. The Brand system includes the BRAND DNA and the VISUAL IDENTITY.
To create a brand system, we start with uncovering your BRAND DNA or the true essence of your brand. We get to know your story, vision and strengths. Then dive deep into market research and uncover any potential challenges or competition that you may be faced with. We craft a brand personality that is a direct reflection of who you are. Without this portion of the system, a brand will seem inconsistent and unstable and like a castle standing on sand is easily washed away.
Based on the BRAND DNA, we will craft your VISUAL IDENTITY. Your visual identity embodies the essence of your brand visually. It includes the overall visual concept, logo, graphic elements, typography, color palette, any moodboards and how to apply it.
Next up are the BRAND COLLATERAL. Collaterals are any touchpoint that creates the world of the brand. They all stylistically follow the style guide in order to create a unified experience and thrill the audience. This can be anything from websites to stationery, interior decoration, advertisements, etc. We then provide the creative direction to a team customized to the needs of the project.
At HI(NY) Design, we view the BRAND SYSTEM as a “Pole Star”. It is a guiding light, not just for us but for you, your employees, any collaborators, and of course, your customers.
The following are 9 key concepts to keep in mind when building a North Star Brand System. A strong brand must have:
1 Have a vision
2 Worth & bring value.
3 Be meaningful
4 Be consistent
5 Be differentiated
6 Be flexible
7 Be reliable
8 Be sustainable
9 Always be fulfilling promises
These are all determined by the true essence of the company.
It is the genuine story that is yours alone and your underlying values that attract your customers to you. There is no stronger differentiator than how you appeal to another person’s identity. When you have a strong understanding of who you are, your strengths, your story and your vision, and that uniqueness is highlighted and illustrated in a beautiful way, you have the strongest chance of having your customers truly fall in love with your company. Once they know who you truly are… success follows.
[Photo and styling by Hitomi Watanabe Deluca]