Starting up a new brand

So you’ve got a great idea for a new product of service, you know it needs a name, a logo and perhaps a website or promotional material, but your not sure where to start.

We here at Flux believe it is absolutely essential that proper diagnosis and strategy are developed before the brand begins to take shape. If you have a marketing background you may already be familiar with this type of strategic approach.

Diagnosis and strategy

A common error start-ups make is naming their product or service before undertaking this strategic process. Usually this is because it makes the new brand seem real in its infancy and this enables the proprietor to feel personally attached to it. Sometimes this approach works well, but other times it fails to consider the more important external factors, like; whether the target audience, who eventually own the brand, will find the name engaging or not; and whether the name will be unique and therefore memorable enough within its marketplace and geographic location (if any) within which the brand will trade.

The strategic outline should answer the following types of questions:

  1. What is the brand’s objectives?
  2. Who is the target audience?
  3. How can the brand’s personality engage the audience?
  4. Will there be multiple products on offer?

If there will be multiple products on offer a parent brand with multiple sub-brands might be a more suitable structure. This allows different types of products to target different audiences. Car companies do this very well—parent brand Toyota owns and operates the luxury Lexus brand as well as smaller car sub-brands like Corolla.

The end result of the strategic process is a clear idea about how the new brand (or brands) needs to engage each corresponding audience and simultaneously achieve the outlined objectives.

Then comes the creativity

Some graphic designers approach the creative process intuitively. That is, they skip past the strategic phase and launch directly into creative design. Most designers do creative very well, mainly because the creative process is fairly intuitive to those of us who have been undertaking it for many years. But my criticism of this intuitive approach is that it can lead to bad experiences for both designer and client. Using a strategic approach ensures both client and designer are on the same wavelength prior to any investment in creative work.

The strategic outline also works as a checking tool to make sure the project doesn’t go beyond the exciting edge of creativity, into the lonely abyss of the irrelevant.

Please feel welcome to contact me with your opinion, comments or questions related to this article.

Frank Stillitano

Founder of Flux Visual Communication