Once a brand design agency has been appointed, it is important to clarify the brief and organise the client side team as early as possible. If not the owner or CEO, then someone who directly reports to them is critical. Additionally, we recommend a working party of no more than six executives from various parts of the organisation and may include consultants, if involved.
Stage one involves investigation. Research, audit and analysis. Strategic recommendations will emerge from here. In advance, a short email from the owner or CEO making plain the corporate brand is being evaluated, consultants appointed and that employees may be asked to confidentially take part in workshops and interviews. The benefits of this are two fold. It is necessary for a clear picture of the organisation and also helps with buy-in from staff and stakeholders when they feel involved and their opinion counts.
Stage two is to do with the developing the brand identity, the core idea and the look and feel. This ultimately culminates in a presentation. Regular and continued reference to the brief is important at this stage. What we found, what we did and why we did it. The presentation is a step by step introduction to the core idea, the brand identity and a description of why the creatives came to the conclusions they advocate. There may be more than one route presented, but in most cases we rarely present more than 2–3 proposals. Ice House Design do not treat this as a beauty contest more slightly varying interpretations of the strategic thinking.
Stage three is the introduction to staff and launch. Internally first and then externally. The importance of the internal launch (as well as external) after a brand change programme cannot be over stated. You can read more about the internal launch of a brand programme here.
It’s common to see external audiences considered more than internal ones. Externally is where the customers are, right? No, the key to a successful brand launch starts from the inside. It’s vital people inside the organisation clearly understand why a brand development or visual identity programme has been undertaken. And, it’s an opportunity to explain where the business has come from – people always forget – and where it’s going. Staff and stakeholders should feel included and aware they have an integral part to play. They should understand it, build on it and begin to live the new brand.
The external launch needs to be carefully planned. There is never going to be another time when people are going to be as receptive and interested in your new brand. Launches can vary from hugely high-profile events such as the 2021 KIA launch or significantly more low key events. There is no right or wrong to this, just what best fits the organisation and inline with their brand personality and values.