Building a brand that lasts

You can always get what you want

At MAKEOUT we always insist on doing a workshop first when starting a new branding project. A workshop might sound a little bit lame or outdated — since it has no fancy hip name — but done right you’ll receive crucial information and interesting insights. We also ask our clients to involve their most important stakeholders in this workshop to trigger interesting discussions and bring the necessary information to the table. Things we really need to know to make sure everyone is eventually working towards the same goal.

An example of a slide we use for our visual exercise during the workshop.

The importance of the workshop becomes more clear for a client when they’re realizing we’re analyzing them completely — from top to bottom. Not only by asking the right questions but also challenging them with visuals. In our experience visuals are key in making things more tangible for clients. It creates interesting discussions since people interpret things differently from one and another. Clients’ stakeholders often have a different perspective and they discover their true brand identity by participating actively in this visual exercise.

In our experience visuals are key in making things more tangible for clients.

Together with the client we try to answer questions like what makes them different and why should the customer care about their product or service? Simple questions that aren’t always easy to answer. Finding consensus and defining clear answers is the challenge in every step of the workshop. After all we’re creating the building blocks of the brands’ identity. In the end it helps us to determine they’re consumer discriminator and their true brand essence.

Why is this first step so damn important?

Other players, who claim to be branding experts, tend to skip this crucial step. If they’re lucky they’ll receive a minimal briefing and just start designing a logo — only based upon gut feeling. Missing the vital information you need when doing a branding right and help your client building a real sustainable brand.

Other players, who claim to be branding experts, tend to skip this crucial step.

Creating a sustainable brand is comparable to building a house. You can’t start building a wall without a solid foundation and a blueprint from your architect. The wall would probably be solid on its own, but will collapse from the moment you put something on top of it. It’s almost exactly the same when you’re building a brand.

Of course you can perfectly create a logo for a client. And your client might be satisfied with the end result. But it’s more likely to be a never ending story of feedback loops. Or your client notices his brand has no identity of its own when addressing its target audience, it’s an empty shell. Maybe it looks good from the outside, but there’s no soul inside that makes the brand last.

Multiple scenarios that all end with a troubled relationship and nobody will be really happy. Unless you’re only in for the cash.

The Brand Deck card game that’s developed by Scott Thomas, former lead designer of the 2008 Obama campaign.

Branding is about crafting an identity

Just like every human a brand needs to have its own identity. An identity that perfectly fits according the brand strategy & DNA and for this reason a workshop is crucial. Especially if you want to convince your client to feel the need to define its intangible component first.

It should be the gold standard in every branding to challenge your client’s DNA first to make sure your actually helping your client building a strong brand the right way.

From the moment your client is aware of your added value you’re building a real brand, together. With a claimable identity that’s truly his. Probably meaning you’re creating a successful branding — that still stands at the end of the ride.