What Is It & Why Do It?
Brand Discovery is a useful tool for understanding the direction of your company or project. It’s great for exploring brand values at the beginning of a new project as it sets the tone for your future work and can feed into multiple areas of your business. It gives a focus for product features and prioritisation, copy and tone of voice, as well as the user experience look and feel. It lays a great foundation for your brand to evolve as you discover more about what makes your company unique.
The Brand Discovery exercise explores how you imagine your company culture developing both internally and externally, who your target customers will be and the tone of voice that you want your brand to communicate. It helps you explore how you want your customers to feel, the long term impact you want to have in their lives and lastly the “secret sauce” of what sets you apart from your competition.
Who’s Involved & What’s The Setup?
Ideally a Brand Discovery exercise is done at the beginning of a project or company formation with its key members contributing. Having a broad diversity of people and opinions can be very useful but try not to involve too many people. 3–4 maximum. You should allow around 60 minutes for group discussion. After it’s creation make sure it is distributed throughout the rest of the team for company alignment.
- Firstly you want to think about what you want the culture of your company to become. This is important from an internal point of view to align your team but also from an external viewpoint for your customers. What do you represent to them? What values do you want to instil in the culture? Many of the ideals created in the first year will be vital as you move forward. Living by these can be tough but it will make your company unique and stronger for it.
- Next, who are your customers? It’s important to understand, at least roughly at first, who your target audience is as it helps you focus on tone of voice, look and feel and what impact you are able to have in their lives. Even if you haven’t done too much research into your customers at this stage jot down who you think your customers are, their demographic information such as age, role, gender, as well as their personality traits and interests. This doesn’t have to be too detailed as these will most likely be based on your assumptions. (See creating Personas for more detailed exercises).
- What defines your product or company’s tone of voice? If your product had a voice how would it sound? How do you want this to come across to your customers? Will it be light-hearted and whimsical or serious and to-the-point? Think about the type of product you are creating and match this with how you want to make your customers feel. Instilling character into the experience can take your products to the next level. Voice also carries through to your marketing and your customer service. Having a consistent brand voice does wonders for your business.
- Next is feel. Through your customer’s relationship to your brand, how do you want them to feel? What emotions do you want to spark? This can be with the product, the service or the overall company vision that they are trying to achieve. Do you want them to feel calm? Excited? In safe hands? This is a great way to think holistically about your company in a very human-centred way.
- With the development of your product or service it’s important to think about the high-level impact you will have on your customers lives. Through interacting with your brand which areas of their life will change? What are the most important factors for them? If they use your product how will you make their lives easier, funner, safer, etc?
- Lastly, what special ‘something’ does your brand bring that your competitors do not? What is your Secret Sauce? Having a uniqueness allows you to stand out from the crowd. What elements combine together from your culture, voice, feel and impact to make your customer remember you and ultimately choose you above everyone else?
- Refer to and update your Brand Discovery as you solidify your ideas, features, strategy and marketing. Distribute around your team, revisit with different members and ask for feedback. After all, a companys brand is only as good as the sum of its people.
- A Brand Discovery is really useful at the beginning of any project or company formation. It starts you off in the right direction with a customer focused perspective.
- It helps you think more holistically about your brand and how it effects your company internally as well as externally.
- Transfer your brand values into everyday life that speaks to everyone who is involved in your company. It’s especially important in the beginning of your journey as this sets the tone for the future.
- Get a variety of peoples input and distribute around the team. Make sure people know what you stand for, how you say it and why.
- You should hire and fire by your brand values so make sure you believe in them! It’s fine to evolve these as you grow but try and keep everyone in the loop!
Check out pivotbot.com for more design thinking toolkits for Researchers, Designers and Product Managers.