An Introduction to The H/S Approach to Branding Process

In partnership with our clients, we have built a number of brands from the ground up.

As we all know, a brand does not materialize out of thin air. A lot of hard work and creative thinking goes into building a strategy that will empower a brand to flourish.

We have identified the best process for building brands and facilitating their growth.

We call it The H/S Approach.

In this collaborative process, we work with our partner clients over the course of four weeks to discover the best opportunity within their marketplace, build the brand to meet that opportunity, and inspire the real, organic love of their target audience.

We’d like to take you step by step through our process.

1. Research & Discovery

Provocation

The first step in The H/S Approach allows us to take advantage of our clients’ unique expertise in their industries. We create a customized Stakeholder Questionnaire that provokes and guides our clients’ self-reflection in five essential categories:

-History: How did the brand start, and what has it already accomplished?

-Current State: Where is the brand currently situated in the market?

-Future State: Where does the brand see opportunity?

-Products and Services: What are the products and services offered by the brand, and what unique value does the brand provide?

-Competitive Landscape: Who are the direct competitors? What do they do right, and where do they fall short?

Gaining Our Own Insights Through Desk Research

After we review our client’s answers to the Stakeholder Questionnaire, we put in rigor against their responses to gain a deeper understanding of:

-the brand’s industry landscape;

-their direct competitors; and

-their target audience.

Client Work Session #1: Reviewing Our Findings & Identifying Strategic Imperatives

In our first client work session, we review their responses to the Stakeholder Questionnaire and share the insights we gathered from our own research. In collaboration with the clients, we begin developing the strategic imperatives, which are goals that need to be accomplished in order for the brand to achieve growth.

For example, for our partner’s at Cupid’s, we identified establishing their brand hierarchy as one of their strategic imperatives. Because they began as an undie run, we knew communicating the expansion of their offerings would be essential.

2. Brand Strategy

In the next stage of The H/S Approach, we begin crafting the key messages that convey the brand’s strategy. We have identified these as the 5 most essential Brand Strategy Statements:

-Brand Positioning Statement: We identify the distinct product or service offered, the audience who will love it, and how the brand is unique among its competitors to pinpoint and place the brand at this ideal position within the marketplace.

-Higher Purpose: This is where we articulate the brand’s deeper motivation, or the “why” behind what it does.

-Core Values: We clearly define a set of core values that are each aligned with fulfilling the brand’s broader higher purpose.

-Mission Statement: We address what the brand does, who they do it for, and where they do it for both an internal and external audience.

Work Session #2: Presenting & Perfecting the Brand’s Strategy Statements

In our second client work session, we present the 5 essential brand positioning statements we crafted in line with the strategic imperatives solidified in the previous stage of the process. After collaborating with the client, we use their feedback to take the brand positioning statements through three rounds of revisions, perfecting each statement before moving on to the final step in The H-S Approach.

3. Brand Identity

Where Strategy Feeds Identity

In the last stage of our process, we build the core visual aspects of the brand’s image that will best serve our strategic imperatives. In the presentation of our initial logo options, we place each option alongside competitor logos, apply it across various mediums in multiple color combinations and fonts, and illustrate its spectrum of scalability.

This is also when we create the voice and tone guidelines, secondary graphics, and photo treatments for the brand. This identity work will be extended and applied to all future brand collateral.

Delivering the Brand Bible

At the completion of the branding process, we will deliver the Brand Bible, which fully captures the essence of the brand. This is a resource that any employee or affiliate of the company can refer to when making decisions as a representative of the brand. The Brand Bible emcompasses the brand’s personality and philosophy, but it also provides the technical guidelines for applying each of the brand elements we create. The Brand Bible provides standards of usage for the brand’s visual elements, including various use cases for the logo. The Style Guide, which outlines the expectations for voice, tone, grammar, and usage for all of the brand’s written communications, is also included within the Brand Bible.

In closing…

We’ve used The H/S Approach to help multiple brands find their ideal location in the marketplace, and while we definitely can’t take all the credit, we’ve seen several of these clients grow and succeed in their industries. You can read some of their stories by reading our updates on clients like Forelinx, GirlTrek, Lensabl, and Room Dividers Now.

If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of The H-S Approach, we’d be happy to share our knowledge and experiences with you.

Get in touch with one of our brand identity experts at hello@herman-scheer.com

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