How Strategy Feeds Identity

When it comes to building a new brand identity (or updating an existing one), many brands want to begin by updating the look and feel of their brand to be more exciting, sleek, or shiny.

While we agree that attractive visual elements are an important aspect of crafting a brand’s identity (we even wrote about it here), we have learned that it is definitely not something that a brand should jump into feet first. That’s how a brand gets stuck in the deep end without a pair of floaties…

In our experience, it is absolutely necessary for a brand to understand and articulate its strategic intent prior to designing any visual elements.

The strategic-what-now?

The brand’s strategic imperatives are the culmination of a few key factors, including:

Purpose: The brand’s goals and what they do, provide, or offer in order to accomplish them.

Audience: Who the brand hopes to entice, intrigue, or seduce with their product or service.

Competition: Who the brand is competing with for the attention of that target audience and how they are unique among those competitors.

Identifying these key factors is always the first step in our branding process because it allows us to pinpoint the precise position where they all intersect to provide the brand’s best opportunity for growth in their marketplace.

We’ve taken many of our partner clients through our branding process (we call it The H-S Approach) to identify these key factors in order to craft the most effective strategy to meet their goals and achieve major growth.

Let’s use our partners at Lensabl as an example. Together with the client, we built the Lensabl service from the ground up. We started by collaborating to identify the following:

Purpose: To take advantage of the eyeglass industry’s blind spot by improving the user experience of replacing prescription lenses.

Audience: Anyone who requires prescription lenses to improve their vision, with a primary emphasis on Millennials.

Competition: Traditional optometrists’ offices and pharmacies.

Keeping these factors in mind, here are the aspects we considered as we crafted a strategy that helped them earn their spot on Built in L.A.’s Top 50 Startups to Watch in 2017 list:

Making Lensabl Instantly Recognizable

Lensabl wanted to turn the prescription eyeglass industry on its head by improving the user experience of replacing their specs through Lenabl’s more affordable, more convenient direct-to-consumer delivery service.

The first thing we had to address was that, since Lensabl was a brand new company, nobody had ever heard about them before. Our solution to this problem was to craft their logo to mimic the precise product they would be delivering to their users’ doorsteps: eyeglasses.

Here it is:

Lensabl logo

Notice how the “L”s on either end of the Lensabl name look like the temples (or the arms) of a pair of eyeglasses? We drove the point even further home by connecting the “a” and the “b” with a bridge to look like an actual pair of spectacles.

With this logo design, we were confident that anyone who came across the Lensabl logo, regardless of whether they had ever heard of the company before, would instantly have a clear understanding of the service they provide.

Catering to a Millennial Market

As an internet-based prescription lens delivery service, we knew that Lensabl’s primary audience, at least in their early days, would be the millennial market. More than any generation, Millennials trust internet-based businesses and are consistently the earliest adopters of these new products and services.

In order to earn the trust of this key demographic, we did extensive research on what attracts and earns the loyalty of this group. Through that research, we learned some very interesting things that we then implemented into Lensabl’s strategy.

Here’s what we found:

Diversity and inclusivity are extremely important to the majority of Millennials.

If you pay a quick visit to Lensabl’s website, you’ll see the entire spectrum of humanity represented in the beautiful lifestyle photography we shot for them.

By casting models of varying ages, genders, and races, we were able to illustrate Lensabl’s commitment to diversity and the universal appeal of their convenient service.

More than almost anything else, Millennials value transparency.

That’s why we spent so much time illuminating the ease of Lensabl’s process for their potential customers. This didn’t stop at the playful illustrations we included on their site.

Our dedication to providing Lensabl’s customers with total transparency and an enjoyable experience extended to:

-the messaging we sent out to keep Lensabl’s customers in the loop at every stage in the ordering and delivery process

-the detailed photos of the Lensabl lab;

-informative insight into the owners of the company;

-the beautiful packaging that the eyeglasses arrived in;

-the Lens Care 101 inserts we included that improved the user experience and provided extra value to Lensabl’s client base.

The language we crafted for their website was also chosen to emphasize Lenabl’s laidback, honest, and approachable nature. Combining these elements helped to create an overall tone of welcoming on Lensabl’s site, which helped build the loyalty of their target audience and establish Lensabl’s service as trustworthy and valuable.

We’ll put it this way, and we think Lensabl customers would agree: If Lensabl was a person, anyone would feel comfortable starting a conversation with them…or even asking them for directions to the nearest optometrist.

In conclusion…

In taking the time to devise an intelligent strategy, we were able to craft each piece of Lensabl’s identity with specific goals in mind. Every choice we made for the brand had a clearly defined purpose and was directed at an audience who would be most receptive to it. The result of this strategic planning was a cohesive and effective brand that has continued to achieve growth rapidly in its first year on the market.

If you’d like to talk more about the importance of identifying your brand’s strategic intent, we have a whole portfolio of successful projects we’d love to share and discuss. You can connect with us at

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