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Updated: Oct 22, 2018

A brand’s identity is the visual expression of a brand that is communicated to the outside world, and includes its name, logotype or mark, communications, and visual appearance. An identity system and identity guideline manual allow for the consistent use of the brand’s identity through all consumer touch-points—allowing a brand to be easily recognized and gain awareness in the marketplace.

A brand identity creates an emotional connection, and reflects the brand positioning and desired image.

Our brand identity process is comprised of six steps: it starts with an analysis of the

business needs and ends with the application of the brand identity to several pieces

of marketing communication.

Steps 1 and 2 are the research and analysis of the marketing situation with a document

that defines the marketing strategy behind brand identity development. Steps 3-6 are

where the creative work is performed and involves exploration of the logomark and

logotype. Refinements and selection of the most successful work is done at this

point. Lastly, the final logo is selected and brand identity guidelines are created.

1 Review, Research and Analysis

2 Define Strategy

3 Brand Identity Development

4 Refinements and Contextual Application

5 Identity System and Guidelines

6 Logo Implementation

1. Review, research and analyze.

In step one, we convene and learn the details pertinent to the project. We will review and confirm that the current information we have is applicable for branding elements moving forward.

a. Kick-off meeting. Review past information, gather new information, and discuss the philosophy and plan for the project moving forward.

b. Information review. Updates on brands and sub-brands, extensive competitive research, and summarize findings.

2. Define strategy and develop creative brief.

In this stage we define brand elements, or attributes, that best fit the brand. From the brand elements we define the positioning of the brand. The last part of step 2 is the creation of a Creative Brief outlining the strategy for brand identity development.

a. Define positioning. After review of the marketing information gathered from Step 1, we create a positioning statement that can be used along with the “brand driver” boards as the benchmark for review of all creative moving forward.

b. Define brand elements. These are elements that help to describe the essence of the brand. At this point, we present “Brand Driver” boards that include a short and long written description, keywords, and visual elements that help to articulate the core attributes of the brand.

c. Compose Creative Brief for identity development. This document is used by the design staff to kick-off the creative exploration of a logo. We share this with the client at the same time we share this with the creative team.

3. Brand Identity Development (logotype and logo mark)

This is when creative exploration begins. Using the creative brief and brand elements mood boards, the creative team explores ideas for the logo.

a. Exploration. Typography and graphical styles are explored in sketch form through brainstorm sessions. The best solutions are digitally developed into more refined logos.

b. Presentation. We meet in person to present and review 3-5 logo directions that we feel are the most successful, and best reflect the creative brief and mood boards. Through discussion and collaboration, we decide which logos we would like to explore in more detail.

4. Logo Refinements

This is where the back and forth between client and designer happens. All the decision makers are in the room and the logos are reviewed with the strategy in mind.

a. Refinements. Taking the information gathered from the first presentation, we refine 2-3 of the more successful logos and meet again to review andchoose the final logo. Contextual applications are shown for each logo that include examples of how the logo might appear on various pieces of marketing communications. These meetings may include at least two rounds of refinements.

b. Review Logo Extensions and Architecture. Show how the chosen logo(s) will work with brand partners and sub-brands, and how the logo will look in various accepted forms (i.e.: black and white, reversed out, etc.).

5. Identity System and Guidelines

An identity system and guidelines manual needs to be developed for the most basic corporate communications including stationery, promotional material, and environmental signage.

a. Exploration and Logo Extensions. Includes the exploration of size, location and color pallete for the logo. We will place the logo in real-world brand communications to discover how the placement, size and accompanying typography and brand partners will have an effect on the logo.

b. Presentations. We will present identity system design that may include examples of stationery, environmental signage and promotional materials.

c. Refinements. We will refine and present again for final approval.

d. Identity Guideline document. Using the guideline system approved from above, we create a master guideline document that ensures for the proper and consistent use of the brand identity.

5. Launch Program

Once the brand identity and guidelines are completed, a launch program of the new brand to the outside world is developed to maximize impact.

a. How can we capitalize on this new brand and make the most impact in the marketplace? We answer this question by addressing pace, tempo and timing in context with public relations, direct mail, websites, advertising and other marketing materials.

b. A launch plan is developed that considers all communication channels and customer touch points. We identify tactics and develop creative andcreative briefs and budgets.

c. Design, layout and production takes place with budget and timing in mind.

Moving forward:

Establishing a strong and recognizable brand identity and guidelines to ensure proper use is an essential first step to any successful communications program. If done correctly, this will set the standard for all future materials and allow for a consistent and coordinated communications effort across all customer touch-points. Courtney & Company is a full service design communications firm. We create engaging brand communications that achieve results. Exposure works. Engagement Wins.

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