Branding: A Deeper Dive

by | Mar 28, 2019 | Design, Training

When most people think about the word “branding”, they think of logos, color palettes, typography, etc. Naturally, the visual elements of a company’s brand come to mind, but why did they make those design decisions and what inspired the themes and visuals they chose? Hopefully those decisions were thought through more carefully than just looking to see what was trendy at the time.   

Creating an effective and attractive branding strategy will require you to answer certain philosophical questions BEFORE making those design decisions. A company’s branding strategy and guidelines should be inspired by and reflective of its identity, story, targets, vision, and strategic messaging. There should be a clear understanding of who you are, what you value, what you do, who you do it for, where you are going, and how you communicate those things.

If your branding has already been established, but you find it to be outdated, ineffective, or unappealing, perhaps it is time to take a step back, gather key voices from your team, and go through an exercise of evaluation to determine if and how you should evolve your brand in order to take your company to the next level. 

Companies also go through lots of change through years of existence. Teams change, strategies change, markets change, technology changes, and sometimes companies have to evolve to stay relevant and meet new demands and desires of their customers. 

Before diving into evaluating the visual appeal and effectiveness of your logos, color palettes, typography, and other style choices, you first need to have some conversations on the following topics:






These conversations are the filter that you should use to evaluate your current branding and guide the decisions you make regarding the development or evolution of your branding strategies as you move forward.

After answering these questions, the answers should also become the filter for many of the other decisions you make as a company, not only for branding, but in almost everything you do. In each Area Of Practice (AOP) or Department within your company, take these topics and craft a strategy to make sure everything you do top to bottom is aligned with the company’s identity, story, target, vision, and messaging. 

Whether you go through these sets of questions in one long meeting, or if you break these up into five different conversations (recommended), take the time to answer each question and get a variety of valuable voices, personalities, and experts from different fields involved to make sure you receive feedback from every viewpoint.


Questions to discuss/answer:

  1. Who is [insert company name]?
  2. How would you describe our personality as a company?
  3. What about that personality do we want to project outward?
  4. What is the fundamental purpose behind [company] that inspires everyone inside and outside of the organization to do what they do — and love doing it?
  5. What are our core values?
  6. What do we do (services, products, etc.)?

Questions to discuss/answer:

  1. What is our “brand story”?
  2. Before [company] launched, what problem(s) did we identify? What was the itch we wanted to scratch?
  3. Why are we so passionate about solving this problem?
  4. How did [company] form/start?

Questions to discuss/answer:

  1. Who are we targeting?
  2. Who is our ideal customer?
  3. What are the industries we have targeted and what new industries do we want to add?
  4. What is our mission statement?

Questions to discuss/answer:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. What will [company] look like 5 and 10 years from now?
  3. What are our company goals?
  4. What is our general plan for growth?
  5. What kind of impact do we want to make in the industry and in the world?

Questions to discuss/answer:

  1. What is the fundamental idea that we own (or want to own) in the consumer’s mind?
  2. Why should our customers buy our products, use our services, or consume our content?
  3. Who is our competition, and what differentiates us from the competition?
  4. What is the value that we promise to deliver to the consumer?
    • i.e. Should Kodak be in the business of making cameras and film,orshould it be in the business of capturing and sharing moments?
  5. How do we clearly and briefly articulate to prospects who [company] is and what [company] does?
  6. What is our mantra (3-5 word phrase or motto)?