So how do we approach our clients? First, we audit (collect, catalog, and critically review) all your existing materials and those of your competitors. We are looking for any tangible and intangible evidence to evaluate current marketing communications efforts, among them:
1 || key messages
how your organization and your competitors have chosen to “sell” yourselves to date
2 || overall quality of the marketing materials
strength (or weakness) of the creative approach, quality of copywriting and imaging, richness of production values, etc.
3 || obvious inconsistencies
in the presentation of service and product offerings and the marketing message
4 || completeness of substantive information
is the message convincing and compelling
5 || we trust but verify
The next step is, in many ways, the springboard for all else. We need to learn about your organization’s real personality—the individuals, history, and soul that drive its work and culture. So, we interview your most important assets—your ruling body, rainmakers, culture bearers, and rising leaders who will move you into the future.
We also interview clients to understand their needs and competitive perceptions better. Client interviews are often a reality check on your organization’s self-perception. The result of both the audit and the internal and external interviews is a brand platform—a single-page brief with the brand promise reduced to a single sentence. This is, without question, the most crucial document in the branding process. It will guide our work throughout the branding process and be used repeatedly as a touchstone for the evolving creative.
6 || redesign & realign
With a clear brief you have approved, we use our creative tool kit to solve marketing problems or align your organization’s messaging with opportunities in the marketplace. We might create a new logo or Web site or develop brochures, advertising, and other materials. Depending on the situation and your budget, we do these projects one at a time or simultaneously.
7 || print design
Once we understand who you are and why you’re a better choice, we can work on translating that into great design. Materials that look hard to read are hard to read! They are typically firm-centered, not client-centered. We subscribe to a practice of “content design” focused on the habits of a scanning reader. Instead of relying on words to drive the design project, we deliver substantive information graphically via charts, lists, graphs, diagrams, images, tables, and maps. The goal here is to say as much as possible in a visually appealing manner and better designed for today’s scanning reader.
8 || web & mobile
Web design is as much about building and sustaining a brand as it is about “web design.” Web design should be considered an extension of your firm’s brand and should bring it to life online in a fashion unique to your firm. Our design philosophy is informed by buyer behavior and insights, so our websites are built with online behavior patterns in mind. We know that your website is likely the first tangible evidence buyers have of your firm. And we fully believe in the value of having your online drive offline marketing efforts—from the firm’s website to the firm’s collateral and everything in between.