By Nick Fraunfelter, Account Manager
The work of an agency can take many forms, from website strategies, to new product launches, to awareness campaigns. But one of the most important initiatives is also one of the trickiest to get right – branding strategies. And while every project and client is unique, there are three essential rules that I always follow as an Account Manager to build effective strategies that define our partners’ messages and connect with their target audiences.
1. Research is Just the Beginning: Know Your Real Goal
When it comes to branding an organization or a campaign, there is always a deeper goal. Whether your aim is to change an opinion about your cause or prompt further engagement with your product or service, identifying the real purpose of your brand begins by developing effective research exercises that lead to effective tactical and creative strategies.
The Origo Answer: By leading organizational audits, internal surveys, leadership interviews, and collaborative brainstorming sessions, our team works to uncover the root of your communication challenges, as well as the vision and goals for the brand initiative.
2. Why They Should Care: Know Your Audience
Traditional target audiences can be broad and nebulous (who exactly are “men ages 25-50”?), and these groups aren’t a monolith. Your customers or clientele have personal motivations and individual preferences, so to connect with them effectively, you need to get granular. Adding to this already heavy lift is the fact that how your brand is perceived by outsiders can be very different from how you think they feel about you, and even how you think about yourself.
The Origo Answer: Leveraging data provided by our partners, along with our extensive research practices built over years of refining our process, Origo helps lead focus groups, industry benchmarking exercises, demographic research, and survey strategies to create intuitive audience profiles that in turn allow us to develop brand tactics that will lead to positive behavior change and powerful results.
3. More Than a Pretty Picture: Know Your Strategy
Knowing the intended goals of your campaign and who you’re trying to reach are crucial, but they mean nothing without the right creative – and that means more than just graphics. Do you have photography that engenders relevance and color treatment that conveys the right mood? Is your messaging compelling and are your calls-to-action concise and easy to understand? And once a creative direction is developed, it’s crucial to test your concept amongst relevant research groups, assessing efficacy of the new brand approach, helping to identify the outreach tactics that connect with audiences in the right way.
The Origo Answer: We know creativity can’t exist in a vacuum, so our process accounts for consultative concepting sessions with our clients, as well as follow-up focus groups with constituents. We also leverage our research findings to make sure our creative strategies align with the right marketing tactics, ensuring we are reaching our audiences with compelling messaging, engaging imagery, and through the right channels of communication.
When done correctly, your brand strategy should evoke a favorable reaction from your target audience and drive action for your mission by making your message loud and clear. And no matter the scope or scale of the project, research is always essential to making sure your brand strategy is delivered through channels that connect with a clearly defined target audience and entice them to engage further in your brand story.