Why it’s worth putting in the pre-project hours

02e66489We’re all long practised in the art of preparation. You may not think it, but it’s true. Even if you pride yourself on being a paragon of gleeful spontaneity, or glumly cast yourself as the harassed perpetual latecomer, there are layers of preparation that you embark on probably without even realising it. People prepare in some sense all through their lives. So the great news is that it is something that you already know how to do!Checking train times, filling in holes before painting, revising for your exams, or even something as simple as grabbing a snack for later, all these things are in the spirit of preparation; taking an action now in order to reap the benefits later. Even if that benefit is simply to not miss a train or to not end up feeling peckish. It is the subject of countless business related mantra: our favourite is from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.”And so the same is true of your branding project. Whether you are rebuilding or developing your brand by creating business-front signage for your premises, updating internal communication signs, branding your vehicle or fleet with wraps or graphics, or embarking on a business show for the first time, analysis into how you represent your brand is key.


Conduct your research face to face, online or by telephone with surveys of groups of consumers, vendors, employees, and senior leadership representatives. From focus groups to large scale samples, research groups can be vital in understanding the real impact that your brand can make. Customer research comprises two key categories: qualitative (perceptions, opinions, and feelings about your project) and quantitative (statistically accurate market information). By conducting thorough research, you can understand the best methods of projecting your brand to your desired market.


Try ideas out and experiment with brainstorming sessions. Use a structured forum to encourage an environment where there are no bad ideas and anything goes. Discuss your corporate values, aims and ambitions. Explore ideas about how to reach your audience and clients. You can utilise this process whether you are constructing your brand from scratch or developing it to encompass other media such as promotional products, vehicle graphics or temporary banners.


What are your current brand, mission, and the set of values?  Understanding where you sit at the moment is as much a part of moving forward as a future strategy. Market definition is a descriptive research process that provides insight into market needs, trends, growth, challenges, and competition. The market landscape is a puzzle into which your brand fits in a very particular way. The empty space is where opportunities exist. But you need a detailed understanding of the puzzle in its entirety before you can position your brand.


Read around your topic. This enables you to collect industry-focused secondary research from publications, databases and associations that will assist you in better understanding target market perceptions and any market barriers. This method is also effective in reviewing the current strategies of your competitors, helping you to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.


Focussing solely on the visual design of your brand runs the risk of achieving an aesthetically pleasing concept at the expense of being able to resonate with target audiences. Analysing your data and communicating it throughout your organisation is the key to building an empowered workforce and connected brand.

Large scale commercial re-brands will see all of these aspects and elements of research explored and utilised. If you’re commencing a more straightforward journey into developing a single aspect of your brand, displaying a trade stand or creating new signage, then you may want to isolate one or two areas on which to concentrate. Even the most headstrong and impulsive among you can find it in yourselves to embark on at least one of these areas of preparation, and through this will reap the benefits of your project.