By Kate Spiers
The branding process is especially exciting to me, because it forces you to take a whole new look at the business you are branding. It makes you unpick what you see, look at it from all angles, find out what’s really at the core, and then build it back up again in a way that makes sense and makes the brand sing loud.
I’ve been fortunate enough to lead several re-brands and experiencing the change of perception in stakeholders of their own business – almost in front of our eyes, as they take a fresh view – is astounding.
We’re sharing a few brand stories this month, to show you the process of brand, Wisdom London style. And where better place to start than our own?
Start with a vision
You might already know the story of Wisdom (see earlier post if you’re wondering) – the idea right from the beginning was “communications that connect” and was built around five mutually complementary offers: Strategy, brand communications, thought leadership, digital and creative copy. I described my vision to Elle Moss at Drew Creative Branding and we worked through the brand analysis process as a first step.
This helped me to really define the Wisdom London offer and ethos, and to distil that down to a few key words. Elle was also (rightly) adamant that I needed to develop my mission statement there and then, to really anchor the brand proposition.
Setting the mood
Next up, we created moodboards based on visual themes that appealed and seemed to me to sum up what Wisdom would be about. Looking back through our initial email discussions, I seemed to sum it up here in a mail to Elle:
“In visual terms I wanted to tell you more about what gets me excited and inspired. A few things: I am prepared to be bold. I also want to look a bit funky and individual and absolutely NOT corporate. WL is never gonna be a huge agency and I think will always be niche – small, perfectly formed, brave and intrepid! But equally a visual ID that can adapt and will age well is important to me.
I am very inspired by retro design – I like it because it suggests the humour / human factor but also because it can be comforting – a new brand identity in a retro style can look familiar and recognisable immediately….”
Love at first sight
Moodboard discussions drove the visual process and Elle then provided a series of creative directions for me to consider. I thought this would be the hard bit. But ironically, it was the easiest. Like a true love, I knew immediately when I saw the identity which would go on to become the Wisdom London brand. It was everything I needed it to be: bold, confident, considered and visually suggested the blending of offers that is core to Wisdom London. The final brand ID is actually very close to the original concept.
Palette, typography and treatments were figured out quickly from there. Within the space of a month (this was a fast-track start-up) I had a beautiful brand which seemed to bring the concept of my nascent business to life in the most perfect way. I love it more every day and am eternally heartened by the positive feedback it elicits from the clients and contacts for whom it resonates.
The perfect brief
The key to success, I think, is in a great creative brief and genuine spadework before the creative process really gets off the ground. Elle showed true rigour in her approach, by ensuring that this was the case. We have since worked on a full re-brand for a WL client together and agree that the critical considerations are these:
- Offer: What is ‘it’, in literal and value-adding terms?
- Audience: Who is the audience?
- Emotion: What do you want them to feel? What do you need them to believe?
- Barriers: What might their barriers (cultural, professional or otherwise) be?
- Personality: What is the personality of the brand first and foremost? Is it bold, safe and solid, innovative, trustworthy?
- Competitors: What exists already in your space? How are you different?
- Channels: Through which channels will the brand identity be employed? Can it translate to all of those channels?
- Future view: What is the vision? What will the brand represent in a few years from now? In 10 years from now?
Behind the scenes: Take a look…
You’ll see here a sneaky peak of the creative process, as the team at Drew brought Wisdom London to life….
Kate Spiers is director and founder of Wisdom London