A brand evolution: An insider look at repositioning
Here are best practices for approaching a reposition
Whether new to a marketplace or long-established in an industry set, the process of repositioning a brand can be perceived as daunting for any company, product or service brand.
In many instances, however, repositioning is essential to reflect the changed state of a business or product lifecycle. It can drive business, increase retention and improve overall audience perception. Despite the somewhat involved process, the upsides of a repositioning process far outweigh the relatively small investments of time and energy.
A top creative team approaches repositioning projects with a step-by-step approach founded in sound strategy, to ensure thoughtful and effective answers to the hard questions of differentiation, memorability and ownability. Here are best practices for approaching a reposition and how the resulting deliverables can be utilized by a creative agency to express key messages, inform creative development and drive marketing objectives.
Know your Company, Audience Perception and Competitive Set.
In order to create a thoughtful and differentiated brand positioning, it is essential to first gather necessary research and insight. This starts with a comprehensive overview of the company itself, from the history of the brand, understanding its current state and how it has evolved, marketplace positioning, and lastly, identifying a target audience and business goals for the future. This is important not only for client stakeholders to review, but also for the creative team to fully immerse themselves in the foundational elements of the brand.
The next stage is to conduct a competitive audit of the industry and key competitors. This can inform questions such as: What is the brand’s key differentiator that sets it apart from competition? Is the brand currently expressed in a way that effectively communicates this differentiator? Lastly, stakeholder insight should be gathered to understand current brand perceptions, particularly in how the brand is perceived by the audience. This initial background sets the groundwork for defining a brand position that will be inherent in all marketing communications.
Collaboration is Key.
Once the groundwork is laid, a brand workshop offers an opportunity for key members of the creative team and stakeholders from the client side to collaborate. The workshop is meant to dive deeper than the original brand overview, discussing the future state of the brand in terms of desired perceptions, philosophical and functional points of distinction and brand personality. This will be incorporated into the creative team’s strategic recommendations directing the repositioned brand and story, messaging, brand promise and key insight that will flow into all marketing and communication efforts.
Express the Positioning.
Upon client review and approval of these strategic recommendations, the creative team can produce original creative options for a company identity that will serve as the cornerstone of the expression. Once selected, the agency will then prepare a formalized expression platform which describes the verbal and visual definition of the new positioning, from the primary identity to design patterns, color palette, typography, messaging, photography and illustration. These elements will serve as the creative foundation for all future marketing communications.
Bring it to Life.
With a creative foundation and unique expression established, elements of sales and marketing can be rolled out as necessary to fit an established marketing plan and launch strategy. The D+i Creative team has the ability to collaborate with an internal marketing department to create appropriate brand guidelines to inform the use of the visual and verbal tools. The creative team can also independently provide solutions for a redesigned website, product packaging, sales materials, social media assets, and other design production needs with the knowledge that everything is reflective of the new position and expression.
With any foray into positioning it is important to be fully immersed in the current brand equity of the company, its pain points, goals and marketplace perception. Making a major position change is not always a necessary measure, but when executed using a strategic and collaborative approach, it can foster growth and help progress toward key business goals.
Eli Gerson is the CEO of D+i Creative and oversees major brand initiatives and digital projects for companies, city agencies and nonprofit organizations. He excels at aligning teams of various sizes to a singular direction and vision of their organization's brand.
Ben Gust is the Chief Creative Officer at D+i Creative and is responsible for the work product from both an original creative and level of quality standpoint, overseeing all creative execution that passes through the studio and originating ideas and solutions from a conceptual, visual and verbal approach as necessary.