So you have hired a new graphic designer, copy writer or another creative vendor. You might think the first thing you need to do is give that resource a project such as an PowerPoint presentation, brochure or a website project, right? Well, that may not be the best first step. Perhaps a look at your brand might be a better place to start for many new creative projects.

But why look at your brand first? Isn’t your brand simply a logo, color palette and a font? Perhaps it is for some. But smart marketers know that a brand is much more than that. Every creative decision, whether it’s design, copy, video or images, should undergo a thought process to build meaningful creative materials that bring your brand’s personality to the surface.  There should be reasoning behind these creative decisions that have to do with your target audience’s interests and behaviors. This is where a brand discovery comes into play.

What is a brand discovery?

A brand discovery is simply an exercise that strategists use to “discover” who your brand is. The brand discovery process is different for every business, every project and every creative strategist. Only one meeting might be needed for some, while for others, several meetings may be needed. The purpose of the brand discovery is to simply get to know your brand which helps creative strategists build your creative brand materials in a way that is best suited to reflect your brand’s personality to the audience you seek to attract.

One of the underlying purposes of a brand discovery is to understand your core audience. After all, it’s your customers who keep you in business, so learning about them is paramount. Creative strategists will want to know their gender, age, income, personality traits and behaviors. The information collected here will help creative strategists make brand more relatable to your audience, and relatability is one of the foundations of trust and confidence in your brand.

A good brand discovery will also include a competitive analysis. A competitive analysis will uncover not only direct competitors, but also similar businesses. Asking who “you” are may not be enough. It is just as critical to ask who “they” are. Once this is defined, an analysis on their strengths and weaknesses compared to your brand may shed some new light on what your creative marketing strategy should be.

The brand discovery will tell creative strategists where your brand has been, what creative challenges you have faced and where you would like your brand to go.

Why do I need one?

Think of it this way. Would you email a new doctor’s office and ask for a diagnosis before the doctor has seen you? You could try. But, chances are your new doctor will need you to schedule an office visit so they could ask you questions about your medical history and they will need to ask questions about your symptoms. They may even need to run some tests before they can properly diagnose your health issue.  This same principal applies to a brand discovery.

Not sold yet? Well, here’s another analogy: Starting creative projects without a discovery is much like shooting arrows blindfolded. Creative strategists would be completely blind, and they would never, ever hit the bullseye on the first shot, or even the second or the third. The success of your creative project can be very subjective if success has not been defined for a project. A good brand discovery takes subjectivity and unfounded creative preferences out of the equation and replaces it with informed choices.

Some brands may already have an extensive brand guidelines book, with the brand persona, core values, brand tone and manifesto already written by a previous branding agency. This is certainly great and may very well eliminate the need for a brand discovery. But, as in the previous analogy, when you need a new doctor, that doctor may have their own questions that will help them make their own informed decisions. This same principal applies to creative strategists.

Creative Chain utilizes a brand discovery whenever we are asked to create.  To set the project up for success, we will need a discovery to create the roadmap that defines what resonates with our client, their stakeholders, their brand, and their audience.

Schedule a call today to learn more.