Brand consultant Alina Wheeler has developed a phased process for researching, clarifying and implementing a brand strategy. A reminder that building a strong brand demands more than a logo, Wheeler outlines a disciplined approach that has been used with success by several major companies. Her book Designing Brand Identity: Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team (John Wiley & Sons, third edition) distills this process into five easy-to-follow steps. It’s worthwhile advice. Following this process will not guarantee branding success, but ignoring it will inevitably lead to a muddled identity program that confuses consumers and employees alike.
Editor’s Note: Alina Wheeler’s book, Designing Brand Identity, just released in its third updated printing, is a reference for anyone involved in branding. A comprehensive review of branding fundamentals, Wheeler’s book showcases best practices and pares away complexities so that common processes are easy to understand. It is a great guide for those entering the business, and for old pros, her book can be used in the same way that experienced cooks consult a cookbook to make sure that they haven’t forgotten any essential ingredients.
Here’s Wheeler’s schematic of components that go into preparing a brand brief. “Many entrepreneurial companies have visionaries who walk around with this information in their heads; getting it on paper helps anyone who has the responsibility to execute the vision,” she says. “The best briefs are succinct and strategic, and approved by the most senior levels in an organization early in the process. If these briefs are approved, the balance of the project is more likely to be on track and successful.”