This post was originally published on Forbes.
Branding is often seen as a fluffy subject. It’s de-prioritized because it is neither tangible, nor easily measurable and belongs more to the creative types than left-brain entrepreneurs. But dismissing the importance of branding is a big mistake, especially for consumer facing companies. Branding is critical to the success of any business, both externally and internally and creating a solid brand platform will make it easier to execute all your other tasks with clarity.
Last summer, my cofounder and I realized we had to do a proper brand review. At two years old we had evolved in our direction, in the understanding of who we were and we had doubled the size of our team. Everything had happened organically, but we had never taken a step back to communicate the changes to the team or even between each other. We were lacking a clearly defined vision, a common language and an authentic identity. Though we knew branding mattered, we didn’t fully grasp the importance of developing a strong brand platform.
“What we hadn’t realized is that real branding also requires a certain set of tools, a framework to work with and a third party to act as the conductor.”
We de-prioritized our branding review. We thought we did not have the time or resources and ultimately, it took us a year to complete. We then had a failed attempt when we thought we could do it ourselves without any proper tools and outside help. We gathered the team together and did two sessions, one full day and one half day. Though these sessions sparked great discussions, we’ve since learned that we didn’t know which questions and exercises could help us reach a successful conclusion. Furthermore, we didn’t know how to proceed with the results of these sessions. What we hadn’t realized is that real branding also requires a certain set of tools, a framework to work with and a third party to act as the conductor.
This summer, we finally did it correctly. We enlisted the help of Alexandra Sprung and Kevin Meade, two of the founders of a great European branding agency, L’Agence Simone. They’ve worked with clients like Diptyque, Champagne Perrier-Jouet and more, and provided invaluable guidance throughout this process. Here, I’ve detailed what we learned from this experience, including some of the process and tools we used, to give you an idea of what needs to be done.
During the branding session:
After the branding session:
“The process allowed the various team members to better understand each other and move forward with a common understanding and willingness.”
Though we are still implementing our findings, the results of this process have already been tremendously beneficial. The process allowed the various team members to better understand each other and move forward with a common understanding and willingness. This team dynamic and buy-in is invaluable. We now all know what we want Boticca to be. Therefore, each team can take the results of this branding exercise and incorporate them into their own daily work. Because we all share the same vision, mission and values, we are also able to communicate externally in a stronger way, thus making our USP much stronger and differentiating ourselves to our audience.
Yes, it took some time, effort, resources and coordination, but the results are already worth it. All that remains to be done is what we do every day, to execute, but this time we can do it with clarity and in unison.