Branding exercise.

Building and Expressing Your Brand

The average person is bombarded with roughly 6,000 brand messages everyday – on the radio, on TV, on social media, on billboards. So how can you cut through the noise? Simple and consistent branding that sets you apart from everyone else. But that’s trickier than it might first seem.

It can help to think about your brand as a person. You want to have a clear sense of you who are – how you dress, how you speak, how you act – and who you are shouldn’t change depending on where your audience bumps into you. Think about social media maven Chrissy Teigen. Everything she posts is consistent with the funny, witty, and personable brand she’s built, and she has about a gajillion engaged followers who know what to expect and feel like they can trust her. Whether it’s the personal brand of a model-turned-influencer or your own, good brands are built through the consistent delivery of their personality through all points of contact.


What brand expression is… and what it is not

One of the best ways to lay a solid foundation for a strong brand is by beginning with what we call a “brand expression.” Our goal with this project is to work together with you to define how your brand looks and sounds. At the end of a brand expression project, you will not walk away with a website design, an ad design, or a brand book design. You will walk away with a clear and strong knowledge of what your brand looks and sounds like, which will inform all future projects and make everything that happens next – whether that’s a website build, social media accounts, or a mass campaign – a whole lot easier. Your brand expression will establish a memorable and consistent look and voice, and the end product – a simple pdf document full of the colours, photos, and words that make your brand your brand – will act as a touchstone for any future collateral or content.

Brand expression is not a logo design project, although evaluating and integrating an existing logo should be part of the process, and developing a new logo can definitely be included when needed. Ultimately, your brand needs to be more than just a logo, and clearly defining how you express your brand’s values, promises, and personality is where brand expression comes in.


The process

To make sure we get it right, we do our homework. We’ll start with an in-depth discovery session with you, where we’ll talk about your business, the industry you are a part of, your target audience, your goals, and what sets you apart – anything and everything we create comes out of your answers to these questions, along with our research into what your competition is doing.  

After our discovery session with you, we’ll fine-tune a list of tone words that describe the personality of your brand in much the same way you would describe the personality of a person. The words are used as internal guideposts, making sure that everything created in the future stays consistent, and they’re not necessarily meant to be used externally – your company should be these words.

To start defining your external voice, we’ll develop a brand story that succinctly explains what you do, how you do it, and why you do it, along with some key messaging – all based on our discovery process with you. It’s critical to know how your brand speaks, and to be consistent in your tone. People like reliability and consistency – not just in branding, but also in life. Do you remember how shocked you were the first time you heard your grandma swear? It was probably off-brand enough that it shook you to your core (and you can probably still tell that story with painstaking detail).

Along with defining your voice, we’ll use the tone words to pull together a visual representation of your brand. We’ll determine your brand fonts, a colour palette, photography style, and any graphic devices that your brand has in its toolkit.


The finish, and the future

A brand expression is not in and of itself a finished external marketing piece – it’s an important foundation to build off of. You need to walk before you can run, friend, and you need to know your brand well before you start showing it to the world. At the end of this process, we should both have a really solid sense of what your brand looks and sounds like, and from there, the world is your oyster. The brand expression will be a constant guide to whatever comes next. Ultimately, we’re looking to create an emotive and memorable look and voice and then be consistent with it, so that everyone from your staff to your target audience has the same strong sense of who you are.


To see some examples of brand expression projects, check out this page and filter by “branding.” If your own brand could use a little more clarity to cut through the clutter, get in touch.