BRAND IDENTITY

Methodology

 

Range of Services

Axia provides three levels of brand Identity services. The first level simply includes the design of a logo for businesses or destinations. Our logo design process includes a thorough interview with the Client to clearly identify their objectives, industry, competition and targeted audience. We research existing logos that are relative to the Client's industry and share several styles to get a feeling for what they like and dislike. We generate several loose concepts that range in character but adhere to the established criteria. The concepts are shared with the Client for their consideration and comment. This first submittal may hit the mark dead on or be completely rejected. Either way, this is a valuable first step in the process because it pushes us in the right direction. If the first submittal does not render a winning concept, the next one usually gets us very close to a successful candidate. The objective  moving into the third round is to identify a single concept so we can develop it to it's final form.   Upon approval, production-ready art files are prepared and uploaded to a password-protected client web page where the files will be stored for a year. The client may access their web page at their convenience.

 

The second level is the design of  Identity Packages for businesses or destinations. This includes  a logo suite, business card, letterhead (both for print and electronic), envelope, HTML email signature and an abbreviated style guide to manage the proper use of the graphic assets associated with the identity. Identity Packages may be expanded to include additional branded applications if requested and are negotiated upon request. The process for designing Identity Packages is similar to the design of a logo but include additional research into competitor's identities and the targeted audience. Concept explorations are applied to the respective collateral materials.  We evoke some of our branding expertise and position our design so that it may easily adapt to any future branding initiatives.

 

The third level, Place Brand Identity is our most comprehensive approach to the development of branded communications for destinations which are based on a formal place brand architecture. Axia Creative teams up with highly effective place brand development partners and destination marketing professionals who provide the necessary "heavy lifting" required for a strong brand foundation and implementation blueprint.

 

Each of our strategic partners have their own approach to building the foundation of a new place brand. All follow similar processes to assure a highly successful brand platform.  Before we begin visual concept development, we stay close behind our partners who begin the assessment and analysis phases. While the process may vary for each project,  the following is a general approach to the development of a place brand.

 

Assessment

The first step includes a client scoping meeting, stakeholder interviews and presentation/workshops that explain the essentials of successful destination branding. The primary objective is to align everyone on a common path of intent and reaffirm the goals.

 

To help facilitate team communication, an online project area is created and accessible by team members on the Axia website which includes project documentation resource links and visual references.

 

Past strategic plans, research, surveys and reports are studied. Content and focus of brochures, advertising, web landscape, and partner promotions are audited. An online survey is conducted to capture the unfiltered attitudes, perceptions and opinions of residents, members and stakeholders which will also gauge the level of advocacy towards the region as a place to live, visit or work. Key competitor profiles are created.

 

 Analysis

This step typically includes the prioritization of key target audiences. Experiences that will form the Brand Pillars are revealed along with the key locations, themes and clusters that will underpin them. The most potent positioning for the community is identified. 3 brand concept options are developed and presented.  Compelling statements that capture the essence of the three brand concepts are generated along with positioning that captures the essence of the Brand Platform and expresses the distinctive value and benefits that the community delivers.

 

Alignment

The objective is to orchestrate the brand messages, behavior and experiences needed to leave target customers with similar basic feelings, impressions, and perceptions of the region no matter who is communicating them. In conjunction with the Client's staff and the Advisory Committee, we consider who the current and potential messengers are both internally and externally and which are the most influential with key audiences. We ask, is the proposed brand likely to be in harmony with them in meaningful and appropriate ways and can the proposed brand be leveraged with prominent local, regional and State brands? We reaffirm that the proposed brand will provide optimal opportunities for new business, product development and the expansion of the community’s current strengths.

 

Articulation

The articulation step is where Axia's creative team steps to the forefront. The brand identity starts to take form through verbal and visual devices. These are the designs, images, and language to articulate the community’s brand. It will provide the inspiration for marketing, product development and wayfinding.

 

Developing the verbal identity includes a series of distinctive tag line options to capture the Destination Promise. Enticing key words and phrases are crafted to resonate with specific target audiences. Propositions and key messages are revealed to aid in communicating with specific target audiences.

 

Designing the visual identity includes the creation of a series of logo options. A suite of fonts are selected and a distinctive color pallet is created for use in marketing and wayfinding. Sample applications are created to demonstrate how the visual identity will look in a variety of marketing, environmental and corporate applications such as logo attire, merchandise items, a brochure templates, print ad, partner co-branding formats and web media. We provide suggestions for the production of high quality photography and video to convey the brand.

 

Logo concepts and tag lines are tested with  Axia’s Global Test Panel to review and comment on the logo alternatives. Their survey rankings and comments help us to see options in a broader perspective and to fine tune the alternatives.

 

Mobilizing the information and findings revealed during the brand planning, we work with the Client's team during a specially designed workshop to create the key elements of the marketing plan to provide a unifying strategy across traditional and digital media. The session will reveal goals and objectives, target audiences, SWOT analysis, critical issues to be addressed, past successes, preferred marketing channels, critical time lines and evaluation criteria.

 

Activation

Our strategic partners work with the Client to establish the on-brand actions that will be necessary to communicate and bring the brand to life.

 

Critical points and opportunities are isolated where the brand may be deployed to reach customers. Brand experiences are highlighted and optimized to deliver on the Destination Promise.

 

Adoption

Specific goals, messages, and actions needed to generate understanding, support and use of the brand by community partners, leaders, organizations and individuals are determined. The Axia team provides guidance on how to appoint and manage brand ambassadors and spokespersons. We aid in the smooth brand launch by providing advice and tips for this important step.

 

Action

We work with the Client to ensure that the brand has the designs, tools and know-how to successfully manage the community’s brand.

 

We produce a brand style guide which outlines how the brand should be communicated, managed, and monitored to ensure its long term sustainability.  It typically includes:

  • Brand Platform: Foundation of the brand and rationale with key attributes, emotional benefits, brand personality, and brand essence.
  • The distinctive value and benefits that destination delivers to target audiences,
  • Copy style, key words and phrases.
  • Photography style
  • Matching brand messages to the targeted market
  • Brining the brand experiences to life
  • Visual Identity: The logo and graphic assets to visually express the brand and rules for the correct (and incorrect) use of the visual identity system
  • Support typography
  • Brand application concepts such as business stationary, brochures, display ads, promotional give-aways, trade show displays, etc.

 

Marketing direction recommendations are completed based on the goals, objectives, SWOT results, target markets, and suggested program actions revealed during the marketing workshop and brand research phases. We facilitate a brand coaching session for staff and key partners to discuss and demonstrate how to correctly implement the brand strategies.