Written by Molly

Brand Labs Winner’s Journey – The Brand Workshop

03.11.21
Reading Time 5 MINUTES

Welcome to our Brand Labs winner’s journey! This year, we’re giving you access all areas.

To know more about our winner, Discover Cymru, before you dive in, check out our winner announcement blog. Otherwise, welcome to our first blog of this series.

Why are we following the winner’s journey this year? Well, Brand Labs is special to us at designdough, and we want to showcase how much it can impact our winning brand. Who knows, you may even want to apply for it in the future and knowing the ins and outs of our process is what gives you the nudge to do so.

So make yourself comfortable as we break this project down for you; taking you through from start to finish. Here we go…

It goes without saying that building a brand can be a lengthy process. All brands start with an idea that has great potential for growth, and it’s our job to solidify and develop that initial idea. After all, the idea is where the magic starts! It only gets better from there.

Our Brand Labs competition is extremely important to our agency. It’s a chance to give back to a business that we know will make a difference in their own unique way. It also gives our design and web team the freedom to run wild with ideas and inspiration for an exciting Welsh company at the beginning of its life.

The very premise of Brand Labs comes from the fact that we understand how hard it can be to just, well…start. The truth is, all you need is a vision and drive, and that’s exactly what Ed from Discover Cymru had and more.

Even if you haven’t heard of the Discover Cymru platform, you’ve probably seen the beautiful images of Wales that it highlights. From cascading waterfalls to desolate road paths, there is no doubt that Wales is one of the most beautiful places in the UK…not like we’re biased or anything! Ed’s passion for his home-soil spoke volumes to us at designdough, and from then, inspiration and ideas exploded into our initial workshop.

In short, workshopping allows us to get a better understanding of the project, and this process generally takes a few hours. We get through many cups of coffee and one too many toilet breaks, but it’s arguably the most important part of the whole process.

After all, it’s where the idea first comes to life. The amazing thing about an initial workshop is that it springboards the business idea into the different facets of our services. For example, it’s a huge opportunity for our strategic team to move forward with the brand strategy and goalposts, and for our design team to start painting the overall picture of the brand.

So, what actually goes on behind the scenes of an initial workshop? We partake in various activities throughout the session to really get into the nitty gritty of what the client does and why.

We partake in various activities and ask a variety of questions to really get into the heart and souls of clients

Pitching and Discovery Session

It all starts with the pitch. You’ve probably heard of the ‘elevator pitch’ before style You do what it says on the tin in this case! Imagine you’re in an elevator with a potential business investor…how would you describe your business idea to them? The aim of this starting pitch activity is to relay the core of your business idea in a short amount of time, whilst highlighting the main aims of your idea. This allows the strategy and design team to get an overview of your business, but it also solidifies the business owner’s purpose and passion.

It’s really important that we understand the history of the business we’re working on. No matter how insignificant this information may seem, it does wonders for us! For example, in Discover Cymru’s workshop, we got to know Ed’s purpose for starting the famous Instagram feed, which then opened up an array of possibilities for a potential brand strategy. Most importantly, we got to talk to Ed about how he wanted to move forward with his brand from its current state in order to bring his plans to fruition. We’ll move onto the next section now, but before we go any further…

Think about the workshop like a firework (we love a metaphor here, if you didn’t notice!) – the elevator pitch sends a spark into the air, which then bursts out into streams of more ideas. These streams get more and more refined as the workshop continues.

The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ follow on from this. We looked into what Ed is currently doing at the moment with his brand, such as photography, newsletters, calendars and a gift guide. This then developed into a specific conversation surrounding how these are circulated – we established a specific purpose behind the current content; in this case, it was for creating a community with quality content. This ultimately adds to the brand personality, and helps us get an idea of key design and selling points, whilst also thinking about audience personas…but more on that later!

Competitors

This can be a tricky step in the process. At designdough, we try not to focus too much on competitors, whether we’re thinking about our own business or a client’s. This is because it’s easy to get caught up in the competition – when you get lost in this, you can end up losing sight of your business’ core values and mission.

Nevertheless, it is an integral point to consider when working on a new brand with a client. We have to find the perfect balance, and this means being efficient with our competitor research and not getting absorbed by it. In this case, we had a look at a range of competitors spanning across different platforms, such as online and in print. This allows us to have a look at current gaps in the market where Discover Cymru can set themselves apart with a unique identity.

Audience Personas, Feedback & Personality

Alternatively called…the juicy bit! At this point in the workshop, the brand image really starts to come together as an almost-tangible entity. It goes without saying, but all branding content has to be made with the target audience in mind, so that’s where we go next.

We’ve created audience persona questionnaires to really bring the target audience to life. The questionnaires allow us to put ourselves in the shoes of a potential buyer or web-user — for example, we come up with a name, age, occupation and location for each persona. This then develops into discussing how they have theoretically come into contact with the brand, why they’re interested in engaging with the brand, what their pain points are, and what values they share with the brand. Thanks to Discover Cymru’s existing online community, we already had some valuable audience feedback at our fingertips to really get the ball rolling. This helps us fine-tune the tone of voice, develop a considered and strong visual identity, brainstorm content ideas, and way more.

We end with personality. Throughout the workshop, we note down impressions of the brand’s personality to help us create a specific and refined strategy and design that stay in line with its purpose and mission. These notes can be anything from singular words to detailed sentences. There is no right answer at this stage, as anything is possible. This is the last thing to happen – each part of the workshop is like building the layers of a house (lucky you – another metaphor!)…you can’t decorate it until the foundations are set. We always take a strategy-first approach, so the next step for us is to streamline all the information we gathered within this session to make an accessible, reflective, and exciting brand strategy.

In the next blog, I will take you through the brand strategy process, and how we refine it into the rich and beneficial document it is.

See you then!