I was hired by an award-winning creative graphic design agency in New Jersey this past year. Two of their clients – one a leading supplier of fiber-optic technology in the metro NYC area, the other a NJ-based non-profit behavioral healthcare provider – were going through big organizational changes. Both needed to clearly define and communicate what their brand is, what their brand does, what differentiates them from their competitors, and finally, how to communicate these important things to their audiences.
The design agency reached out to me to facilitate a series of brand strategy working sessions with their clients, on site at their respective NJ locations. I designed these sessions to be enjoyable and participatory – no long lectures, no endless PowerPoint decks – in which the clients’ voices were carefully listened to in order to aid me in finding answers to vital questions about uncovering their respective authentic brands.
While the two organizations had unique challenges, the two main goals of the working sessions were:
- Team-building: understanding, agreement, and ownership of the branding process
- Brand Positioning: to find the most compelling difference about the client, one that none of their competitors has (or is talking about), and then use it to set up a benefit for their customers
In order to accomplish these goals, the strategy sessions included some or all of the following discussions and activities:
- Branding Groundwork
- Internal Audit
- Competitive Analysis
- Stakeholder Interviews
- Positioning Statement
- SWOT Analysis
Final deliverables from the sessions included a Workshop Summary and a Brand Language Report. The latter report included a positioning statement, brand messages and key brand words. These results were shared with the clients in an iterative process until final brand language verbiage was agreed upon. This helped set a critical foundation for everything the two brands do moving forward.
Finally, this perfectly positioned the creative agency to next embark on the creative and tactical portion of the branding process. The results of the working sessions provided a lens through which they were able to make smart, strategic decisions in managing and growing their clients’ brands. Ultimately for both the telecommunication and healthcare organizations, this included logo design; website design and development; a range of print and online marketing materials; a PR campaign; naming and tagline development.
We worked with Julia on two strategic branding workshops for our clients. In both projects, Julia facilitated branding workshops that provided key staff and management the opportunity to participate in a branding exercise and left us with the feedback we needed from the team to begin our brand strategy. Julia also helped us conduct internal and external stakeholder interviews to test positioning statements developed during the workshop. Julia was great at keeping the conversation focused and not swaying opinions and worked great with both our internal team and our clients. She was organized, professional and got the work done on schedule- not to mention clients that really enjoyed the workshopping process. We would recommend her for any agency/studio who is looking to build out their strategic branding services.” – Larissa M., Co-owner, NJ-based Graphic Design Agency