Branding Methodology

Branding Methodology

Already in the late 90’s we identified how branding developed from a product/service focus, a Transaction Branding, (introduced as an extension of the industrialism), into todays prevailing Relation Branding, (introduced by the Internet), in which the Customer Experience is in focus, and the relationship developed between the brand and customer has become the essence of a modern brand.  Branding for us is defined as “managing the perception in peoples minds”. Branding is one of the key management systems in a modern business. The significant difference between todays branding is the importance of involvement of key stakeholders, including the customers, in the branding process, in everything from product development, distribution, sales, reviewing and recommending, etc. The strategy creation (or “decoding” if a brand already exists)  of a brand is always done as top management team in a 1-1,5 day workshop, which, apart from providing a true distributed ownership of the setting up of the brand among the key people in the organisation, is also committing and strengthening the executive team. Thomas Gad created hands-on tools and models to develope this new type of brands for the new (digital) age, including the 4-Dimensional Brand Mind Space (BMS) and Brand Code (BC), Brand Activity Generator (BAG) and the Customer Experience Touch-Points (CXTP). In his practice he and his team have a vast and successful experience of working with his modern branding techniques across businesses of various size, in different business areas, and in different business situations like: launching, re-branding, mergers & acquisitions, entering new markets, start-ups etc.. Also with places: cities, regions & countries, public institutions and with people – personal branding. Here below are the five basic steps of the BRANDFLIGHT 4D Branding Methodology:

1. Ethnography Interviews Ethnography, or Anthropological, interviews are long (up to 2hrs) and deep interviews with a smaller number (10-15) representative customer  – or other stakeholders depending on the nature of branding; start-ups, enterprise, place, employees, suppliers, investors, etc. The purpose of these interviews performed and structured in a special way to avoid getting the brand strategy and the the entire project or product built on clichés, and common well-known generalizations and popular expressions. By going beyond these common expressions the interviewer finds the weak signals, the personal individual expressions and a deeper understanding in terms of attitude, thinking and and insights picked from the interviewed.

2. Brand Strategy The Brand Strategy is created following a very precise structured process starts with the expected outcome of the Brand in the minds of the stakeholders. The model we use for this is the 4-Dimensional Brand Mind Space (BMS). The Brand Mind Space is how the Brand is taking its place in peoples minds, its a “stretching out” process of the brand’s 4-dimensions, creating a successful, valuable and appreciated brand. The 4-dimensions are: The Functional, The Social, The Mental (the individual) and The Spiritual (the purpose & meaning) dimensions of the Brand. The second model we use is called The Brand Code (BC). It has six inputs: Product (Service, Place, Benefit, etc), Positioning, Style, Values.

3. Internal Brand Activation The Internal Brand Activation starts with setting the Brand Code in the center of the 4-dimensional Brand Mind Space (combining both of these models) and extending the strategy of the brands in terms of tangible, hands-on activities in the 4-dimensions, Functional, Social, Mental and Spiritual Activities. We call this model Brand Activity Generator (BAG). In addition we ask our clients to create 5 brand symbolic projects that are demonstrating how the brand can be turned from a strategic idea into a tangible and visible outcome. Another tool in activating the brand is reating a short Brand Story for everyone to tell when asked: what are you doing? A Brand Book including a Brand Movie can be included as parts of the Internal Brand Activation.

4. Customer Brand Experience Touch-Points The most important role of the Brand is to code and connect the different Touch Points with the customers creating the final Customer Experience. In order to be able to manage each Touch-Points we help our customers to code each touch point. With coding in this case we mean taking the decided Brand Code and again setting it in the 4-Dimensional diagram and decided for each Touch-Point its most important criteria in each of the 4 dimensions. There are three categories of touch-points: Static Touch Points (Ex: Promotion, Advertising, Direct Mail, Products & Services themselves), Human Touch-Points (Sales, Service, Call Centers, Management, Support, etc.) and Digital (Blogs, Mobile, Email, Social Media, Web, etc.).

5. External Brand Activation We help our clients with various tailored ideas, programs and systems to continuously activate their brands and see the strategy come alive in real customer and other stakeholder relations. We use our profound experience of helping brands to launch and to maintain them over time. We have together with partners developed a systematic approach and digital engines for social media including User Experience, the way digital touch points are designed and perceived which should mirror the intentions in the brand strategy.