Take a look inside Witt and Company’s (re)branding process. From strategy to design, and everything in between, here’s a deeper look at the collaborative and ease-filled process for creating a strategically aligned brand experience.
Over the last five years, the branding process here at Witt and Company has taken many a turn, twist and pivot. And, if I’m being honest, it’s been a lot of fun to iterate, experiment and test out new processes.
Which means this blog post is ever-evolving (isn’t everything in business, though?)
Which brings me to the latest iteration – a peek behind the curtain of our signature rebranding experience. Where we take established businesses from “my brand is not serving me and is riddled with inconsistencies” to “Hell yes, I am so excited to show up for this brand and it’s absolutely supporting my next level in business.”
So, how do you get from A to B?
That’s exactly what we’re going to dive into today – along with the most common questions we get from brands before they come on board.
In This Article
>> What does it mean to be a strategy-first brand studio?
>> Getting started: What happens before we even begin?
>> Brand workshops: What are they and why do they matter?
>> Brand playbook: What is it and how will it help?
>> Website strategy: How do we plan for an effective website?
>> Website wireframe: What is it and why not jump right into design?
>> Brand suite design: How do you get it right and what if I don’t like it?
>> Brand collateral: Can you also design business cards, social templates, etc.?
>> Brand artwork: What do all these files mean?
>> Brand guidelines: How do we ensure visual brand consistency?
>> Website design: What’s the website design process like?
>> Website screenshare: Can I make website edits myself?
>> Ongoing brand support: What if I have other brand-related needs?
>> Additional brand resources
What does it mean to be a strategy-first brand studio?
When we reference our studio as strategy-first it means that we approach design from a strategic perspective. Meaning, we work to understand the ‘why’ behind what needs to be created before we jump into the actual design phase.
Now, it’s not “wrong” to lead with design. In fact, when you’re just getting started and not sure about how you want your brand to be communicated, having something that looks great is the goal.
However, there will come a time when your business is ready to be more intentional and strategic, and that is our sweet spot. Everything we create, from the logo to the colors to the website to the presentation slides, is done from a place of intention and strategy – understanding the big picture and the purpose of the graphic/website/collateral before we even start designing.
So how does this translate to the actual process of branding your business?
When you’re hiring a graphic designer that doesn’t emphasize strategy, more often than not, you’re guiding the route, holding the map and telling them where to go. There is most definitely a time and place for this type of relationship, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you need a quick design or as we mentioned already, if you’re a brand new business owner, a graphic designer is a great option for your needs.
Now compare that to hiring a strategy-focused brand designer; someone who will look at the map alongside you and offer feedback on the best route to take, based on your goals and vision. You, as the business owner, are not in the driver seat 100 percent of the time. This comes in handy when you get to a point in your business when your brand is no longer serving you and/or meeting your needs, and you want an outside perspective to help guide your next right steps.
Getting started: What happens before we even begin?
Think of this stage as the pre-work. The prep before the takeoff. It’s the information gathering phase so we can hit the ground running.
There are two main goals before our workshops: First, to determine the cadence of our communication based on what works best for you, and second, for you to brain dump all the things into our brand questionnaire.
What’s the brand questionnaire?
Oh, I’m so happy you asked. It’s an in-depth document that asks you questions like, “What perception do you want people to have of your brand and how is that different from the current one?” and “What story is your ideal client telling themselves; the one that keeps them up at night as it relates to your offering?”
The goal of the questionnaire is to take what’s in your head and get it down onto paper. It’s a deep dive into all the details of what you want your brand to be about. And, the more information you can share, the better. Although, sometimes clients process better out loud, which is totally okay – the point is to get you thinking about your brand experience as a whole, and as already said, to get what’s in your head out into the real world.
Brand workshops: What are they and why do they matter?
There’s something wonderful about having intentional, brand-specific conversations. Every time I wrap up a workshop with a client (and their team, if they’re involved), we leave with a renewed sense of energy and motivation.
And that’s really the goal for our workshops; to give you and your team confidence, direction and alignment around the brand. There are four workshops that we begin with, each one centered around a different element for building your brand’s authority.
Strategy. We determine your overarching communication plan: who you serve, what you offer, why the work matters and how you want people to feel when they experience your brand.
Process. We dig into how you get your clients results and the language you can use to describe this unique-to-you framework.
Message. We find the common thread woven into every communication point for your brand and clarify the various talking points for effective brand communication.
Personality. We create an aligned personality for cohesive written and visual communication.
Brand playbook: What is it and how will it help?
While the workshops are effective and great, they really aren’t much help without something to pull all those great conversation pieces together.
Enter: The brand playbook.
Think of this as your brand bible – a tangible document that pulls together all the necessary information for communicating your brand consistently. It’s the go-to guide that serves as your overarching plan for effective brand communication.
Inside, you’ll find five different sections, aligning with the content we covered in the workshops: who, what, why, how and message.
The idea is that you and your team will be able to reference this document when you need to write an email, create new website page copy or craft content for social media. It’s meant to be a working document for cohesive brand communication and should be regularly utilized. This isn’t something that you get, take a quick look through and then store away into the abyss – use it, share it and put it to work!
Website strategy: How do we plan for an effective website?
It may seem weird to jump into the website before the brand but the idea is that once we’ve determined your overarching brand strategy and message, we can then apply that to the website, while it’s still top of mind. And, if you’re doing website copy yourself (or hiring someone outside of WCO), this gives you ample time to get those assets ready before we jump into the website design phase.
Your website’s strategy is the overarching plan for the website and we center that plan around the primary and secondary goal of the website.
While it can be challenging to pick ‘just one’ goal of your website, this distinction is what helps to create a functional website that supports your business.
Our website strategy call is all about defining what those goals are and aligning on the direction of each website page so that we’ll both walk away with confidence about next rights steps for a functional, strategic and on-brand website.
Website wireframe: What is it and why not jump right into design?
The goal of the wireframe is to show you the website in its most simplistic form so that we can all ensure the goals are being met. We use gray boxes for images and black color blocks for backgrounds; the only color is highlighting the areas where we focus on the primary and/or secondary goals.
We can often get distracted by the design – the colors, the typography, the photos – so the idea here is that we’re stripping away all the ‘pretty’ and focusing on the structure. This allows us to create a flow and layout that is aligned with your goals and supportive of your business.
We’ll also use the wireframe to highlight website copy direction. If you’re writing it yourself, this looks like heading ideas and/or inspiration as well as body copy guidelines. If we’re taking on the copy, we’ll put in headlines and share direction for the body copy. Either way, the goal is to share the direction for website copy so you have a chance to provide feedback.
Brand suite design: How do you get it right and what if I don’t like it?
Because we focus so much time on getting to know the brand, it makes the visual brand process a lot easier and more aligned to your brand’s goals.
By getting clear on how you want people to feel when they experience your brand, we’re able to use that information to create a visual brand suite that enhances and embodies the desired brand experience. This isn’t about picking colors ‘just because they look good together’, but rather, choosing colors based on color psychology and seasonal brand theory; based on the feelings and emotions they evoke.
Every aspect of your visual brand, from the colors to the font selection to the layout of the logo, is chosen with intention. Our goal is to create a visual brand that enhances how you want people to feel when they come in contact with your business – to align with the perception that you want your brand to portray.
But, let’s say we miss the mark – what now?
At the end of the day, this is your business and since we believe brand confidence is what spurs action, you need to be excited about how your visuals looks. If you’re not, it can lead to inaction and loss of visibility.
To help guard against this, every design phase includes two rounds of revisions – we send over a feedback form but if it’s needed, we’re happy to hop on a call to discuss next right steps. The goal is for you to walk away with a visual brand that you cannot wait to show up for.
Brand collateral: Can you also design business cards, social templates, etc.?
Also included in our signature (re)brand package are two brand collateral items and this covers everything from a presentation design to social media templates created in Canva to business cards.
Sometimes the brand implementation can be a challenge so we want to give you two pieces that are aligned with the visual direction and can be used to create that consistent and cohesive brand experience.
Brand artwork: What do all these files mean?
Once the visual brand is signed off on, it’s time to deliver the artwork – yay!
Clients receive a combination of vector and raster-based files, which can be a little overwhelming. But have no fear, we also send over a detailed report on what files to use and when.
If you’re looking for the actual details, you get JPEG, PNG, EPS, SVG, PDF and AI file formats for each logo variation that we create. Basically, this should cover you for any logo use-case that may come up.
Brand guidelines: How do we ensure visual brand consistency?
With the new visual brand handed over, the next big question often is, “Okay, but how do I actually use it all?”
Enter: The brand guidelines.
This handy PDF is a reference guide for your new visual brand. Like the brand playbook but for the visuals.
It includes everything from logo do’s and don’ts, color usage and typography application. The idea is that you and your team can utilize this to create visuals that are consistent and cohesive.
Website design: What’s the website design process like?
Once the visual brand phase is complete, we move into designing your website. This means taking any feedback from the wireframe and then actually building the site – either on a staging site, right within your website or on a subdomain.
We always start with the home page design to ensure we’re on the right track. Then, we move into a first and second draft, following up with the final, ready to go live.
All websites are built in WordPress with the Divi theme – it’s user-friendly and easy to make changes, so you don’t have to worry about asking for help if you need to swap in a new image or update some text on a page.
Depending on the scope and size of the website, there can be a lot of information sharing back and forth. We utilize tools like Clickup, Markup and Google Drive to ensure we’re getting all the feedback and necessary information to keep the project moving forward and on time.
Generally, websites take anywhere from 6-10 weeks to complete – again, depending on scope and size.
All that being said, what you need to know is this: our job is to make the website design process as easy and fun as possible. It’s a big undertaking which is why we really lean into collaboration and communication.
Website screenshare: Can I make website edits myself?
The last part of the website phase is to conduct a recorded screenshare tutorial. This is where we walk through how to make basic updates and changes to your website, so that you can do them on your own.
Sidenote: we do offer website maintenance plans if you like to ‘set it and forget it’, but most clients like to at least know enough to be dangerous in case they need something done quickly.
This screenshare is recorded and customized to your needs – during the strategy call we ask about changes that you’d like to make on your own and then make sure we cover those items in the screenshare tutorial.
This is about giving you all the tools you need to successfully manage your brand new website with ease!
Ongoing brand support: What if I have other brand-related needs?
The last piece of our signature (re)brand package is the ongoing brand support. Throughout the length of our project, we’re available for additional support and feedback, as needed.
Often, clients will want feedback on a graphic or a marketing piece they’ve created. If that’s the case, they’ll send it over and we’ll record a quick video walking through changes and ideas.
This is a great way to get an extra set of eyes on what you’re working on!
Friends, that’s a wrap.
Hopefully that gives you a little (or a lot) more information on what to expect when you sign on to work with Witt and Company to rebrand your business. Because every brand studio offers something a little different, you get to decide what’s most aligned for you and your goals!
Which means, if what you’re reading above resonates and you’re wanting all that good stuff for your own business, let’s chat! We’d love to support you in creating a brand you’re excited to show up for – schedule a free consultation call here!
All my best,
Additional brand resources
Check out five key examples of why you should wait to invest money in your professional brand.
Here are the top five reasons we hear from clients that it’s time to bring in a branding professional.
This guide will walk you through the process of preparing for an effective rebrand.
The top five common signs you’re ready to dig in and rebrand your service-based business.
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