Brand strategy framework

Have been learning about brand strategy. It looks like there’s various different frameworks out there and was wondering whether you guys have a preferred framework that you turn to and why?

Also do you charge for brand strategy seperately or include it with the deliverables?

It seems as though the internet has given rise to lots of terms that never really existed before. It’s almost as though someone becomes an influencer in some niche area, then invents some sort of term or meme that causes significant numbers of people to begin thinking they’re enlightened words of wisdom. Before long, others have jumped on the trend with their own versions of the same thing.

For me, branding frameworks fall into this category — or at least the term itself does. All these so-called frameworks are variations of what previously might have been chalked up to the common sense that comes with experience, like researching the situation; carefully assessing the company, its personality, and its objectives; carefully looking at the target audiences and strategizing about how they can best be engaged; discovering and using any insights obtained through this process to develop unique tactics tailored to the situation; engaging employees to adopt and champion the brand; tying products or services into the brand and positioning them as the face of the brand; and, of course, there are all the visuals that go along with it, like logos, colors and typefaces, etc.; and finally, constant evaluation of results and making adjustments as needed.

It would be easy to add steps to that process, subdivide others, and reorder a few things, but in the end, there is no one-size-fits-all framework. It’s largely a matter of common sense and thinking through the problem from beginning to end in the same way a general might plan out a military strategy, along with contingency plans to implement when things go wrong. One of the worst things a designer can do, in my opinion, is begin thinking along the lines of formula-based strategies and tactics, like so many MBA schools teach a person to do.

All the pie charts, venn diagrams, and sequential breakdowns, in my opinion, might be interesting, but the more complicated they get, the more I’m inclined to dismiss them as too codified, inflexible and dogmatic to be useful. I’m not suggesting they be ignored. They’re all useful in the sense that they reflect someone’s thoughts on how to go about different types of branding, but in my opinion, it’s more important to learn from all of them and then use that information as might be appropriate for each unique situation.


The only strategy you should look towards is the clients.

I price per the work. If they want a logo I ask for brand guidelines, if they don’t have any then I offer a price for that.

What goes into brand guidelines, is what they are willing to pay.
I’ve some just with a logo on a page, and font pairings.

I’ve seen some that are 1000 pages long.

I’m learning one now that has a massive calculation system that took years to perfect. And I can only guess that years of work = much money.

If they ask for one then you need to discuss what they need. It’s important.
If they don’t have one and don’t ask for one, you should offer a solution. They might reject it.

Either way, if it’s work your doing, it’s chargeable.

If it’s just the logo, or brand piece, or whatever you are doing, then just charge for that.

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I love when @Just-B replies, I eagerly read the opening thread, and reply. Once I get my post out of the way, I always go back and read what Just-B wrote, as I don’t want to be influenced.

But, as usual, nailed it! Couldn’t agree more!


But actually, as did you with…

I read the original post and was about to write something like, ‘The entire process should be guided by the client’s needs. Nothing else. No jargon, no lingo. The client’.

You both headed me off at the pass!

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That all sounds like a lot of work over and above what a typical designer probably does, do you bill out extra for this process?

Totally agree, the clients needs (not wants) before anything else. However this doesn’t really answer my question, there are certain cases when your client will come to you with nothing in hand and needs an identity or a re-brand; Do you have a process of understanding the demographics of your clients customers and the values of the clients brand?

Yes. Talk to,them. It’s part of your job to be able to elicit that information from them. Asking the right questions. Again this varies from client to client.

Totally agree, am a huge fan of conversing with the client as a opposed to a questionnaire (which I believe some designers do).

How do you determine what are the best questions to ask?

Again, it depends in the client. Sometimes a set of questions emailed at the outset is better than direct, on the spot questions. Some people respond well to direct questions. Some clam up. In which case, emailing questions, gives them time to think before responding. Sometimes questions help them think about their business afresh.

Sorry if that sounds a bit vague, but I have no cookie-cutter approach. I just know what I want to achieve and tailor each job to the client.

Only experience will teach you how to approach people. You will make some mistakes, but you’ll learn and approach the next one slightly differently. Ultimately, that becomes your value.

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A big branding project for a large client can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. A small branding project for a mom and pop corner grocery store isn’t nearly that complicated, even though many of the same processes might be followed depending on the client’s needs and budget.

Branding projects for medium-sized organizations and up is really something of a specialty thing and typically requires the work of different people, from designers, to writers, to brand specialists, to survey experts, to photographers, to social media strategists, etc.

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