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Titillating musings from the team at Graphica.

October 20, 2014

What's all the "to-do"?

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We all have our lists. Some are scrawled on multiple sticky notes attached to bathroom mirrors, car consoles, front doors or laptop screens, others reside conveniently within apps on smart phones or tablets — able to be shared, updated, read and checked off by entire groups simultaneously in real-time. Perhaps there are still even a few old-fashioned list makers out there, with yellow legal pads of carefully numbered items patiently waiting to be manually crossed off.

Whatever your case may be, we've discovered when it comes to getting things done it can be difficult to decide what takes top priority. In today's lightning-fast world of technology, one thing remains a constant; change. As a result, it's important to continuously massage and critique your brand in order to stay competitive. With October marking Graphica's 19th anniversary, we'd like to share our experience as it pertains to prioritizing the many touch points of a brand.

  • Strategy: We typically begin by exploring and identifying your brand's "secret sauce," researching the competitive landscape, and clearly defining your specific goals and objectives in order to best position, or reposition, your company.
  • Logo: There is, undoubtedly, equity in a logo. How long your existing logo has been in use, and whether your business goals and objectives have changed substantially (or not), determine whether we advise a minor logo refinement or a complete overhaul. The logo refinement process takes a fresh look at the fonts and colors used to ensure these are up-to-date and still suitable to your brand overall. Since all brand communications follow your logo, this is where we begin. 
  • Tagline: Next, we review current tagline(s), as well as competitors. Using your goals and objectives, these are either refined, or new ones are created. 
  • Brand Guidelines: From the logo refresh, we move to the creation, or update, of a brand guidelines document, also known as a "brand book." This is a formal assemblage of guidelines; logo and tagline use, corporate colors (with primary and secondary color palettes), typography, photo and copy styles, etc. Its purpose is a future guide for brand communications to help ensure consistency of "look and feel" across all departments and documents.
  • Business Papers: At this point, we update business cards, stationary packages, notecards, folders, and any other materials that are used on a regular day-to-day basis.
  • Website: Your website is, inarguably, the face of your brand. Completely redesigning a website is roughly a three-month project, from start to launch, for most companies. We've found that the bulk of the time commitment on your end comes from gathering content. If a new website is something you're thinking about embarking on as part of your refresh/rebrand, getting a plan for content creation started sooner rather than later is advised. Having a responsive component is also crucial since the majority of viewers are now viewing from smart phones or tablets. Videos are also a consideration at this point and would be created during this phase.
  • Collateral Materials: These include a corporate overview brochure, product/services brochures, investor and sales slide deck presentations, pitch books, annual reports, community benefit reports and the like. We advise creating electronic versions of many of these to allow for varied use.

So whether you're collecting altogether too many yellow sticky notes lately, finding yourself continually tapping "ignore" on all those electronic alerts, or re-writing items over and over in your planner — keep in mind that the most successful brands constantly audit, massage and review the working components of their brand to remain competitive. Consider bringing on a communications partner who can help you expeditiously turn some of those "to-do's" into "done's" while ensuring you're embarking on items in an order that makes intelligent sense from both a need vs. a budget basis.

Craig Terrones

Craig Terrones Principal and Creative Director

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