e-Types is a brand agency that moves companies and organizations forward through identity. Brand leadership is characterized by the clear signals of an organization permeated by a strong sense of identity and purpose. e-Types illuminates corporate ideas. Through brand strategy and graphic design embedded in big ideas, we nurture enthusiasm, increase sales and enhance leadership.
Can you explain what your company is about in a way that makes people get on their feet? Is what you do aligned with who you are or who you say you are? Do your stakeholders see consistency running through your company - from the things you do to the the way you present yourself to the world? How are you different from your competitors? How would your most important customer describe you in five words? Does your culture support your strategy? Why should someone work for you?
Brand strategy is about clearly defining the meaning of your company or product and aligning everything to support that meaning and position.
You have to know who you are and what you are about. And you have to know who your stakeholders are, what they want and what they expect from you.
And once you know, you must use this knowledge to guide everything from your communication to your hiring policies; from your design expression to the way you greet people
To move a company or a product forward we need to investigate what it is all about. Sometimes this can take form of a single interview with a charismatic owner/leader. Sometimes we do extensive studies of media presence, observe the culture and perform interviews and workshops with clients, industry experts - the entire organization and it´s stakeholders - to understand it in-depth.
The learning from these analyses is often this: What you think is important and what your stakeholders think is important do not always align. And often, that untapped ideas and resources reside among your employees or clients.
More often than not, the sad conclusion is that the people who need to have a clear a sense of what the brand/identity/product/organization is about have, at best, vague or conflicting ideas about it.
At the same time, taking the effort to look at what you are doing and how you are doing it, for most companies and organizations is an immensely valuable exercise. Often, focus in itself creates change.
We design the analysis process individually each time to fit the client and the problem we are faced with, but typically, one or more of the following services form part of the project:
- Situation analysis
- Competitor and positioning analysis
- Brand SWOT
- GAP-analysis: strategy-image-culture
- Value workshops and processes
Defining what a company or product is about may seem fluffy to some. But nevertheless we all navigate brands and identities everyday: what car will give me the most prestige or the least fuss and repairs? What is my ideal workplace? What can I expect when going to this particular theatre or what story am I telling about myself by buying this suit or that pair of jeans?
Branding and identity is a central part of marketing, of leadership, of HR, of communication, of innovation and of product development. If you cannot define who you are, what you are about or where you want to go, you cannot make guided and visionary decisions.
We do not claim to know everything. For us a good strategy process means that we have helped our clients by being the the ones who provided focus, asked the right questions, challenged assumptions and helped sharpen the messages and goals.
First and last, creating a brand strategy is about informed conversation, challenging discussions and the ability to focus and carry the strategy through in to action.
Among others, we find it helpful to structure our brand strategy work around the following services:
- Vision & Mission
- Brand Platform
- Brand Essence
- Focus areas
- Brand implementation plans
Brand Guides & Brand Management
Defining the core of a brand is often a boardroom or management exercise - hopefully with involvement of other core departments such as communication, HR, sales or product development. However, stating who you are and what you need to do is a message that needs repeating over and over again. Values and positioning statements are just words unless you use consistently and actively. Let them be guiding lights. Let them be the filter you se everything through and an inspirational tool you use when you need new ideas.
But to use your brand platform, mission/vision etc, you must make them available in an appealing form that stay with the organization. And you must work continuously to embed the brand in your organization to ensure buy-in and alignment in everything that you do.
A brand guide and a series of workshops often turn out to be a very operational and efficient way to do this. At other times continuous follow-up meetings with management or the communication department is the best way to ensure continuity and focus on the branding process.
- Formula books: what's the brand about?
- Embedding workshops
- Scenario workshops
- Communication workshops
- Activity workshops
- Alignment workshops
- Management counseling
- Check-up visits and follow-up workshops
In larger organizations or with large product portfolios the question of brand architecture is central: how should the various units relate to the mother brand? Should everything be strictly aligned in terms of visual identity or should a thousand flowers be allowed to bloom? How do the various brands affect each other? What is the central DNA that all brands must contain? And where can they be different?
All these questions are typically answered through an analysis and strategy development process. Typically various scenarios are visualized to make choices and consequences clear and manifest.
Our brand architecture work typically evolves under the following headlines.
- Brand architecture (re)development
- Brand portfolio management
- Decision trees (brand architecture management)