As a branding agency in Franklin, Tennessee, our focus has been on branding businesses across the US and around the world for the past decade. While we’ve gone through a few iterations of the Nice Branding Agency brand over the years (RIP hot pink and black), we’d never taken the time necessary to do it right, until this summer, when we started on our own brand refresh.
You see, when we embark on corporate branding projects for our clients, we start with Foundational Branding. During this phase, we determine and define brand attributes, develop a positioning statement, and create a visual direction for the brand.
Foundational Branding is completed prior to working through naming or logo development. Because, otherwise, we would be picking names out of a hat and shooting in a bucket to come up with a logo. Without Foundational Branding in place, many aspects of the creative process are left up to personal preference. And this results in a brand image that may not have as much meaning as it could if it had been done in a more strategic manner.
We’ve been itching to take Nice Branding Agency through the proper branding process, and this past summer afforded us the time and team we needed to make the brand refresh happen.
We started the Foundational Branding process with a deep dive discovery session. Here, we got our team into a room and really talked about the business. We wanted to hear from the senior leadership, the owners, the new hires, and the founding employees to determine what existing perceptions about the company truly were. We also wanted to hear from everyone where they saw the agency heading in the years to come.
We talked about what it meant to be Nice, and how that applies to our internal processes and communication, as well as throughout our client interactions, and community involvement. We also discussed what we do really well, and what’s not exactly our forte. The discussions led to conversations about competitors and clients, and ultimately, what we want to Nice Branding Agency to be known for.
A business can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but the Foundational Branding process forces a firm to be intentional about who they are and how they want to be perceived.
The notes from our discovery session were summarized and distilled down into brand attributes, which were then given specific definitions.
Brand Attributes are adjectives that describe how a business thinks, behaves, and communicates. Once our list of attributes was narrowed down to those that we found to be true and relevant, we then created definitions for each of the words. These definitions aren’t pulled from Webster. Rather they are created in the brand voice, specifically to describe how each of the adjectives relates to Nice Branding Agency.
Each of the final attributes has reach across our organization, as they are not only who we are, but they are also guiding principles that can be referred to as we make decisions, interact with one another, and work with our clients and vendors.
With our brand attributes in hand, we moved into creating a positioning statement for the business. The positioning statement is one true statement about what the business does, who it serves, and why it matters. Our positioning statement says as much about who we aren’t as it does about who we are. This allows us to tell anyone within a couple of seconds what Nice Branding Agency does and who we do it for. Our resulting statement conveys that we are a branding agency with a strategic and creative approach and a goal for allowing our clients to succeed in their markets by equipping them with brands that are bold.
Simultaneously, we worked to curate a refreshed visual direction for the Nice Branding Agency brand that aligned with the attributes and positioning statement. The brand board we created for Nice Branding Agency is populated with images that showcase the brand attributes visually. For our clients, at this phase, we create and present three options for the visual direction that all encapsulate the attributes and positioning, but allow the client some say in how the visuals will tell the story. For Nice Branding Agency, we just designed one board — we know the client pretty well, so we felt like that was safe *wink, wink.*
Finally, after ensuring that the attributes, positioning, and visual direction were all approved and finalized, we took a look at our existing logo. For clients with an existing logo in place, it’s not our goal to toss it out the window and start from scratch. Instead, we want to curate the foundation, and then hold the logo up to determine whether the mark is a good representation of the brand.
So, that is exactly what we did for our logo. We took our little lowercase serif N icon and the full typographic logo mark, and we compared it to our brand board and brand attributes. It was almost a fit, but not quite. So, we embarked on a refresh to bring the mark more in line with who we truly are as an organization.
Overall, we determined that we wanted to pare it way down through our brand refresh. We wanted our logo to be able to tell the story of our tagline, we build bold brands, while also not being overly bold in and of itself. We wanted to convey that we are here to let our clients’ stories shine. Our brand, while prolific, should never overshadow the work we do for our clients. Our clients’ brands are what make us up, and we want to simply be the catalyst that propels our clients’ stories into the forefront.
Our refreshed logo for Nice Branding Agency is typographical in nature, just like the previous version was. However, this new logo is comprised of a serif font for the word Nice, with an all caps sans serif for BRANDING AGENCY. The icon was simply the N inside a blush pink circle. The pinks were tweaked to ensure that they were both bold enough to make an impact, yet nimble enough to work in any application. And we kept the icon within its circle to show that we are a full-service agency, looking at every aspect of our work from all angles.
The logo is bold, yet simple. It’s modern, yet timeless. It’s everything without being any one thing.
The Foundational Branding that we established for Nice Branding Agency now informs everything we do. It guides our decision-making process and helps us better communicate with the world. The attributes, positioning statement, and visual direction are installations in our office, and our team is encouraged to live and breathe them.
Tactically, the completed, revised logo was then implemented throughout business collateral and marketing materials to start providing our position with a platform for exposure. We implemented the logo into our exterior signage, stationery, business cards, website, proposals, social media profiles, and internal documents.
As the Foundational Branding continues to permeate everything we do, we will continue to align all efforts, including content and visuals with our position. You see, so what started as a conversation about the logo and color palette, became so much more valuable as we seek to take a strategic approach to branding.
If you’re considering whether you need a foundation upon which to build your brand, let’s talk it out. Give us a call today.
Our brand refresh process is thorough and effective. It’s proven time and time again. And we believe in it. Our process produces resulting brand images that are effective and compelling.
For us, we see the true value in having a firmly established Foundation, and it extends well beyond a logo. So, we invested the time and effort it takes to create this for Nice Branding Agency. We owe it to the clients we work with and to our team to have a super-firm grasp on who we are, what value we provide, and who we serve best.
While our investment here was in time and effort, we encourage our clients to consider investing in Foundational Branding, too. Even those who have stellar sales. In fact, we’ve written about the reasons to rebrand when your company is making money in this blog.
For us, this summer was a great time for us to be proactive. We refreshed our visual direction when we wanted to, not when we had to.
Also, we love what we do. Branding is fun. Graphic design is fun. Updating the brand closest to our hearts? That’s pretty much our dream job.
Have you ever considered rebranding or a brand refresh? Our agency has worked through dozens of rebrands, and our process is proven. If you’re ready to get started, give us a shout.
Get Your Nice Swag On.