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The Periodic Table of Branding Elements

Periodic TableWe’re beyond passionate about the power of a brand. Every good branding agency has a process for evaluating and then developing a brand. We’ve been continually evolving ours because we don’t simply want to establish a new brand for a client; we want that brand to soar above all competitors and truly resonate with each of the client’s constituencies.

Using the 4D’s – Discovery, Develop, Deliver and Drive – you’ll see our ever-evolving discovery and application of the many elements of a powerful brand.

Discovery

  • A – Awareness. How well do constituents know your brand?
  • M – Measurement. How will we measure current levels of awareness?
  • R – Research. Third-party research studies allow us to determine current awareness levels.
  • B – Benchmarking. Initial research and measurement will let us establish a benchmark for your brand, allowing you to recognize improvements as we introduce your new brand.
  • T – Targets. Who are the people/groups you reach and influence now?
  • P – Perception. How do people see you?
  • E – Emotion. How do you connect with people emotionally?
  • L – Logic. What is the logical connection people make when evaluating your brand?
  • C – Communications. From forms to form letters to billing statements, every piece of communications reflects your brand. Are these things intimidating or inviting? We prefer the latter.

Develop

  • S – SWOT analysis determines your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • U – Unique Selling Proposition. How do we showcase your brand as unique among competitors?
  • C – Competitive Vulnerabilities. What is your competition, and how can we neutralize them?
  • P – Promise. What will your brand promise be? For example: Delta Airlines focuses on Priority Boarding (the promise is less waiting).
  • I – Identity. The development of your new identity including logo, corporate stationery, signage, website, etc.
  • M – Messaging. How we’ll communicate your new brand.
  • R – Resonance. We want to make sure your brand resonates with all constituencies.
  • E – Execution. What will the creative execution be so that all constituents embrace your brand?
  • H – Holistic approach. Beyond simple integration, we want your brand to resonate across all media: digital, traditional and social.
  • A – Assessments; staff. Strength Assessments help us identify which employees will be your best brand ambassadors. While we want to include everybody, some people will be the ideal cheerleaders and team captains to help deliver your brand promise consistently.
  • T – Training. From CEO to maintenance – your Brand Ambassadors need training to help them deliver and live the brand: It’s essential if you’re to see changes beyond the cosmetic. Your brand ambassadors will help others live the brand.
  • K – Kickoff. Once we’ve created the messaging, platforms, brand identity, etc., we recommend a series of kickoff events and communications to help your staff launch and live your new brand.

Deliver

  • Ec – Employee Communications. The vehicles we’ll use to communicate the brand and stay in touch with employees.
  • Lc – Launch Communications. How we’ll communicate your new brand to all constituents, including customers, prospective customers, donors, stakeholders, etc., in all media.
  • Ms – Media Strategy and Planning. It’s not the same world of traditional media any more. We like to be media neutral: ready to select the best utilization of your marketing dollars, regardless of media type, to drive the greatest awareness and adoption.
  • Ac – Advertising Campaign. Regardless of media we select, how will we communicate all you have to offer so that we’re not only building brand awareness, but we’re creating more sales?
  • Sm – Social Media Integration. From social media audits to brand reputation management and monitoring, we employ a full suite of social media content and tools to let you connect with your constituents in their favorite medium.
  •  W – Website. While 15 years ago a website was an afterthought, today it’s at the center of everything you do. People research almost every move they make on the web. Your website has to resonate with the many different people searching, and be optimized to give them the best possible experience.
  • M – Mobile Development and apps. This is the fastest growing area of Internet use with the explosion of smart phone penetration. A strong brand will interact with and engage people in this critical channel.
  • Dm – Direct Marketing. We can’t ignore it. This category includes direct mail and email marketing. One thing we’re painfully aware of: people will tolerate marketing mail in their snail mailboxes, but they’re downright irritated at junk mail in their email inbox and have all sorts of tools and traps to filter it out.
  • It – Information Technology. We can create a new brand identity and messaging, and train your staff to live and deliver it. But how they interact with customers and provide correct and accurate information means giving them access to data from multiple sources in real time. Having the proper real-time messaging platform will enable your brand to soar. (Austin & Williams partners with Pitney Bowes Software to develop provide these ideal Enterprise level tools.)

Drive

  • L – Liftoff. Here’s where we rollout your brand and begin the ascent above your competitors.
  • E – Engage. By engaging all constituencies through your brand ambassadors and the emotional appeal of your brand message, you’ll reach and positively engage your targets.
  • Tw – Tweak. Occasional minor tweaks to messaging and the media mix will ensure your brand is beyond the competition’s reach.
  • S – Soar. With more of the elements considered, engaged and implemented, and participants firing on all cylinders, your brand soars. You achieve the recognition, attention and business you deserve.
  • R – Reassess/Remeasure. Six months to a year after brand launch, we conduct another third-party assessment to measure brand awareness. We compare it to the benchmark we established at the beginning of the project.

I’m sure we’ll continue to discover more brand elements as our agency grows. Can you think of some we overlooked?

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