The foundations on which everything rests
All good brand projects start on the basis of understanding a market and gathering knowledge. The way we look at desk research is to get a feel of the competition. Our competitor analysis focuses on visual language used, the copy, the main messages presented, and other brand tricks. What we are trying to establish is how brand savvy is the marketplace.
What impression do you create?
Brand naive markets use little or very dull language and extensive literal imagery which create no emotion. More sophisticated brand marketplaces will inject significantly more emotion into their pitch and create desire within the mind of the consumer.
What we find in the brand world, the most interesting aspect is the heuristic, the initial impression that a brand creates. We are bombarded with communications, and the initial perception of a brand is the most important element. The type of photography used can create a massive perception shift. If for example, you are a flooring company and on your website, the main image is just cross sections of flooring, it makes it hard to differentiate yourself from other competitors, as they will use similar imagery. Brand astute companies will use non-literal, emotive imagery, which captures the imagination and creates associations. This will cut through and create attraction in the mind of the consumer.
The elements that communicate a brand
Language is similar. We want to identify if the language used is very bland and boring, or is it clever, creative, captures concepts and presents them in an easy-to-read way which ignites the imagination.
We also look at colour. For example, one client we worked with, we saw that all their competitors pretty much used the colour blue as the main brand colour. This gave us a reason to change their colour palette and make it more striking, which was evidenced when at a trade fair their stand stood out amongst a sea of blue.
These and other brand techniques are what we look for when we do our research. It also helps us identify where there are gaps within markets, which spaces are dominated, and which niches to exploit.