An organization provides products and services. But a brand does something much different. 

A brand cultivates experiences, evokes passion, and creates connections between an organization and its customers. It brings a business to life.

What a brand doesn’t do, though, is come to life all on its own. It requires thoughtful cultivation and care. It requires a brand strategy. That’s where GATE comes in.

What is a Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy is a framework that guides everything a brand does; how it walks, how it talks, and how it interacts with customers. It drives your marketing strategy, the tactics a marketing team deploys, and the messaging used when communicating to customers–both written and visual.

But the job of the brand strategy doesn’t end with marketing. From the design of your website to the way you answer your phone to the emotions your customer feels when they walk through your door – every ounce of your brand strategy should be poured into every facet of the brand experience. 

Does Your Brand Need a Strategy? Um, Yes!

In the now-famous words of one of our favorite marketing minds, Simon Sinek, “Customers don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

Communicating your “why” is critical because it creates an emotional connection between you and your customer. And emotions drive decision-making, not logic. A brand strategy is your opportunity to influence that purchasing decision. It’s your chance to shape and share your “why.”

So, if you’re forgoing a strategy in lieu of simply communicating your product or service’s features and benefits, you might as well close up shop now. Tapping into a customer’s emotions and sharing your “why” is the only way to speak to the part of the human brain that says, ‘I must buy that!’

How to Create a Strategy for Your Brand

After our team determines where your business sits in the market and understands how you are perceived by your target customers, we sit down to craft a brand strategy that will guide the work we do together. 

We start with your “why” and get clarity around the mutual beliefs that connect your brand with what matters most to your customers.

Everything flows from there. 

We define your voice in the marketplace, develop the emotional connections between you and your customers, refine your core principles, and refresh your brand presence to the outside world.

When you’re ready to develop a strategy for your brand, do the work to understand the purpose behind what you offer and how your “why” offers your customers something no one else can offer. Or solves a problem that you’re uniquely positioned to solve.

Next, spend time thinking about your target audiences. Seek to deeply understand their needs and wants. As yourself, “What matters most to them?” Remember that at the end of the day, your brand isn’t about you – it’s about your customers and how you serve them.

Ready to Embark on a Brand Strategy Journey of Your Own?

The members of the GATE team have decades of experience developing brand strategies that help organizations pursue their passion, deliver value to customers, and pave a path toward success.

Contact us to begin the conversation and embark on your brand strategy journey.

As a business owner, you know you can’t succeed without a strong brand. But what happens when your current identity doesn’t reflect the company’s goals or values as it stands today?

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time for a rebrand—a refresh of your company’s brand identity and public image to better reflect who you are today.

The results of a successful rebrand can be huge: your brand will feel fresh and relevant again, and loyal customers will see that your business is evolving along with them.

So, how do you get started when it’s time to rebrand? There are five considerations you’ll want to make as you begin your rebranding journey. And that journey starts by assessing your brand identity.

1.    Assess Your Current Brand Identity

Consideration number one involves a long, hard look at your current brand identity. Ask yourself:

  • How would you describe your company’s existing brand identity?
  • What do you want your future identity to be? What qualities, characteristics, and values should the new corporate rebrand convey?
  • How does your brand identity compare to your competitors’ identities in the marketplace?

2.    Take a Fresh Look at Your Brand Purpose and Brand Values

Your brand purpose is the underlying reason your company exists. Your brand values are an attribute, belief, or principle that drives how you interact with customers and other stakeholders.

If you formalized your brand purpose and values from previous branding exercises, revisit documents from those branding efforts and see how your business currently measures up.

If this is the first time you’re thinking through your purpose and values, this second consideration is perhaps the most important. You need first to understand your own purpose and values before you can expect to make an emotional connection with your customers.

3.    Look for Ways to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors

A successful corporate rebrand is all about being unique and different. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

To do this, make sure you:

  • Can Clearly Communicate Your Unique Differentiator in the Market
    Aim for brand uniqueness. The public will perceive you as an individual in a sea of sameness—the perfect fit for their needs.

  • Can Demonstrate How Your Brand and Offering Are Better or Different – or Both
    Uniqueness is important but not enough on its own. Make sure your audience can tell how much better or different your product or service is compared with other offerings on the market.

4.    Consider Your Audience’s Wants and Needs

Consumers are more informed, demanding, vocal, and educated than ever before. And they have more options than ever.

Customers want brands that deliver on—or exceed—their promises, help them better understand what they want and need, offer a great customer experience, and provide value for their money every time.

As you work through your corporate rebrand, take an honest look at your processes and customer service efforts. Have you fulfilled your customers’ expectations? Are you delivering the highest level of service? Can customers trust that you will do what you say you will?

5.    Partner with the Right Branding Agency

A branding agency—especially one with a strong in-house team of strategists, designers, writers, and other marketing professionals—can be a great resource as you embark on your rebranding journey. Working with a well-chosen agency will make the rebranding process smoother and your new brand identity cohesive.

Ready for a Corporate Rebrand to Refresh Your Identity?

At GATE, we’re passionate about helping businesses develop the right brand strategy to tell their story and achieve their goals. If you’re considering a corporate rebrand, we can help.

We are Gate. Let’s do this together.

Contact us today to get started.

As a branding agency, you can imagine that we’re big believers in the power of branding to create emotional connections between companies and customers. 

To the same end, we’re also sticklers when it comes to brand consistency. If you’re producing a video to unveil a new product, the style, design, and messaging of that video must be consistent with every other element of that product’s brand – from its packaging design to the social media post announcing its debut.

Leveraging the power of a brand requires a consistent and cohesive design and messaging strategy across all channels. Or what we like to call Integrated Marketing.

What Is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is a branding approach that ensures an audience experiences a brand in a consistent way, regardless of the channel. For instance, if someone receives an email about your product, clicks to your website to learn more, then ultimately buys that product, the interaction with the brand should be consistent at each step in that customer journey.

An integrated marketing strategy looks at every channel—your website, social media accounts, paid advertising, email newsletters, video, photography, packaging, and more. Integrating these channels allows your brand to clearly communicate with customers and shape one unified brand experience.

Why Your Business Needs Integrated Marketing 

You can’t rely on a single channel or platform to tell your brand story. And you can’t afford to confuse customers with mixed messages sprinkled across multiple platforms.  

Integrated marketing efforts ensure your social channels, presentations, sales materials, packaging – every sales and marketing tool that touches your brand – is singing the same song. 

When they are, you can give your customers a seamless and consistent experience – something your brand needs to do if it’s going to cultivate customer interest, trust, and loyalty.

Gate’s Integrated Marketing Services Keep Give You a Consistent Brand Experience 

Gate’s integrated marketing services will create a cohesive look and consistent message across all of your marketing channels. 

Our full-service suite of integrated marketing services includes:

  • Print + Digital Advertising
  • Video + Production
  • Outdoor + Signage
  • Tradeshow Experience
  • Package Design
  • Print + Digital Collateral
  • Production

Regardless of what services your brand needs, we’ll help you develop stunning creative and crisp copy that embodies the essence of your brand and then tailor those marketing assets for each of your channels for a unified brand experience. 

Ready to Begin Your Integrated Marketing Journey? 

The Gate team has decades of experience creating integrated marketing campaigns. Let us put our expertise to work for your organization to help you reach your goals.

We are Gate. Let’s do this together. 

Contact us today to get started.

Find your brand’s strength. Identify market gaps. Put them together and, boom; it’s time to go to market. 

Well, almost.

Finding your brand’s strength and identifying market gaps involves much more than a sit-down among founders and a few Google searches. It requires comprehensive research. 

Through targeted brand research, you develop an understanding of your competitors, your market, and where your organization fits into the mix. It also provides an opportunity to learn about your company’s strengths and weaknesses, becoming a guide as you look towards the future of our organization.

What is Brand Research and Why is It Important?

Whether you’re building an entirely new brand or want to learn if your current branding efforts are working, research is the key to unlocking that insight.

There’s almost no limit to the type of insight brand research can provide. It’s one way to create a baseline understanding of your competitors and market. For instance, how does your business or organization measure up against what others in your space are doing? Are you setting the pace or trailing behind?

It’s also an important tool when you need to better understand your current and intended customers and how your product or service can provide either a new or improved solution to a problem. 

Don’t Start Marketing Until You’ve Done Your Research 

Research is the first step in a thoughtful marketing plan, setting the foundation for your design, strategy, and marketing efforts.

Many companies start marketing without first doing the necessary research to understand their brand and audience. They think they know what their customers need and decide to jump right into the tactics. But the cost of failing to do the research and develop the strategy can be pricey.

How to Perform Brand Research 

Research begins by asking questions. At Gate, our team asks these critical questions so we can better understand our clients’ market, target audience, and competition, including:

  • What problem does your product or service solve?
  • How do your competitors solve the same problem?
  • Is the problem you solve a major pain point for your audience?
  • What is the market perception of your brand?
  • What is the market perception of your competitors’ brands?
  • What marketing strategies are your competitors using? 
  • What marketing strategies are most likely to reach your audience?
  • What are your organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the current market gaps? 

Ready to Start Your Brand Research Journey? 

The GATE team has decades of experience performing brand research that delivers actionable insights. Contact us to learn more about our brand research service and how we can help you begin your branding journey.

We are Gate. Let’s do this together.

To create a brand is to design an experience. 

Part art, part science, branding is a strategic process that, when done right, results in a brand experience powerful enough to build connection and loyalty between businesses and customers. 

We know what you’re thinking. “That’s great and all, but how do I actually do that?” 

The answer is simple. You don’t.

No different than hiring a certified electrician to rewire your home or an experienced pilot to fly you around the world, you put your brand in the hands of a trusted branding expert.  

You hire a branding agency.

What Does a Branding Agency Really Do for My Brand? 

There are alternatives to branding agencies. Your cousin’s best friend probably has Photoshop, and we’re willing to bet your friend from college knows someone who used to design websites. 

But a branding agency doesn’t just bring tools and technology to the table. Branding agencies bring eyes for design, put fingers on the pulse of your market, tune into the emotions that drive consumer behavior, and translate all of it into a brand experience.

Beyond expertise, there are some very practical benefits you receive when partnering with a branding agency, too. 

Benefits of Working with a Branding Agency

  • Resources. Branding agencies have access to resources and tools that enable them to help clients reach their goals. They can help your organization stand out in an increasingly crowded market by developing creative strategies to attract your ideal customers and generate sales.
  • Identity. A branding agency can help you create a strong brand identity that differentiates your business from competitors by identifying target markets and target audiences and creating messaging that resonates with them. A strong brand identity helps build trust among consumers and creates value.
  • Strategy. A branding agency can also help you create strategies to communicate with customers and prospects while increasing their loyalty to your products or services. With the right visual identity and message, a brand will attract customers who love what they do, resulting in repeat business and referrals from satisfied clients.

What Services Do Branding Agencies Typically Offer? 

Brand design, brand identity, and brand strategy. Almost all agencies offer some iteration of these services. From this, you’ll receive tangible assets including a company logo, a brand standard guide to dictate the look and feel of your website, app, advertising campaign, and any other marketing and design elements of your brand. 

Brand Design 
Brand design is the art and science of creating visual assets that express the essence of a brand. It’s the process of discovering and articulating what makes your company unique, then communicating it visually in a memorable and impactful way.

Because it helps create a cohesive look and feel across all your marketing materials, brand design is an essential part of any company’s marketing strategy. Consistency builds trust with consumers and differentiates your brand from your competitors in search results or on store shelves. 

Brand Identity
Brand identity is the image and personality of a brand, including its name, logo, and tagline. Brand identity is a blend of visual and verbal communication that helps consumers connect with a product or service.

Your brand identity helps define who you are as an organization and allows you to connect with your audience by creating an emotional connection through your messaging. 

Brand Strategy
Brand strategy is a plan that defines the direction of a brand.  An effective brand strategy should be built on:

  • Company goals
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Mission, values, and vision
  • Target audience
  • The competitive environment in which it operates

The brand strategy should also have an action plan—a set of tactics that will define how the brand will be communicated to its audience.

Convinced that a Branding Agency Partner is the Way to Go? Here’s What to Look For.

Branding is a collaborative journey. Your branding agency should always work closely with you to understand what makes your company unique and special – not propose a cookie-cutter brand design that fits their design style. 

To find an agency that embodies this approach, consider the following: 

Experience. Check the agency’s portfolio and make sure you like their work. Look for a variety of brand designs that show you they’re not a one-trick pony. Also, ask for references from clients who have similar businesses or needs to yours. 

Size. Some agencies are more specialized than others. A larger agency may have more resources, but it will also have more projects going on at once—potentially making it more difficult to get the personal attention you need. This consideration comes down to the type of relationship you want to have with your branding partner.

Process. Sophisticated branding agencies have a process. This includes steps that allow them the time to understand your goals so they can design a cohesive plan to tell your story effectively. If they pride themselves on ‘jumping right in’ to the design phase without doing the upfront strategic discovery work, run the other way. 

Action. Look for an agency that can not only come up with beautiful design ideas and compelling brand stories but one that can also execute. Great ideas are important, but action is what brings them to life.

Ready to get started on your branding journey? 

At GATE, we’re passionate about helping businesses develop the right brand strategy to tell their story and achieve their goals. 

We are Gate. Let’s do this together. 

Contact us today to get started.

I see you. You see me.

That’s the basic premise for human connection, right? Acknowledgement, understanding, confirmation and ultimately some form of relationship to one another. This is also the premise for building the opportunity for brand relationships. We, at Gate, always attempt to strip the layers of pretense and posture away from a brand to find its core essence – its basic truth. Good customer research and internal focus groups can do that. Direct questions to the founder or CEO can reveal a lot, too. Finding the heartbeat of the why is critical. Why do you do what you do? Why are we talking?

I see you. You see me.

Four months ago, many in our industry would have equated that phrase as merely the residue of successful branding. That’s the goal, right? To enable a brand to be embraced by the many. While on the other side of the glass, our goal is to convince the individual that a brand gets him/her/them with the promise to enhance his/her/their life in some way. It’s the moment of brand connection, the spaces between brand adoption and the propulsion of brand evangelism that makes the case for ultimate success. When others start speaking for you, that’s the trust that is demanded and rewarded by the consumer audience.

I see you. You see me.

But once in few generations, does an outside force act upon humanity in the same manner that we as brand builders do with all of our clients. This force also strips away pretense and posture. It humbles us and gets us down to our why. Why are we doing this? Why are we talking?

STOP.

I see you. You see me.

In the very midst of today’s ultimate challenge, It truly is about seeing each other for who we are. Pretense is all but vanished in a locked down world where an invisible threat is telling us to STOP. Forcing us to STOP.
Universe says,

STOP.

And we do.

We take shelter.
We take stock.
We think about what we are doing.
We measure our next steps.
And then…

We decide to move forward, but now our conversations are conducted from a position of vulnerability. When we connect via our technology, be it Skype, Google Hangouts, WebEx or Zoom. We are speaking from a position of humble authenticity, not from the inflated braggadocio of board rooms, war rooms or slick designed marketing labs. It’s from our living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. In a time when our phones, tablets and PCs were distractions from the very things we love, they are now our sole connections to it. And we help to add a little levity to the notion that we as a people have been knocked down a peg or two. Yes, we still have our shirts, ties and makeup to look somewhat presentable on our video conferences, but we are also in our pajama bottoms, jeans and underwear. At least, we hope so.

I see you. You see me.

This very phenomenon is exactly the goal of good branding, strategy and execution. No, not the pandemic itself, but the after effects of such a thing produces the very relationships with people that we try to create with goods and services. We strip away the pretense to get to the core values, the moments of truth and the authentic nature of why that brand is here. We attempt to create a relationship that comes from a position of honesty, equality and vulnerability. I believe one should always present their most honest self to others, always a peg lower than you think it is, always in service of others. I mean, what other definition is there of a good or service?

When we as people talk to each other now, there is more ease in the way we do it because of this shared experience and connection through the pandemic happening around us. We have become what we hope to instill in every brand – authentic – and we say “I am here with you. You can trust me. I am here to help.”

I see you. You see me.