What is a brand discovery?

Brand discovery is the process of identifying information about your brand. This is more than knowing what your business does. It’s digging deep to understand why your business exists, who it helps, and what the future holds. Through brand discovery, you’ll get more insights into your business. This information will help guide you or your designer as you develop your visual brand identity.

Why do you need a brand identity?

Your brand identity is more than a logo. It’s the entire experience that follows your company through your marketing materials, customer interactions, and every aspect of your business. It’s small details such as what color uniforms your employees or how you answer the phone. Your visual brand is just what it sounds like — the visual elements that make up your brand, like colors, fonts, and logos.

Your brand is the face of your business, and it’s everywhere! So it’s important to define the personality of your business and the message you want your brand to send.

A professional brand identity helps you:

  • Attract attention in a crowded marketplace and win customers
  • Communicate who you are, what you do, and why it makes a difference
  • Differentiate your product or service and strengthen your image
  • Present your business as trustworthy, credible, and dependable
  • Build loyalty among customers, employees, and stakeholders
  • Help you and your business look your best!

The brand discovery process

When thinking about defining your brand identity, be sure you understand your business, your competition, your customers, and your values and goalsAsk yourself the following questions:

Your Business

What problem does your business solve? You know what you do, but do you know why you do it? Think about your products and services. Then think about how these products and services help your customers solve a specific problem.

What adjectives best describe your business? Like people, businesses have a personality. Do you want your business to be seen as experienced, intelligent, and precise? Perhaps you sell fun, whimsical products. Or maybe you provide a service that’s emotionally nurturing. Make a list of 5-10 characteristics that describe your business. Your brand should reflect these characteristics.

What is the meaning behind your business name? Sometimes your business name is just your name (like mine!) But if the name of your business holds a special meaning, this could help you define the image you want to portray.

Your Competition

Who are your competitors? Who else does what you do? You want to stand out from your competition, while still relating to your industry and your customers. Taking a peak at what the competition is doing will help you understand the market, while also preventing you from having the same look as everyone else.

What do you do better than the competition? You’re probably smarter, faster, have better prices, or are open all night. Think about what your business does better than anyone else, so you can communicate that to your customers.

How do you differentiate yourself in the market? This is a follow up to what you do better. Think about why your customers should choose you over the competition. Dig deep and be specific.

Your Customers

Who is your ideal customer? Who are you trying to reach? You may say, “everyone!” But think specifically about a certain type of person who needs your product or service. Create a fictitious person in your mind. Give this person a name, a face, demographic information, and a personality. By defining one specific customer, you can consider how this person shops and thinks, and use this information throughout your brand discovery decisions.

What are the key problems your customer needs to you to solve? Think back to your fictional customer. Why is she looking for your services? What does she need and how does your business help her? Picture her in your store or office. Get to know her and her problems, and plan your marketing to reach her. By doing this, you’ll reach people just like her — your future customers!

How do you want to make your customer feel? Every interaction your customer has with your brand will have an effect on them. Make sure it’s the right one! Do you want them to feel relief that they found you? Overjoyed and ready for fun? Relaxed and confident they’re in the right hands? Go back to the adjectives that describe your business and make sure these fit your customer as well.

Your Values and Goals

What are your company’s core values? There’s a reason you’re in business and things you hope to accomplish other than paying the bills. If you don’t have a mission for your business and a list of values, use this brand discovery exercise to help come up with some!

What are your immediate goals? These are short-term marketing initiatives, like increasing traffic to your website, offering an introductory special, or reaching out to past clients for referrals. Think of 3-5 things you want to do in the next six months. Be specific and set a time frame.

What are your long-term goals? Once your business is running smoothly, where do you plan to take it? Maybe you want to expand, reach customers overseas, or add new services. Think about your values, your customers, and your dreams to visualize where you want to be in the future.

Brand discovery worksheet

Put it in writing!

It’s not only important to know the answers to these brand discovery questions, it’s important to write it them down! Keeping a record of your brand discovery not only reminds you of the meaning behind your brand, it also holds you accountable to your mission and goals.

If you want a fillable worksheet to use, fill out the form below to download my free Brand Identity Starter Kit. You’ll get the worksheet and a bonus brand board template!

Once you’ve discovered your brand’s mission and personality, the next step is developing a visual brand identity, and I’d love to help you with that! Check out my services page to see my brand identity packages.