The Power of Perception
A brand is not a logo. It’s not a corporate typeface or a color palette.
A brand is what you believe in. What you stand for. And how your point of view comes to life for everyone who engages with your organization.
Brand is experience. And strong brands believe in and nurture clear, consistent, powerful experiences.
Your north star
Brand strategy—the rigorous process of identifying and clearly articulating what a brand stands for—is the key to unlocking a robust toolkit that ensures everyone in your orbit marches to the same beat towards the same purpose.
An effective brand should serve as a north star. It’s a tool to guide every decision, from product and communication strategy to team training and the actions of internal individuals at every level. It’s a succinct articulation of what your customers and colleagues expect, and a clear pathway forward for delivery.
Unlocking the essence of a brand is a tall order. However at One Design, we’ve made something of a science out of it.
The VCI brand perception framework
Consistent, powerful brand experiences rely on alignment of perception—what expectations and beliefs are held in the minds of your customers and collaborators, and how closely are those expectations being met.
The key is to begin with an understanding of where perception lies, because misalignment and discord quite often exists not only between customer and employee, but within an organization itself.
Our research leverages the VCI framework to uncover the perception of your brand through three critical lens: vision, culture, and image.
How does an organization’s leadership articulate the goals of the company? Where is the company headed? What is our ultimate mission?
How do internal team members interpret the company’s values, objectives, and beliefs? Why do they do what they do?
How is the company perceived from the outside? What is its mission, purpose, and role in the world?
Utilizing a toolkit of qualitative and quantitative methods—from user research to market trend analysis and beyond—our researchers analyze the current state of your brand’s VCI alignment to create a snapshot outlining the dynamic between an organization’s leadership, employees, and customers. Our strategists leverage this data to generate insights explaining the root causes behind what is and isn’t working well, and propose a pathway forward through opportunities for shoring up any discord.
For some brands, this may mean it’s time to take a hard look to product strategy; for others this may mean investing in a new suite of internal communication and training tools; and for others it may mean considering a new external communications strategy designed to more clearly communicate the company’s point of view.
No matter what, we’ve found that our core approach to research and perception analysis is universally applicable to a range of challenges, whether you’re looking to (1) refocus a brand that already exists, (2) augment a service that’s already performing well, or (3) build something completely new.
1. Refocusing something that already exists
Brand drift—a gradual misalignment along some axis of the VCI framework—is natural. A brand audit is the place to start as a way to uncover discord and chart a pathway forward.
Hines, the global property developer and investment manager, was known first and foremost as a global shaper of the modern urban skyline.
However leadership had shifted core strategy to focus on global real estate investment. The One Design team leveraged our VCI methodology to reposition the Hines brand and articulate it’s evolving role in global markets through content strategy, visual design, and digital offering.
JLL Income Property Trust had fallen victim to flavor-of-the month marketing hooks, and a clearly articulated value proposition had eroded away over time.
Through VCI analysis, the One Design team clarified the product’s central narrative, keeping the attitudes and goals of investors top of mind. Leveraging an elevated visual expression alongside a new editorial strategy, the work repositioned the REIT as an enticing offering for the elite.
2. Augmenting a good thing
Sometimes when a brand is performing well, and it’s unclear what the next step should be from the standpoint of product development or service strategy.
Eastman Egg Company was a rapidly growing Chicago restaurant concept with an incredibly loyal customer base.
Through VCI analysis, the One Design team was able to develop a digital product strategy for a location-aware mobile ordering platform that served the unique desires of their customer base.
3. Building something new
Creating a new product or service offering replies on market awareness and opportunity analysis.
When NAR (the National Association of REALTORs) was looking to create a new digital offering for its members, VCI methodology helped point them in the right direction.
The One Design team developed a product strategy, brand, and marketing campaign for .realtor, a digital tool suite designed to help entrepreneurial real estate professionals stand up independent businesses and improve their overall efficiencies.
The pathway forward
Whether you’re looking to implement a new communication strategy, develop a new product offering, build deeper connections with an existing customer base, or attempting to reach new ones, having a clear sense of brand purpose is the essential place to start.
And the One Design team has the strategic toolkit to put you on a path to success.