The agile development of a brand
Agile branding combines the process of brand development with the agile way of working from software development. In this way, we manage to make an otherwise lengthy process in iterations and design sprints much faster, more interactive and more inspiring. Where classic ways of brand design cause long waiting times and high costs – often combined with insufficient results – agile branding includes the client in an active process of brand design. The result: our process is more direct, faster and more immediate than classic ways of brand design. It delivers results in a short time, defines the brand successively and involves the client in every step of the design.
What is agile Branding?
The branding process and the path of a corporate identity or corporate design is one of the most important entrepreneurial success factors of the past decades. A brand survives in its market if it gives clear signals and is remembered in an increasingly visual population. This is another reason why working with a design agency is more important than ever for companies.
Classic brand design is a process that has grown evolutionarily with the possibilities of marketing. Whereas in the past it was sufficient to determine a logo, claim and colours, today hundreds of channels are waiting to stage a brand. This is not the only reason why the process of brand development has evolved from pure logo development to a large-scale project that often takes more than 12 months from briefing to brand launch.
Opposite to that there are ever-faster launches from the business idea to the live stream of a brand. Only a few companies have the long breath to finance a design agency over months and years to test a new product or service in the market. Also, the process of a linear process of briefing, de-briefing, development, presentations and conceptions is not timely for the modern needs of companies. They need to be in the market much faster to test results, analyze brand interactions, gather experience and feedback, and adapt branding in branding flexibly to their target audiences.
Agile branding flips the approach from a linear design framework to an agile process where the focus of a collaboration is on the core of a brand. Agile branding focuses strongly on the following areas of work:
- The strategic positioning of the brand incl. needs of the target group.
- The visualization of the brand in the corporate design (logo, colors, font, graphics,…)
- The communication of the brand through branding: voice, vibe, text, feel,…
In a customer-centric process, agile branding develops a brand with the identity of the company around the needs of the target group. If we compare the process of agile branding with that of classic brand design, 3 essential features stand out:
1. Agile Branding takes about 30% of the time from the first workshop to the finished brand compared to the classic way. Of course, this is reflected in the figures: a leaner, more concentrated process causes fewer costs – for the commissioning of the design agency and on the part of the company through involved employees.
2. The agile branding process works with iterations and interaction as a basis. It does not require static briefings, de-briefings and multiple design variations resulting from the ambiguity created by one-way communication. Agile branding produces faster results: quicker exchanges, more concrete deadlines, more direct feedback and better navigation within the project.
3. Agile Branding results in Responsive Branding. Whereas with classic brands every further design requires its own conception, Responsive Branding defines the components of the brand design in such a way that all further media can emerge from it in a future-proof and flexible way, without a new briefing, new conception and design phase.
Agile branding and its steps
The brand development in agile branding opens up through the following process:
1. Workshop and inspiration round
The lynchpin of cooperation is a workshop culture. This ensures that briefings are not defined and understood unilaterally, but that a project team develops and defines a common understanding of the brand in a mutual exchange. In an initial workshop, the brand is viewed from the inside, its values, attitude and personality are defined. This creates the basis for the subsequent visualisation of a brand from the inside out. In the second step, existing customers and active/new target groups are considered in the process in order to adapt the brand communication to their motivation systems and needs. At the end of the initial workshop, a roadmap for the project, the definition of intermediate results in 2-weekly design sprints, as well as the basis of the brand through values, positioning and target group analysis are created.
2. Corporate Design Principles
The translation of the initial brand workshop results in a visual inspiration round. Here, the impressions and documentation of the brand from the workshop are discussed and visual content such as images, mood boards, videos and other media are added. The aim of this phase is to define design principles: the cornerstones of visual brand design against which each design / graphic / logo / visualisation is aligned. Is the brand high quality or playful in its design? Is it masculine or feminine? Is it precise or sweet? Design principles and the resulting mood board are a model to create a visual gut feeling from formulated ideas about the brand to translate words into colours, images and visual content.
3. Logo Design & Corporate Design Pitch
With the basis of the brand workshop and design principles, a design foundation is created that will enable the brand design in the further course. The brand is well positioned, the target group defined and the visual basis established with principles. Now the corporate design pitch can begin. It takes up the key elements of logo design, colour design, typography, imagery, design elements / graphics and language to shape them and bring them into a unified design grid. This pitch aims to showcase the brand in a comprehensive pitch presentation across all media. With this presentation, a client has a complete picture of the brand design in front of them and can give feedback on the overall picture and the individual components of the design.
4. Design Iterations
The iterative approach from software development benefits corporate design in the further agile design process. After the corporate design pitch, the following elaboration of feedback and changes or further development is defined in design sprints. Intermediate goals are defined every 1-2 weeks, resulting in a refinement of the presentation and planning for the next 1-2 week cycle. Thus, from now on, the brand does not develop behind closed doors, but is fed by discussions and feedback from the respective presentation, in which questions, possibilities and new ideas find their way into the process. A client can thus actively influence the result and co-determine the results for his needs and everyday applications.
5. Toolbox & Toolkit: Responsive Branding
After a process of about 3 – 6 months, depending on the complexity of the development, the brand and its corporate design & branding is fully defined and ready to be applied in everyday life. For this to happen, there needs to be a definition of the application, as well as a data basis for the day-to-day work with the brand and its assets. A toolbox is the defined style guide of the brand that captures all the essential guidelines of the design and makes them accessible. It interactively refers to the toolkit, which summarises the brand’s data base. The toolkit is a folder structure that contains all the assets developed and their range of versions (file format, colourways, dimensions,…). In this way, a client has data such as logos, fonts, colour worlds, image content and all other documents at hand in a structured way, so that he or she can act directly in the day-to-day work.
6. Agile Branding V.01
Now that the agile branding process is complete, it starts again. Agile working basically consists of the cycle of build > measure > learn and assumes that it is only with customer interaction in the market that the results encounter the feedback that enables real optimisation. Above all, the active application of a brand in branding is predestined for agile optimisation of inputs such as language, text and images. They are what stage the brand in media and make it work in marketing. After the central project of brand development, a second process usually takes place in which further work on the brand is fed by everyday feedback.
Agile branding for you?
Agile branding is the key to high-quality brand development that does not take place behind closed doors for months. Agile branding makes brand development interactive and inspiring, rather than a foreign body within your own company. It is a process that strongly involves the client and achieves its results from inspiration, interaction and joint iteration cycles. This makes working with a design agency more collaborative, interactive and much more alive – resulting in a vibrant, future-relevant brand.
Are you looking for a design agency that transforms branding, corporate identity and corporate design into an agile process that works with you along the way? Then you’ve come to the right place. Get in touch with us – we look forward to getting to know you and your project.