Updated: Jan 18
Designing a brand is more than conceptualizing a symbol or icon. You need to consider the business and what makes it truly unique. You need to understand the audience and what problems they have that your business is solving. These are just a few of the strategies behind the brand discovery questions I ask my clients in the early phases of branding.
My brand discovery questionnaire is as important for me in designing a brand as it is for my clients in building a successful business. The collaboration between business owner and designer can really spark some magic. It all starts with a questionnaire.
THE ROLE OF BRAND DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
To build a brand successfully, a designer needs to get to the root of the business and what makes it tick. Why do they do what they do? Why does it matter? Every question in the brand discovery questionnaire is designed to influence and guide my design approach.
Without an understanding of the values and motivations behind a business, the brand identity will fall flat. It may be visually attractive but it will fail to connect with the audience. And while the key goal is to design a brand that resonates with my client, moreover, it’s to design a brand that emotionally connects with their audience.
BREAKING DOWN THE BRAND DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
The strategy behind my discovery questionnaire is to begin to uncover some of the important characteristics of your business and how they serve the greater whole. I do this by segmenting the questions into five categories.
The Business Essentials
These questions are all about your business, from short and long-term goals to your value proposition.
The Brand Essentials
These are your brand personality questions. They cover tone, style and character.
A really important one to focus on is who you’re targeting. This starts with what type of people they are: where they live, what do they do and how much do they earn? Then we establish the problem your business is solving for them.
The brand discovery questions need to cover your competition too. Who are they? What do they do well? In what ways are you different?
The Brand Influencers
Finally, I want to know what aesthetic appeals to you. This helps me clarify potential avenues for your brand identity direction.
BRAND STRATEGY AND DESIGN THINKING
With these brand discovery questions answered, I work with your responses to see how we can use design to achieve your goals, fulfill your audience’s needs and desires, while differentiating yourself from the competition.
This is where design thinking comes into play. Design is intentional, not frivolous. If you stop and think about it, design is literally everywhere. From the way you navigate an airport or open a box of crackers to the way you order more crackers online.
But there is good design and bad design.
Good design should be intuitive. Think of doors you encounter in commercial spaces. When you push on a door that is supposed to pull, that’s an example of bad design. That door should be designed in a way that tells you, without telling you, that it needs to be pulled to open.
Design is a way of thinking and this applies to brand design too. The branding questionnaire PDF that I send to clients gives me the basic components I need to get the wheels turning in my head. How do all of these parts come together? How can design be used to emulate the motivations of the business in a way that impacts and connects with their audience?
ANSWERING THE BRAND DISCOVERY QUESTIONS WITH INTENTION
In order for me to design an honest and successful brand, thoughtful client participation is essential and extremely valuable. If you’re serious about branding your business, it is so important that you take the time to answer the brand discovery questions with intention. After all, you know your business and motivations better than I do. The more insightful they can be, the better the results I can deliver.
This is why I say that the brand discovery questionnaire is valuable for my clients as well. It provides them the opportunity to reflect on their business in ways they may not have done yet or haven’t done for some time. Revisiting your goals, clarifying your values, and getting in the shoes of your ideal customers will impact your business strategy by narrowing your focus.
It can be easy, as a business owner, to get lost in your product or service development that you forget to step back and think of the core values of your business. This is why design thinking influences strategy. Remember, design should be intuitive. So, too, should your business model. How can you finesse your business strategies to best serve your target audience? Download my Brand Discovery Questionnaire to get you started!