If you have an existing brand that needs a revamp, the first step is to analyze it objectively. A brand audit typically includes a review of current marketing plans, budgets, and existing strategies (messaging, creative, media, public relations, social media, and web) and their results. Depending on your budget, focus groups and/or online surveys of employees, customers, and/or partners are helpful tools in identifying an existing brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. The results of this analysis will provide the necessary direction for your rebrand.

To create a new brand, both primary and secondary research is required to deliver a brand that will connect with your target markets. Kick-off this initiative with analysis of qualitative and quantifiable data available in-house. Examples can include asking customers for feedback about your company (or the industry-at-large if you are just starting up) via online chats, interviews, and social media; as well as more statistically-based online surveys and focus groups.

Collect industry-focused secondary research from publications, databases, and associations to assist you in better understanding target market perceptions and any market barriers. This method is also an effective way to review the current strategies of your competitors, and to further help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

Once the research phase of your branding initiative is complete, you will have created a comprehensive outline of the characteristics and messaging of a successful brand. Along with driving the logo design, this integral research fuels the creation of a unique selling proposition (USP), which serves as a uniform message that articulates why your product or service is the perfect solution for its target markets.

Once your beautiful new logo is designed and approved, you may think your work is done. But best practice dictates that one more piece of market research will give you the best chance of rolling out a successful new brand. Test your logo (and maybe your second choice logo as well) among customers and potential customers via online survey or focus group. The end results will be a brand that prospective and existing customers will embrace, remember, and reward with loyalty.