Research, collaboration, interaction and dialogue is the foundation for authentic place branding to happen.
Our research ranges from communication and visual audits to marketing and social media analysis. Research is consolidated and presented in our Brandwise strategy – a living document that evolves as we move through the project. Audio and video also are often captured to deepen and humanize the research experience. A SWOT analysis is a keystone of our research process, leading to the brand goal definition and refinement of the project objectives, with a view to outlining the creative brief and brand benchmarks.
Our brand definition workshops with communities and stakeholders provide intelligence and strategic input through active and visually engaging sessions. We apply both empirical and intuitive methodologies. We have expertise in facilitating groups with diverse interests and are known for our ability to align communities through engagement.
For us it's really about embedding ourselves into a community, understanding the local language and culture, and applying our experience to lead change in lock-step with the communities and organizations we partner with.
Gaining a deep understanding of how a place or an organization works on a number of levels helps us to deliver a well-designed and sustainable strategy. Beyond the collection and evaluation of data, reports and documents, we engage directly with the community and stakeholders to provide a balanced and strategic approach that embraces diversity and the unique experiential assets that collaboration brings.
Many local governments embarking on place-branding the first time treat the process as they would a product, and understandably do not fully recognize the community buy-in required. Learning that the community is the brand is a watershed moment for both private and government organizations, when they harness the benefits of public engagement. The process requires leadership, confidence and commitment to the process.
Strategy driven by a desire to seek creative synthesis makes for a fertile environment for innovation and authentic solutions. Aligning a clear brand goal and a set of objectives with such a strategic approach will yield positive change for a broader community with greater and lasting impact within shorter timelines. These efficiencies translate to cost savings in implementation, more informed creative selection, and overall satisfaction among participants.
In a professional context “design” is the total spectrum of activity that comprises our brand development process from research, strategy, content development and form giving to implementation. Our philosophy of applying real design thinking to solve business and communication problems is especially relevant to our place branding work. Making the leap from strategy to visual design is where we offer a significant advantage. Because we are applying design right from the beginning stages of strategic development we are able to provide a more robust and integrated programme, leading to creative and realistic solutions.
Looking at the various phases, we move from research and strategy to Ideation. This is where the project vision materializes and it can include naming, tagline and other language development, and through a process of exploration and iteration we provide several creative options, or "roughs" for approval. Of utmost importance is the flexibility of potential concepts to be implemented through different media streams – from print to interactive media – and we advise on this and other matters of practicality.
Once a creative direction is approved, refinement and more rigorous testing commences. The Refinement stage allows for the fine-tuning of the selected direction and results in comprehensive layouts and proof of concept. We apply it to a range of required applications to test the robustness of the concept. We art direct and shoot required photographic or illustrated elements as well as refine the tone of messaging. Approval of the "comprehensive layouts" marks the end of the creative development.
The Implementation phase is focused on production. Typically, this involves typesetting, content creation, coding, and drafting specifications for manufacturing or execution, depending on the media and use.
Our Deployment services include pre-press coordination, press checks, web software (CMS) implementation and custom coding, video production, animation and media planning. We cover the full spectrum of production services.