Designing a Brand from Scratch

Every brand has to start somewhere. Although most clients will typically go to an agency with some existing assets, others decide that they want to partner with a creative team from the very beginning – even before the brand has a name, in some cases. While this might seem daunting, brand leaders who are in this position have an opportunity to get their process right the first time and create impactful assets that really connect with consumers.


Telling a Compelling Brand Story

One of the best ways that a new brand can differentiate itself from its competitors is to have an engaging brand story that can be expressed through design. For example, when Works Design Group began working with Finger Lakes Famous Foods™, the owner Duane didn’t have any creative assets yet for the team to build on. However, he did have a clear idea of the kind of story that the brand needed to tell.

Given that the brand was founded in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, he wanted the brand to reflect the richness of the area. He also sourced quality ingredients and had spent years perfecting his product recipes, so it was important for all of the design elements to convey a high-quality craft look and feel. Even though he didn’t have a background in design, Duane’s understanding of his brand’s story was extremely helpful for the design team to be able to put together deliverables that met his goals.

Location, traditions, and heritage are all great starting points for developing a new brand’s story. Or, if that’s not the best fit for a brand, it could be helpful to remember the brand’s reason for being. For example, Caulipower® is a brand that has managed to become one of the most dominant competitors in the frozen pizza category in only a few short years. While other pizza brands may have stories related to Italian heritage or family recipes passed through generations, Caulipower® has a compelling brand story about a mother who raised two children with Celiac disease and wanted to offer an easy and delicious frozen option for other shoppers like her that needed to avoid products with gluten.

This is a brand story that consumers can connect with, and it gives them the sense that the company isn’t selling them something that’s any less than what the owner would feed her own kids. This is a great example of how brand stories aren’t just for legacy brands – every brand has its own story, and it’s especially important that this story informs creative decisions for new brands that are just starting out.


Delivering a Solid Brand Promise

When designing a brand from scratch, another important place to start is to determine the brand’s promise. What’s the unique value that this brand can bring to shoppers every time they purchase? For example, when Works Design Group developed the visual identity for Président’s® new Gourmet Pairings™ cheese brand, the brand’s promise was that it made entertaining easy. This idea is seen everywhere in the packaging, from the messaging – which includes the tagline and copy that communicates that the product is spreadable and dippable (making it versatile for whatever the host has planned) – to the visuals, which include ingredients shots and a window that allow shoppers to see the actual product.

This is a great brand promise because it’s unique (this is a novel product for the cheese category and is unexpectedly convenient for a high-end product) and it’s consistent (it will always be simple and easy for hosts to serve this product while entertaining). By understanding the brand’s promise, brand leaders can help their creative team understand the best product features to highlight through design and messaging.

If a brand leader knows the brand’s story and the brand promise, it will be much easier for a creative team to design the brand from scratch. By approaching the project thoughtfully and with consideration for how the brand should be received by shoppers, these brand leaders can make sure that their creative team delivers the best results that help them meet their goals and connect with the right consumers.

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