Purpose, clarity, connection
You can’t build a great brand until you know why you go to work every day. Then you need to be able to say it in words people can understand, and remember. See those heads nodding when they hear, see, read your message? That’s branding that cuts through the noise, that connects, that works.
Brand strategy: Pillars of success
Catchword has guided brands old, new, and reborn to greater clarity and more meaningful connections with customers. We’ll help you to define and position your brand and craft authentic messaging that resonates with target audiences. And if your product offerings are a bit disorganized, we’ll help you clean house so customers can easily find the solution they need.
When you love what you do, it shows in the work.And people notice.
Clutch | 2019–2022
#1 Branding Agency Worldwide
MUSE Creative Awards | 2020–2022
Corporate Brand Identity
Transform Awards | 2018–2020
Excellence in Naming Strategy
London International Awards (LIA) | 2016
How can we
Defining your most fundamental attributes can be incredibly challenging. (It’s no coincidence that “Who am I?” is the psychological, philosophical, and spiritual question for the ages.) Our 2+ decades working and thinking about branding have yielded some wisdom, which we share below and in our Insights & Resources. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, reach out. We’re happy to chat.
Our clients want to build relationships, build businesses, build brands. If you just want to hang up your shingle and sell some stuff, you might be able to get by with a name and logo, but how will you know what those assets should communicate if you haven’t examined why you’re in business and for whom? Brand strategy services can be scoped up or down, but every naming or visual identity process should start with brand strategy.
- Discovery (brand immersion through interviews and review of materials)
- Positioning (defining the pillars that capture the brand essence and placing a brand stake in the competitive ground)
- Messaging (crafting a brand story, an internal narrative that ties the positioning work together, plus optional other branding copy such as a tagline or slogan)
- Architecture (optional step appropriate for brands with complex portfolios of offerings)
Although timelines vary with scope and complexity, we typically allot about 8 weeks for the brand strategy phase of the process.
Cost varies greatly depending on the scope and complexity of the work. Consider the difference between a three-person startup launching a new app and a multibillion dollar tech firm rebranding after acquiring a diverse stable of sub-brands. Let’s talk about what you need and figure it out.
Brand architecture is the way the brands in your portfolio are organized. An effective brand architecture structures all of your company’s brands so they make sense in relation to each other and allow customers to clearly identify the offerings they need. It also provides rules and recommendations for determining what kinds of new products and services (or companies and subsidiaries) get branded, and how.
Like a well-designed house, brand architecture should be welcoming and intuitive. Too often though, when companies have many long-standing brands (especially from acquisitions), their portfolio becomes a maze of names and sub-brands that’s off-putting to potential customers and confusing to internal audiences.
That’s where we come in. Our process includes discussions with stakeholders, an exhaustive review of the existing portfolio of brands and those of key competitors, and an assessment of which areas need streamlining or clarifying. We then develop a range of architectural options for consideration. Once a model is chosen and refined, we’ll develop guidelines for determining when new brands/names are warranted, and a protocol for how they’re developed.
The result is a flexible yet consistent structure for all your offerings that clarifies the relationships between different brands, maximizes your budget (by eliminating unnecessary proprietary brands that require expensive marketing), and simplifies adding offerings in the future.
Is your product portfolio messy and confusing? Is it hard for customers to find and buy the right products? Is it unclear where new products will live within the portfolio? Does it feel like the products in your portfolio come from different companies and represent different brands? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, your company might be a good candidate for brand architecture services. Let’s talk.
Taglines (and their cousins, slogans and descriptors) are types of copy that help express your brand. Sometimes they are paired with your logo. Sometimes they are embedded into your advertising.
Taglines help customers remember the brand and emotionally connect but don’t overtly tell customers anything about what you do or why they should choose your brand. Nike’s Just Do It is probably the most famous tagline of all time. The Motel 6 tagline We’ll leave the light on for you conveys welcoming homeyness. A tagline can help a fairly descriptive brand name evoke more emotion and customer engagement.
Slogans express brand positioning and can be adapted to changing marketing goals. They can be long: There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. Slogans sound more like campaign headlines and are more likely to feel like jingle lyrics: The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!
Descriptors communicate what the brand does, how it does it, where it does it, or who it does it for. Descriptors frequently are paired with brand names that are more abstract or that express the brand’s emotional benefit or personality but not the functional offering. Without the latter two words in Red Bull Energy Drink, the name could work for almost any brand characterized by power and passion and you wouldn’t know what it is.
We recommend companies develop a tagline, slogan, or descriptor with their new company name and logo to flesh out brand communication. Products and services generally don’t need a tagline but might need a slogan or descriptor, depending on the sector, type of name, and marketing plan.