PURPOSE, CLARITY, CONNECTION
To build a new brand, first you need to know its ‘why’—why it exists, why it’s unique, and why anyone should care. Then you need to express it in words people can understand, and recall. See those heads nodding when they see, hear, read your message? That’s the result of a well-developed brand strategy—messaging that cuts through the noise, connects with your target audience, and sticks like super glue.
Laying down a foundation
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.
Branding professionals define positioning in different ways. It’s the space your brand holds in the market. It’s the place your brand occupies in the mind of your customers. It’s the unique value proposition your brand provides to them. However it’s defined, positioning is the essence of your brand, the foundation upon which all brand communication—every campaign, design, and brand touchpoint—should be built. At Catchword, we’ll help you discover your essence—what makes you, you—and build a positioning that expresses it with flair and originality.
Is your home cluttered and messy? Do guests have trouble finding their way around? If so, and we’re not judging, you’re probably in need of some organizing help. Companies are the same. A clear, consistent, and logical Brand Architecture cleans up the confusion and ensures guests (er, customers) can find what they need. Depending on your needs, we can assess brand hierarchy and architecture, conduct an audit of internal and competitor names, and create product naming protocols to provide structure and clarity to your portfolio and establish logical relationships between your brands.
Brand Messaging & Copywriting
So, you’ve nailed your positioning, conceived the perfect brand name, and brought it all to life with a stunning visual identity. Congratulations, and nice work! But wait, your job’s not done, friend. You still have to introduce your brand to the world, generate awareness, and make friends with everyone. And that’s where Brand Messaging and Copywriting comes in. At Catchword, we’ll add context to your brand, flesh out your messaging, and ensure it doesn’t just get noticed, but stands out and is embraced by everyone it meets.
Sometimes referred to as a slogan or a strapline (hopefully never a punch line), taglines are those catchy phrases typically used to help contextualize a brand or introduce key messaging about the product or company. They range in style—from informative and practical to simply amusing and memorable—and can often achieve a level of recall equivalent to the brand itself (think “Just Do It,” Nike’s now timeless slogan that’s become synonymous with the corporate brand).
Catchword is expert at creating original and creative taglines that attract attention, inspire curiosity, and support your business and branding goals.
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.
Brand strategy is often part of a complete branding package including naming and visual identity. It’s the first, crucial step and includes:
- 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.
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 a naming architecture project. Contact Us to find out!
Definitely not. You could argue that the best time to figure out your naming strategy is as you’re planning your future product line-up. Should you introduce an umbrella name with descriptors, or should each product receive its own name? Should related products be tied together with a shared word part? Answering these questions in advance leads to the most efficient and cohesive naming strategy.
We’ve worked with many clients who have just a few products, but who need to know how their names should relate to each other, and where future products should fit in.
A small project, involving a portfolio of fewer than 10 offerings, could take as little as 3 weeks. A more expansive project, covering a portfolio of dozens or even hundreds of offerings—with many stakeholders and decision-makers—might take months.
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.
No! In fact, some projects end up being more of a naming validation exercise, in which we find that the portfolio simply needs some reorganization.
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.
A naming protocol is an internal guide to inform all current and future name development, including characteristics, requirements, and examples for each type of brand application. It serves as a naming decision tree, a guide for when and how names are created and when they may not even be necessary. It can also include recommendations for trademarking, version numbering, and code naming conventions.
An internal name audit can answer all sorts of questions you may not even think to ask. For instance:
- How many trademarks do you own?
- How many of them are current?
- Are all your product names being used correctly in collateral and other marketing?
- Are there names on your website that you don’t even know about?
- Do you really own all the domains you think you do?
Internal name audits include IP assessments (of trademarks, domain names, licensed names, and co-branding), reviews of internal and external communications, analysis of existing names, and most importantly, recommendations for improving name equity, management, and marketing.
Like a great name, great branding copy succinctly communicates your brand and supports your marketing objectives. Successful copy knows its message, audience (and how to speak their language), and desired outcome. Great writing of any kind is the art of reduction, distilling lived experience into words on a page–or screen–that stick with your audience.