How to choose the best work model for shaping a brand strategy and visual identity

Do you know how to pick the best work model for different projects shaping the brand strategy and visual identity? Mila Marina Burger, partner at Filburg – a Zagreb based studio for branding, design and communicatons – explains more.

Three modes of work

Choosing the best work model for a respective organisation will depend on a few factors – how fast something needs to be done, is there a budget for outsourcing experts and are there quality teams in the company’s network and suppliers database who can do the project right and on time. Essentially, there are three types of work on projects like these, no matter if we are talking about building a new brand or repositioning the existing one.


#1 Everything is done internally

The first way is to do everything internally because there is a sufficient amount of experts and a high level of coordination that can lead to things really happening in a reasonable timeframe.

The advantage of this model is knowing the company culture and the brand inside out, and if the internal team is well organised and experienced, the communication regards iterations is faster. Besides that, if a team did it internally, sometimes it’s easier to implement a new narrative and a design once it’s all done. But, if the team which also works on current assignments, which are the main source of company income, at the same time works on building the new visual identity and brand, it can be really challenging to stick to deadlines. That can become a problem, and in that case it’s cheaper and more efficient to outsource a quality person or team to do the job.


#2 Collaboration with agencies and studios

The second way of working on branding projects is when an internal team collaborates with one or several external designer agencies or branding studios.

For this type of collaboration it is important to determine who is the person inside a company who takes part in shaping the assignments and making strategic decisions. It is important to include marketing and PR departments in the process or the ones who manage brands on an operational level, head designers or creatives as well as someone from the top level management inside without whose approval branding will not happen.

Therefore, the exact roles of all the individuals involved in the process of rebranding are depending on the particular industry and the size of the organisation. However, it has to be a wide circle of people who will also become the new brand’s ambassadors internally and feel like they are its co-authors. At the same time the circle has to be small enough so that the process is not unnecessarily prolonged.

Generally speaking, the more people we involve in the process, the longer it will take.


#3 The external team does everything

The third way to organise a project of shaping a new brand or a visual identity is to trust the external team with the project. It is an ideal way for highly specialised small companies or organisations who don’t have the internal capacities and are focused on their niche, main product or service.

The external experts can bring a fresh perspective to old questions that the organisation hasn't the ability or resources to answer. An example of these questions is how to offer something new to existing buyers or how to expand the business to B2B segment. When the team from the given company trusts a studio or an agency with great references and experience, that is a warranty that the communication problems will be addressed properly. This type of collaboration is more demanding when it comes to coordination and alignment but the invested effort results with a quality outcome.

How things work at Filburg

Startups and SMEs generally hire us as the only experts to work on specific assignments or to help them gain clarity of certain solutions. They designate a person who leads the project internally and communicates with Filburg. In those cases we work closely with the management and internal sales as well as marketing and desig departments if they exist.

Public and international organisations usually have “pools” of experts they work with, so Filburg is in principle one of the teams who work on a specific project. From our experience so far, this type of work organisation has small teams internally, who dispose of some knowledge in design, content creation and production, and they can potentially implement a redesign, but not fully create it. The best scenario is the one which ensures that once the strategy and visual design as the first manifestation of the brand are finished, they are applied consistently. Therefore, the communication should be aligned when it comes to content and channels, and visual communication has a high level of production. That can be accomplished in a way that you continue working with external experts if there are no design or marketing teams internally, or if there is a team inside the company, it can take over the creative helm and continue working using the established principles.

Reputation building is a longterm process and it cannot be finished once a brand strategy and a visual identity is done. If you think about the brands you love or admire, those are essentially entities who exist ten years at least.

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