AGDA NSW: How To Run A Damn Good Brand Project

We’re all about brand here, it’s in our name. We’re also all about AGDA events, so when we heard Richie Meldrum, brand strategist, was going to share some insights into how brands are made from the inside out, we jumped at the opportunity!

We love heading out to AGDA events, obviously now, given the current climate we must settle for the online version. Not a bad thing when you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, in front of the heater with snacks aplenty.

The most recent talk ‘How To Run A Damn Good Brand Project’, created and presented by Richie Meldrum, took us on a journey through four key stages in the creation or re-creation of a brand project. Complete with COVID-centric tips and toppings, we found it very insightful. It helped reinforce why we believe in and love our namesake.

Um, so, what is brand and why does it need a strategy?

After a short introduction (www.richiemeldrum.com), some online Zoom banter and a couple of cat gifs it was straight into the workshop. According to Richie, brand is “the sum of the perceptions that are held about you, your company or your products”, therefore branding is “anything you (deliberately) do to alter those perceptions”. With that said, Richie went on to explain a brand has multiple touch-points. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure a consistent and cohesive brand strategy to help communicate with your audience clearly in order to influence said perceptions.

Let’s workshop this.

After you’ve consumed and collated your research and findings, it’s time to start workshopping with your client. A vital stage in How To Run a Damn Good Brand Project, workshopping aims to build knowledge, uncover answers and gain insights across four areas; Positioning, Audiences, Perceptions and Competitors. Ultimately you’re getting the client to answer: who they are, what they do and what makes them different? Again, Richie offered up some handy resources and tips to deal with the shift into virtual meeting rooms. Miro and Mural being two of these resource suggestions – both digital tools to help facilitate seamless online collaboration.

Building the framework.

The framework will help guide decisions. In essence, it defines what the brand stands for. You’ve become an authority and choreographed a few killer workshops so now, as Richie explains, it’s time to absorb, process, expel and then craft. To help create the brand framework you must ask and seek answers for calculated questions. Who are we? What do we do and how do we do it? What makes us different? Who are we here for, why are we here and what is our personality?

The bells and whistles – rolling it all out.

Alright, the framework is built. You’ve now got a solid foundation to build on. What now? According to Richie, it’s time to create the visual and verbal identity, the brand guidelines and design system. Here, Richie parted with some wise words on how to sell and present your ideas to the client. Insights included the popular ‘one concept’ approach (if you’ve put in the work for the previous steps then why over-complicate?), be sure to present the strategy with the identity, detail your research, visualise the brand across products that are going to be seen and take the approval! When it comes to the brand style guide remember these are guides “not a straight jacket”. He also stressed the importance to cater for a diverse range of services: what works for print doesn’t necessarily translate to signage. Finally, your design system needs to be accessible internally and externally, therefore, a design system that is easy to navigate will ensure greater consistency and longevity. Richie offered up Frontify, an all-in-one cloud-based brand management platform, as another useful resource!

When the heater is turned off and your snacks are gone…

It was interesting listening to how Richie’s love of research, writing and human behaviour helps him to cultivate discussion within his workshops. It helps him to regulate the voices in the room, ensuring a collective and more inclusive outcome. We enjoyed his enthusiasm to all things brand and his love of melding strategist capabilities with design services to deliver holistic, considered and successful brand or re-brand projects. At BrandCulture we’re passionate about design, we understand the power and influence of brand, and it’s clear that Richie’s methodologies align with our thinking. As always, we’re looking forward to more AGDA events, thanks Richie!

  • By Julian Frood, Design Lead at BrandCulture