Process: Achieving New Relevance
At Orange Square, we know that having the right process is essential to delivering consistent, meaningful results. We’ve spent years refining ours to ensure we are asking the right questions, using the right tools and putting strategy before design. Our process is flexible and can be scaled to meet the needs and goals of your project, whatever the size.
In this initial stage, we dive right in to learn as much as we can about your organization, your goals, your challenges and everything else that impacts the work you do. We answer these four questions:
1) Who are you?
2) What do you do?
3) How do you do what you do?
4) Where do you want to go?
We identify your culture, behaviors, intentions, relationships, principles, standards, work, structure and context. Our goal is to uncover your inside truth – your mission, vision, values and the special sauce that makes you, you – as a critical first step in creating a strategy. Tapping into your authenticity is essential to creating resonant connections with target audiences. We also look at the big picture to explore those challenges and outside forces that impact your work. You help us by identifying other organizations that are like yours -- sometimes called competition. We also explore the current economic, political, social and technological environments that can affect your work.
Extract, the second stage of our process, builds upon the information from the Explore stage to set a clear direction for moving forward. We focus on outcome, not just output. We determine what your organization’s unique and differentiating factors are and develop key messages and passion statements that guide us when producing audience-centered materials. We identify your target audiences and the motivating factors that connect them to your organization. We develop a communication strategy and identify all of the communication tools you will need to achieve your goals, such as brochures, ads, website, newsletter, e-news, social media, annual reports etc. This communication strategy lays the groundwork for connecting strategy to design. And connecting this strategy to your goals helps build buy-in from organizational leadership. It also helps us make sure these changes are aligned with your organizational strategy.
The deliverable at the end of the Explore and Extract stages is a written marketing strategy brief. The approval of this brief ensures that every design decision is in alignment with achieving the goals of the organization and will connect with target audiences.
Connecting strategy and design, as well as linking the inside truth to the outside world through audience-centered marketing communication, is what we are all about. More than just appearing visually pleasing, great print and web design should elicit a directed and predicted response. Your marketing communication must stand out from the crowd, connect, be memorable, and inspire action.
Making your visual expression distinctive started with the Explore stage where we examined what other organizations in your space are doing. What colors do they use? What kind of language do they use? What is their voice? What style of visual expression do they use? What typefaces and images are they using? How are they using them? Once you understand what is out there, you can make better decisions. Do you want to be just like them or different? How do you want to stand out or blend in? Understanding what others have done in your space frames the choices we can make and why we make them.
There are several tools we use to ensure that the translation of strategy to visual expression is on target, works in every way it needs to, and delivers the desired transformative result. We create mood boards, examples of our visual thinking, to demonstrate and evaluate the potential feelings evoked from the new direction. The elements on the mood boards are the logo, colors, typefaces, and images—each a different visual expression of the direction your identity could take. Approval of one visual direction is key, because the designers will utilize those components to move to the next stage.
Once we have your reaction to, and input from, the mood boards, we develop a look and feel that works across all of the marketing communication vehicles (e.g., letterhead, business cards, brochures, ads, website, newsletter, e-news, etc.) that you may use. When rebranding, it is crucial to design all of the marketing communication components in mock-up form all at once. This step not only determines if the visual solution works well across all pieces, but also delivers the brand’s look and feel in its entirety.
We know change is hard and this process is designed to manage that. Once the entire process is complete, we present the entire strategy, along with the new visual identity, to your team. In this way, your team can better experience the new identity, understand what is behind it, and connect to the change it represents.
Now that you have approval on the entire identity in mock-up form, we design each element and develop the content. Once the recommended marketing materials are prioritized, budgets and estimates are created for each. The materials are then fully designed using the approved identity. This step includes the writing of real copy, selection of photography, website development and any additional marketing communication pieces. Knowing that marketing is always a work in progress, we work with you to determine how your messages are connecting with your audience. We look at how we can refine and further focus your messages. We partner with you through this change to deliver authentic, audience-centered marketing communications that achieve your goals.