Our Approach

Our Process

How do we act?

Creating the next generation of icons: our brand building process

The Brand Leadership Canvas is a visual representation of the way we think of brands and, more broadly, businesses – as dynamic, living organisms on a journey. The Canvas maps the foundational elements of a brand – its why, where, how and what.

It is not, however, a process. Think of the Canvas as a map – it helps you determine where you are and where you should be going, but it doesn’t actually explain how to drive the vehicle.

This is the reason why we have built a new process – a set of recommended steps to build brands effectively.

This process has been designed, piloted and refined with one idea in mind – quite simply, our own ambition to create the next generation of icons.

As such, it is founded on our latest thinking and experience around how brands thrive today.

Specifically, this process:

  • Focuses from the early phases on the idea of moves – and aims to build a roadmap of moves.
  • Breaks away from the traditional strategy-then-design sequence and intertwines the thinking and the making throughout.
  • Is centered on an agile, iterative approach rather than a linear phase-by-phase approach.
  • Harnesses our Arena thinking as a way to create new growth avenues.
  • Is best experienced through a strong collaboration with clients.

Ultimately, this process has been designed to build and sustain long term relationships with our clients, by setting the foundations for a journey together.

This process should be taken as general guidance for approaching a brand transformation. It isn’t, and can’t be, an instruction booklet: as Interbrand we come across very different challenges that may different setups, activities and outputs.

At the very least, this will provide a platform and inspiration to help us work in a waythat is true to our commitment to give our clients the confidence to make Iconic Moves.


Possibility

What next SHOULD be like

Identify the key challenge(s) and explore early hypotheses  about the brand’s shift.



Prototyping

What next COULD be like

Design and detail the brand’s shift through an iterative process of exploration and evaluation.


Production

What next WILL be like

Make the brand’s shift happen by planning, prototyping, testing and delivering moves.


Possibility

What next SHOULD be like

Identify the key challenge(s) and explore early hypotheses  about the brand’s shift.

Why it’s important

It provides a broad, deep and robust foundation for our work.

It opens up our thinking towards opportunities beyond the category.

It brings into focus the key challenge(s).

It allows us to form and discuss an early hypothesis by combining insight and foresight.

Desired outputs

A broad and robust information report:
our full Departure Point diagnosis, supported by as much depth and breadth of sources and intelligence as possible.

An exploration of possibilities:
an exploration of the arena(s) the brand might play in and the moves it might make

A clear, sharp diagnosis:
a distillation of the analysis into the key challenge(s).

An early hypothesis:
a first conclusion, ready to be revised, about the overall shift the brand needs to make – the From-To.

Recommended activities

All research and activities supporting our Departure Point. These may include the likes of stakeholder interviews and/or communities, expert round tables, experience safaris, ad hoc quantitative research, social listening, and so forth.

Completion of a detailed Departure Point analysis, across each of the 12 areas. Aim to use as much depth and breadth of sources as time and budget allows. Consider using this body of work as a pre-read and reference, aimed at aligning all stakeholders.

A clear and sharp diagnosis of the challenge(s) at hand – a straight answer to the question, “what’s the key issue?” – supported by an executive summary of our Departure Point analysis.

An Arenas client workshop, exploring how the brand might address better its current job to be done, how it might address others, and what moves might help do so.

Development and discussion of an initial hypothesis of the shift the brand should make – the From-To. This should be informed by the activities above and may be presented and discussed, or alternatively workshopped. While it isn’t necessary, our work may already suggest a potential By. That’s obviously fine, as long as we are ready to revise that hunch as we prototype.


Prototyping

What next COULD be like

Design and detail the brand’s shift through an iterative process of exploration and evaluation.

Why it’s important

It’s where we fully develop the From – To by designing the brand’s intended shift – its Purpose, Ambition, Trajectory, Moves, Feel, Signatures.

It joins up the thinking and the making to develop all elements in parallel and weave them into a singular, cohesive narrative.

It allows us to hypothesise & iterate the brand throughout the process, from hunches to a sculpted roadmap, remaining mentally fluid.

It enables stakeholders to understand, evaluate and contribute to what it would actually mean in the real world.

Desired outputs

A finalised Roadmap, including Purpose, Ambition, Trajectory and a sequence of essential Moves.

A codification of the brand’s Feel, Experience Principles, Signatures, EVP and Behaviours.

Recommended activities

A sequence of prototype-evaluation cycles.
Each prototype represents an increasingly sharp, detailed and vivid version of the Brand Leadership Canvas, supported by mock ups and stimuli.

0.  Governance
Based on the Possibility phase, determine the optimal governance process, i.e. who to engage, how and how often.

Who
Which stakeholders are required to co-create and/or evaluate the prototypes? Ideally customers, channels, influencers, employees and, of course, client decision makers.

How
For instance, for customers: ongoing communities? Regular Big Talks? Surveys? For clients: regular steering committees plus executive leadership updates?

What
What techniques will be used – qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, UX testing, etc.

Desired outputs

1 Low fidelity prototype

  • A broad definition of the journey, i.e. the From–To-By. In short, our strategy. Notice that the From – To should be the result of the Possibility phase, so what we’re really focusing now on is the By – how do we make the shift?
  • Examples of Moves that we would be making to get there, supported by initial mock ups
  • An initial exploration of how the brand would need to feel like and the behaviours that would underpin it
  • Evaluation

2  Medium fidelity prototype(s)

  • A sharpened codification of Purpose, Ambition (including KPIs) and Trajectory
  • A selection of potential incremental and bold Moves, mocked up as required
  • A deeper exploration of the Feel and Signatures (including name and architecture if relevant)
  • A closer definition of Behaviours through co-creation
  • Evaluation; repeat as require

3  High fidelity prototype

  • A finalised Roadmap
  • A shortlist of tentative Moves with operational details
  • A finalised Feel and sets of Signatures, Experience Principles and Behaviours
  • Codification (guidelines and communication as required)


Production

What next WILL be like

Make the brand’s shift happen by planning, prototyping, testing and delivering moves.​

Why it’s important

​This is what we say we do – give our clients the confidence to make Iconic Moves.​

It constitutes the long – and ideally endless – tail of our client partnerships. What’s their next Iconic Move?​

It propels us out of Powerpoint and Miro world into what the world out there actually sees, loves and remembers.​

Desired outputs

A set of incremental, bold, internal and external Moves that are desirable, feasible and viable. 

A calendar of these Moves leading to the Ambition to be updated and reviewed over time.​

The Moves’ production.

Regular client sessions aimed at assessing, exploring, co-creating and evaluating Moves.​​

Recommended activities

Exploration sessions to consolidate and add to the Moves hypothesised in the Possibility stage and selected/mocked up in the Prototyping stage.​

Moves development and selection through cycles of prototyping and testing for confidence: desirability (Human Truths), feasibility (Experiences), viability (Economics), as well as their alignment to the brand’s Trajectory.​

A calendar of Moves underpinned by a clear production plan.​

The production of Moves, made by, in partnership with, or under the guidance of, Interbrand. Determine what are the ones we want to/can control end to end, based on how critical they are and the extent to which we have capabilities. Partner, within Interbrand, within Omnicom, and beyond. Make the end result the decision criterion.​

Planned cycles of Moves exploration, prototyping, testing and production, potentially involving internal and external Arena experts.​