Tech Qualified

Building a Brand from Scratch: Strategies for Small Marketing Teams

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Episode Summary

In this episode of Tech Qualified, hosts Justin Brown and Meredith Metsker sit down with Allys Ton from Qortex to discuss the intricacies of brand building, particularly for small marketing teams. Allys shares her extensive experience in creating and nurturing brands at various companies, highlighting her unique approach to personifying brands. She explains how a comprehensive branding exercise can define a brand’s personality, voice, and values, making it easier to communicate the brand’s essence across all marketing materials.

Allys emphasizes the importance of collaboration within a company during the branding process. She advocates for involving different departments to get a holistic view of the brand’s identity. This approach ensures that the brand’s personality resonates with everyone, from engineers to customer-facing employees. Allys also talks about the practical steps involved in launching a brand, such as updating websites, social media, and marketing collateral, to align with the new brand identity.

The conversation also covers the challenges and strategies of maintaining brand consistency with the help of external contractors. Both Allys and Meredith share their experiences working with designers and content creators to keep their brand’s voice and visual identity cohesive. They discuss the balance of in-house skills and outsourced expertise, emphasizing the need for clear communication and feedback to ensure that all content reflects the brand’s core values and personality.

Allys Ton

Director of Marketing


Key Insights

Effective Branding Begins with Personification

Branding starts with a deep understanding of the brand’s personality. One effective method is to personify the brand, asking questions like “How old is this brand?” and “Where does it hang out?” These abstract questions help define the brand’s personality, voice, values, and mission. This conceptual approach makes it easier to develop a cohesive brand strategy that resonates with both the team and the audience. By thinking of the brand as a person, marketers can create a more relatable and engaging identity that guides all branding and marketing efforts.

Collaboration Across Departments Strengthens Branding

Involving representatives from different departments in the branding process ensures a well-rounded perspective. This collaborative effort helps in capturing the brand’s essence from various viewpoints, whether it’s from engineering, customer service, or sales. This approach not only creates a cohesive brand identity but also fosters a sense of ownership among employees. When team members see their input reflected in the brand, they are more likely to advocate for it and maintain consistency in their interactions with customers and partners.

Rebranding Involves Both Visual and Content Updates

Rebranding is not just about changing the visual elements but also about updating the content to match the new brand identity. This includes revising the website, social media profiles, and all marketing collateral to reflect the brand’s new tone of voice and positioning. It’s important to align the copy with the visual elements to ensure a unified brand message. A successful rebranding effort involves clear communication and a strategic approach to both design and content, ensuring that the brand is presented consistently across all channels.

Episode Highlights

Personifying the Brand for Cohesive Identity

Effective brand building starts with personification and collaboration across departments. By asking abstract questions such as “How old is this brand?” and “Where does this brand hang out?”, the team can define the brand’s personality, voice, values, and mission. This collaborative approach involves team members from various departments, ensuring a comprehensive perspective on the brand. The collective input helps in creating a cohesive and relatable brand identity that resonates with both internal teams and external audiences. This method not only aligns the brand’s strategy but also fosters a sense of ownership and unity within the organization.

“I try to make it really abstract so that people just think of it as a brainstorming activity […] And what I’m looking for is a common theme that’s being tied across all of them.” – Allys

Handling Brand Management with Limited Resources

Small teams face unique challenges in brand management, often requiring external help for specific tasks. At Uconnect, the visual aspect of the brand was refreshed with the help of an agency, while ongoing visual content is handled by a freelance designer familiar with the brand’s roots. This approach allows for consistency in brand visuals while freeing up internal resources to focus on other areas like content creation. The collaboration with trusted external partners ensures that the brand’s identity remains cohesive and aligns with the company’s evolving goals and strategies.

“We did a total brand refresh, worked with an agency to do that. And now we have a freelance graphic designer who helps us implement the visual side of things.” – Meredith

Strategically Launching a New Brand Identity

Launching a new brand identity involves updating all visual and content elements to align with the brand’s new tone and positioning. This includes revamping websites, social media profiles, and marketing collateral. Beyond visual updates, reintroducing the brand to the market requires strategic efforts such as PR, speaking engagements, and increased visibility. These activities help in establishing the new brand identity and ensuring it resonates with the target audience. The goal is to create a unified and compelling brand presence that reflects the company’s values and aspirations.

“It felt like we had our coming out party or we were maturing into a new level or stage of our business […] trying to get speaking events, things like that, where you just have way more brand visibility.” – Allys 

Maintaining Brand Identity in Content Creation

Ensuring that all content aligns with the brand identity is crucial for maintaining a consistent brand voice. This involves balancing personal style with the brand’s tone, especially when the content is created by different team members or external writers. Clear communication of the brand’s personality traits and values helps in guiding the content creation process. Providing feedback and using templates can help maintain consistency across various content types, from newsletters to social media posts. The aim is to ensure that every piece of content reflects the brand’s identity accurately and engages the audience effectively.

“Whenever we work with a freelance writer I’m saying Hey, we really value a conversational tone. So you don’t need to be overly polished. That’s just how we approach it.” – Meredith

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