PHO704: Live Brief Challenge Presentations

This module’s Live Brief Challenges, which were presented yesterday, have turned out to be very worthwhile. I teamed up with Tim, Mark, Marcel, Stephen and John for what turned out to be an exercise in studying a new arts enterprise and then proposing a new branding for the enterprise together with a brand strategy and matching visual language going forward.

There was a lot to learn and these are the things that emerged for me:

  1. Collaboration and teamwork are central to a successful creative endeavour. It is important to treat differences of opinion not as points of conflict but as indications of a rich range of options. The challenge is to blend those different views into the best offer one can make.
  2. Research is vital. My research included taking two video courses in brands and marketing (Boyd 2020, Pederson 2017), looking at case studies of rebranding exercises by a commercial marketing agency (Summa 2020) and researching the likely market for the new arts enterprise we were pitching to. This led me to look not only at all kinds of arts enterprises, from the Frieze media and events company (Frieze 2020) to the Gagosian Gallery (Gagosian 2020) but also to look at what turned out to be a goldmine of data arising from the Burning Man festival in America and the Nowhere festival in Spain (Burning Man Journal 2019, Nowhere 2019). Both festivals assemble and make public full statistical data year-on-year about their audience and its demographics. By looking at hard data covering why people attend arts festivals, we were able to come much closer to answering a key question: what is your audience?
  3. A consistent visual language is an important part of branding. It can be deployed in different scenarios but if done well the language always tells your audience who you are. However, getting it right is very hard. We came up with an idea – using circles and spheres as a language (and eventually a logo) – but I think we all found it much more difficult than we thought to produce first-class work.
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Fig.1 Live Brief Challenge 2020. From a presentation on brand promises.
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Fig. 2: Live Brief Challenge 2020. From a presentation on visual language and branding.

The principles involved here are really worthwhile. They are a lesson in thinking clearly about a project and identifying its key requirements. They are also a lesson in consistency and professional execution, things that are important not only for a commercial photographer but in many other walks of life. A part of what I will take away from the Live Challenge is ‘The Branding Process in Eight Steps’ (Chiaravalle and Findlay Schenck 2020), but in many ways this checklist should really be called ‘How to Think Clearly and Analyse a Problem in Eight Steps’.

  • Determine exactly what you are branding
  • Research everything about the product and its market
  • Position a brand by defining what makes it unique
  • Define a brand by stating what unique benefits it offers, what it stands for, what value it promises to deliver, and the brand image that will permeate all communications
  • Develop a brand identity including a logo and other signature elements and a brand ‘voice’ and use consistently in all communications
  • Launch using publicity, social media, promotions and presentations
  • Manage a brand by ensuring that it continues to deliver its brand promises fully and consistently
  • Monitor, evaluate and update a brand against changes in the market and in your own business

References

BOYD, Drew. 2020. ‘Branding Foundations’. LinkedIn Learning [online]. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/branding-foundations-2/building-a-successful-brand?u=56738929 [accessed 28 Oct 2020].

BURNING MAN JOURNAL. 2019. ‘Black Rock City Census’. Burning Man Journal [online]. Available at: https://journal.burningman.org/census/ [accessed 10 Oct 2020].

CHIARAVALLE, Bill and Barbara FINDLAY SCHENCK. 2020. ‘Branding For Dummies Cheat Sheet’. Branding for Dummies [online]. Available at: https://www.dummies.com/business/marketing/branding/branding-for-dummies-cheat-sheet/ [accessed 5 Oct 2020].

FRIEZE. 2020. ‘Home | Frieze’. Frieze [online]. Available at: https://www.frieze.com/ [accessed 6 Oct 2020].

GAGOSIAN. 2020. ‘Gagosian’. Gagosian [online]. Available at: https://gagosian.com/ [accessed 6 Oct 2020].

NOWHERE. 2019. ‘Nowhere Census 2019’. Nowhere [online]. Available at: https://www.goingnowhere.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Nowhere-Census-2019.pdf [accessed 10 Oct 2020].

PEDERSEN, Lindsay. 2017. ‘Create a Brand Strategy’. LinkedIn Learning [online]. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/create-a-brand-strategy/tailor?u=56738929 [accessed 28 Oct 2020].

SUMMA. 2020. ‘Case Studies’. Summa [online]. Available at: https://en.summa.es/proyectos/ [accessed 20 Nov 2020].

Figures

Figure 1. LIVE BRIEF CHALLENGE. 2020. ‘From a presentation on brand promises’. From: Live Brief Challenge (Falmouth University). 2020. Collection of the author.

Figure 2. LIVE BRIEF CHALLENGE. 2020. ‘From a presentation on visual language and branding’. From: Live Brief Challenge (Falmouth University). 2020. Collection of the author.