SERVICE vs PROJECT
One of the unique distinctions between branding and other parts of an organization (especially software engineering) is the time split between service and projects. Most software engineers have a relatively simple approach: a project or feature is assigned, worked on, and completed. When it comes to a thriving creative department, it is a bit more complicated.
It's not just important to have the new website up. It is also important to make sure internal customers (the sales team, executives, engineering, and other departments) are well supported with branded materials that build a unified company voice.
In short - the best brand executive knows that his or her team must be able to do both.
It is amazing how far asking the question "How can I help?" can go in an organization. For that reason, it's incredibly important to get face time with people across all teams and levels. Without asking, people will make excuses like "the creative team is too busy - I'll ask them to fix wording this later". Most of the strength of a brand is really just a reflection on how well the internal brand or creative team communicates internally.
INNOVATE UNTIL YOU CAN'T
Everyone in the company needs business cards. They submit a request that takes a designer 30 minutes to fill each time. The designer's time costs $67/hour. With over 100 employees, business cards are costing you 50 hours of design work. What if you automated the process (removing the designer from the process) and only had to pay a contractor $1000 to develop the solution? Plus your designer gets an extra 50 hours to work on marketing collateral. That is simple decision but was it obvious?
There are limits to innovating services but finding them means you've made everything else better in the process. Innovating the capitalize on an opportunity it always better than innovating to avoid pain.
DEFINE OBJECTIVES & SCOPE
Project based branding and design relies on a similar process to any project management. The objectives and scope can either be explicit or implicit depending on the project and circumstances.
When one of the resources is an external contractor, it is best practice to err towards the explicit side to help with setting expectations.
What do we have to work with? Are we optimizing for money, time, or quality? These are the questions that we have to answer when collecting resources for a particular project.
When in-house resources are limited or when optimizing for time, it can often make sense to take a good look at outside resources in order to get more work done in even less time.
Should we work sequentially or parallel path? Perhaps a large dose of both - depending on the project. Sometimes it is possible to have a developer start on the back-end before the designer has completed the design. Other times, you simply have to wait on samples before you can make the next stage of decisions.
(the fun part)
The best part of any project is getting your hands dirty in the execution of it and seeing results. Whether it's a public relations blitz, a new site design, or even a white label phone system that customers can trust - the execution is what matters.
© Nick Allain, 2016.