Why the discovery process is an important step in branding

August 14, 2013
Ward Alles President and Brand Consultant

Even in branding – especially in branding – one has to know oneself in order to make improvements.

So that’s where Core’s say it. live it.™ branding process  begins. With a little client self-examination.

To help our clients rebrand themselves inside and out, Core Creative follows a 5-D process. And the first “D”, Discover, is a biggie. (FYI – The other D’s are Define, Develop, Deploy and Debrief … but those are for subsequent blogs.)


Discovery is a matter of taking inventory on two subjects:

  1. Your current external branding (i.e. what you say you stand for in the marketplace), and
  2. Your current internal branding (i.e. how you encourage employees to live out your company’s promise through your communication and cultural practices).

So how does Core audit an external and internal brand? Well, to achieve alignment, we tackle both subjects at the same time. And to achieve buy-in, we do this with the direct input of our clients.

By conducting a focus group(s) with a cross-section of our clients’ star employees (those who’ve drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid), we get to the bottom of two pressing questions: Why do customers choose to work WITH you? And why do employees choose to work FOR you?

Sounds simple enough, right? But few companies truly organize themselves around these questions. And even fewer know how to connect the dots between “work WITH” and “work FOR.”

Unfortunately, many organizations are so focused on making a product or delivering a service that they forget to create the conditions and communication whereby employees can dramatically improve the outcome of both.

But the Discovery process is not just a matter of getting together and singing Kumbaya with employees. It’s a no-holds-barred, honest review of your competitive position in the marketplace as both a producer of goods/services and as a prospective employer.

This stuff matters, folks. Because the companies who discover their differentiator in light of the competition – and then work with their employees to emphasize that differentiator at every touchpoint with customers (and each other), not only find the holy grail of branding … they find the holy grail of employee motivation and retention.

After the hard work of discovery is accomplished, crystalizing your brand (what you do, how you do it and why you do it) during the Define phase should be a two-foot putt.

Well, it should be. But to do it creatively and memorably, no doubt you’ll need a branding expert’s help. So let’s discuss “D” for Define next time.

But in the meantime, how do we do it? Call me and we can get started.


Ward began his advertising career as a copywriter, working for two of Wisconsin’s leading business-to-business agencies. In 1994, Ward helped form Core Creative with his two partners. At Core, he originally served as an account executive and copywriter. As Core grew, Ward moved on to his current administrative role as president. While he still provides brand consultation and strategy to a handful of accounts directly, his primary goal now is to help guide the agency’s direction and business development efforts. Connect with Ward on LinkedIn or drop him an email at ward@corecreative.com.



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