Skip to content

Healthy Relationship = Healthy Brand

By Chad Gordon | October 29, 2015

Healthy branding billboard

Whether creating a new brand or refreshing an old brand the ultimate success does not begin with research, interviews or focus groups. The foundation isn’t built in a brainstorming session or when pencil hits paper.

The magic to building a healthy brand starts with the health of the relationship between the client and the branding firm.

It doesn’t matter if the widget is the most amazing widget ever, or if the widget company is lead by passionate visionaries, or if the branding firm has 100 years of experience and the best account service and creative talent in all the land. A branding initiative is doomed to failure if the relationship between the client and the firm is not as healthy as it could be.

What are the tenets of a healthy client/agency relationship?

1. Believe
Simply put, you have to believe that we can help you and we have to believe in you. You have to believe that it is critical to effectively portray who you are, your internal culture – your way – in order to differentiate. You have to believe that positioning is critical to branding and that we have the ability to propel your brand forward. We have to believe that you are dedicated to building your brand. All of the other tenets listed below are tied to these beliefs.

2. Talk
There has to be honest, open communication throughout the entire process, from assessment to delivery. There can be no hidden agendas, no secrets, no surprises from either side. The objectives need to be communicated clearly and made sure they are understood by both parties. The brand build process is often fluid and directional changes are common throughout. We must talk constantly, and more importantly we must…

3. Listen
While we spend a lot of time in the assessment phase, our knowledge of your product, service, culture, goals, etc. is ultimately tied to what you tell us, how you feel and, more importantly, how your customers and prospects feel about them. We need to listen to and really hear you and your audience in order to have the best understanding possible in order to create the brand of your dreams.

It is natural for you to have your own ideas about how your brand should feel. We embrace client direction and will always guide brand development with those aspirations in mind. However, we will typically present alternative solutions as well. The most effective work comes from a deep level of collaboration. Willingness to listen, understand and consider every direction is important to healthy client/agency relationship (which is true about any relationship).

4. Plan
Clearly understood objectives, budget and timelines makes for a smooth brand build. Changes in any one of the three can effect all three. Objectives and budget must be defined in the beginning. Timelines must be realistic and crisply adhered to.

5. Sleep on it
A brand isn’t built overnight. It takes time and we all need to stop now and then during the process to review, reflect, validate and fortify the course if necessary. Reflection needs to be built into the timeline.

6. Convert ego into passion
Whether you are a client or a member of the agency team, we all take great pride in what we do. We all have to understand that with pride comes ego, but we can’t let pride and ego overtake shared passion. Shared passion comes from mutual trust and belief and is the fuel that drives a successful brand build.

Open communication, clear planning, building in time for reflection, fueling the passion and, ultimately, a mutual belief in each other will always build a healthier brand.

Share on...

Posted in  and tagged , ,


Chad Gordon

Chad is the Creative Director, overseeing the development of virtually every original design. Chad studied photography in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has a degree in photo illustration from Ohio University. In 1991 he worked with Reuben and Company as a photo assistant before joining designRoom as a designer the following year. Chad has received numerous national awards, has shared in his team’s many Addy Awards, and has had his work published in several international design publications. Chad is experienced in all phases of creative design, including concept development, art direction, photography, typography, print production, and website design. Chad’s specialties are photo illustration and identity development. His unique infrared photography has been shown in numerous galleries around northeast Ohio. He is an avid baseball man, a crafty pitcher with speed and movement on his fastball, and played on championship teams in the Roy Hobbs League.

“I trust them with my brand. I trust them with my marketing business. They will not steer you wrong. They will ensure everything is on point moving forward.”

Lauren Byers, Vice President, MarshBerry

"Our client base increased. Our staff base increased. Our reputation and notoriety in the industry increased. The branding has lifted us up to be very confident.”

Denise Corbisiero, COO, Integrity Billing

“We trust them as true professionals who really understand the process that’s required to do things right.”

Carole Boye, CEO, Community Alliance

“They really bring in the heart behind the message. They tell the story in ways that are compelling. They’re really creative and that matters.”

Anthony Guido, VP of Communications & Marketing, Cohen Veterans Network

“…we really felt that they understood what we wanted to accomplish. They listened to us instead of puking their process on us.”

Laura Bren, President, Deeley Insurance Group

“Loved the process – we got so much more than a new logo; helped us unite around a common mission and language.”

Travis Pearson, CEO, Endeavors

“This input helped us work better together as a team. The whole brand refresh process was a wonderful team building opportunity.”

Matthew Wolf, Vice President, Seabrook

“We never had the production value in terms of the presentation/signage – the quality was new and impressive and people really embraced it.”

Marvin Ventrell, Executive Director, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers

“Take the time to let designRoom get to know you. It is amazing that they get to the core of who you are…”

Jonathan Lee, President & CEO, Signature Health, Inc.

“They became much more like partners deeply embedded inside our business.”

Travis Mlakar, President, Millcraft Paper

Scroll To Top