Brand Development: How we work & why it works for you

The Rockfish Group uses brand development methodology to build compelling brands for clients as diverse as skateboard manufacturers and surgeons.

Although each client is different, as are our solutions, we’d like to offer a peek inside our process.

Our methodical approach combines experience, creativity, and solid measures to ensure you get results that will work. We can guide you to identify which lines of business will provide the best opportunities for future growth, to craft effective marketing and PR strategies to create that growth, and give you the tools you’ll need to apply these strategies efficiently and economically.

Phase I: Branding Workshop

We meet with you and selected stakeholders to clearly define your brand and your strongest position in the marketplace. This is where we learn more about your organization and industry; this is where you learn more about how to better position your strengths for growth. In this facilitated session, we will identify your key target audiences, clarify perceptions of your current brand identity, current market position, customer decision-making influencers, and more. By the end of this session, we will combine your specifics with our expertise to offer you recommendations on direction. We will do this in a confidential summary report of our findings.

Phase II: Market Research

With your insight and our expertise, we validate your brand perceptions using market research. It’s human nature to believe that what we perceive is what others perceive—and that’s rarely true. We need to confirm the real perceptions of your brand today. We will learn from your customers—using surveys or one-on-one interviews or both—and compile results into a second report. This is the phase in which we also evaluate key competitors’ brand positioning to ensure your brand platform is distinctive. This will also be in that confidential report.

Phase III: Creative Solutions

Once internal and external research is complete, we summarize our findings in a creative brief for your approval. When finalized, our creative design and messaging teams go to work. We prepare a minimum of three different creative directions for you to evaluate – including theme, messaging, logos, color schemes, imagery, photography, and more. We deliver these approaches for your review. If you wish, we can market-test the various creative approaches to secure external perspective, and present results to you. Whichever path you choose, you are the final decision-maker in choosing the messaging and visual identity that is right for your company, and for its future.

Phase IV: Implementation of On-Brand Marketing Communications

After you’ve selected your creative direction, we deliver a brand visual identity and messaging guide to facilitate brand roll-out in all your communications materials, internal and external, print or online, locally or internationally. We can collaborate with you to prioritize implementation of your brand in your corporate communications, deliver brand-compliant designs for various vehicles, or take on creation of any or all of your communications materials. We have the bench strength to fill a little or all of your brand implementation needs.


Too many businesses still think that marketing means buying more ads. In the newspaper, in magazines, in a trade journal—sadly, more marketing dollars are flushed down the proverbial drain for lack of understanding of true marketing, and it’s inherent value to the success of any organization.

Marketing requires specific strategies driven by a desire to attract and retain specific customers over time. It only then drives decisions about which tactics will achieve those strategies—and that may or may not include print ads. Strategies plus target customers drive those decisions, which is why it pays to have a knowledgeable partner in figuring out just which strategies will maximize results.

To help our clients—and potential clients—better understand how to maximize brand and create successful marketing strategies, we offer the following tutorial:


Your brand is the centrifugal center of how you approach your world. It is a unique collection of messages—taglines, slogans—and visual identity components—logos, colors, fonts, imagery—that convey the essence of your company to the marketplace. A strong brand can create a powerful connection between you and your customers, employees, and other key stakeholders. Think of Federal Express: “On time, every time, no matter what.” It’s a brand that is instantly recognizable, and succinctly conveys the essence of the FedEx promise, its unique sales position.

Developing a brand is far more than a creative exercise. Most of the work is analytical in nature, a disciplined approach to research and analysis, followed by structured management and implementation.

In today’s crowded landscape, a strong brand cuts through noise and clutter and delivers a clear picture of who you are and what you do.

When we begin our branding work with clients, we ask core questions, such as:

What is your business?

This doesn’t seek a cocktail-party response; we’re looking for the underlying business proposition, not the laundry list of activities and outreach.

Tell me what you do and why that matters to your target audience in no more than two sentences. This strips away the jargon and the corporate speak to identify what matters to the customer.

Does your current marketing and PR match your brand?

Surprisingly, many businesses are so focused on the day-to-day or internal pressures that they are uncertain whether these items match. Find someone who might be a customer but isn’t and ask this: “Please look at our current marketing materials. Would you consider using our product/service? If not, why not?” Don’t explain or share more—let the materials do the work for you.

Look at your logo, color palette, messages: Are these consistent and mutually supportive?

Finally, are you confident your brand matches your business’ direction and goals, or is it time for a brand facelift?


Once we begin the branding facelift, we always measure our recommendations against six factors:

  1. Is it memorable?
  2. Is it honest?
  3. Does it show utility?
    (I don’t know what this means, so likely nobody else will!)
  4. Does it solve a problem or fill a real need?
  5. Does it match how customers describe your products or services?
  6. Is it easily communicated across multiple platforms?
    (print, online, apparel, billboards)
Ultimately, the best brands are simple—think Nike or Apple.

Once we’ve identified your best brand, we craft the story. This is the back story, if you will, that connects the personality of your organization and the people who lead it with the customers you want to attract. This is your story; it becomes the tale that tells it all—and shapes your future. And we will help you tell it to as many people who will listen.

Not everyone will. But then, not everyone is your customer or prospective customer.

One very important activity that we will coach you through is identifying those you do not want to do business with. This is one of the hardest exercises for many business owners, but it is a critical one. Doing business with the wrong clients cheats you by misusing your time and talents. And they can suck the life out of your business.

If you’re not sure that your brand is working for you—that it is driving your business forward—give The Rockfish Group a call. Our first consultation costs you nothing; not calling could cost you much more.

Ready to get started on your brand?

Drop us a line at (360) 930-9892 or