Brand Research: Defining Your Company’s Style and Personality

For the past 2 years I have collected research for what I want the sweet & charming brand to look like. I have clipped home decor, children’s, parenting, and fashion magazines, collected buttons, ribbons, paint chips, packaging, shopping bags, visited boutiques, museums, websites, tradeshows, toystores, Target, played with dollhouses, saved candy wrappers, clothing, furniture, dishes, jewelry, fabric, pictures of chandeliers, flowers, castles,…so many things! Now, all of that “exploration” is coming to a close and it is so exciting for me to see what all of this will translate to. I know what I like, just not how to execute it, so I hired a very talented creative director who built PetSmart’s brand and also designed The Great Outdoors for Sears, and Theory...some other brands like Ecco. Now she’s taking all of my research and going to help me define our style and look…I can’t wait to see how things develop for sweet & charming. I trust my creative director completely and have been working with her since January on this process. Building a brand is a huge effort, but I love the process of creating! Research is a big part of it, figuring out what your competitors are doing well, and not doing well, what you want people to feel when they come into a space or when they see your business card, packaging, etc. We just paid a lot of money for the color trends forecasting report for the next few years and it will help us with some seasonal choices as well…it amazes me that huge brands like GAP, Sherman-Williams paint, carpet companies, etc. all get these reports to help them with their reserach.. you have to stay on top of it. I think it is critical to hire people who are “on top of it” in their field so that they can help you in areas where you don’t have that expertise. Trust your instincts though, as a good friend of mine who the Marketing Director for Naartjie said, the brand’s look and feel is a gut feeling.

Today’s Magic Wand: Put some time into creating your brand. Collect photos, images, ideas for your brand…even if it’s a dentist office you can define your style!


  1. newspapergrl

    Kelly, you are wise to not only put so much effort into branding but to do market research. My friend Eric works for a market research company. They are a great company. You can have them come and present on how their software – the engine that drives much of the online research. You can assemble your own panel and poll them on different aspects of the business. Locally there’s a company called Firepoll that works with their platform.

    A blog can also be a good tool for market research. Chris Anderson, who wrote The Long Tail did that for his book. By the time it was printed it was far better because of other’s input and already had a loyal following.

    Kelly is doing this. We’re all rooting for her to succeed and will be fans (and hopefully customers) when the Sweet and Charming stores open.

  2. Great tip! 🙂 I have done a lot of competitve landscape research and research about marketing to moms and grandmas…so this is great advice, I need more of this.

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