How to create a new name, B2B brand identity & service offer

When drafting this article I thought it would be more helpful for you if I described the process we went through to develop the new name, brand identity and service offer for StrawberryFinch. As I can share more with you because we are not talking about a confidential client project.


Man walking in a subway to a meeting about branding a company

Work backwards from your market

When developing a new name for a company or brand, you have to think and work backwards from your target market. What are your ideal clients or customers like? What is your specific value proposition for your particular market segment? What advantages do you offer them when they chose to work with you? What emotional benefits will they enjoy?


The stages in the process

You need to go through the following stages to develop a cohesive proposition.

  1. Value proposition design

  2. Story design and experience design

  3. Name and strap line development

  4. Brand identity design

  5. Communicating

Value proposition design

I know for instance, that our best clients are medium sized companies who have an entrepreneurial spirit and ambitious to grow, who operate in B2B markets with a lot of competition but little differentiation - apart from price. They’re grappling with big shifts in the way that their clients search out and buy from them. They need to dramatically improve their digital marketing and communications. Also they need to redefine their clients’ experience and to reorganise themselves around what they say their brand is promising to deliver. They need specialist skills and support from people like us who understand them and where they need to go. But they do not have the time or resources to recruit and support a full time team at a challenging time.

Story design and experience design

How you present your value proposition or ‘brand promise’ by telling your story will determine whether you will be successful or not. How will your clients or customers experience your products or services? How do you want them to feel? What will make them loyal?


I looked at websites by other design, marketing and branding agencies to see how they were communicating their offers. I have also worked with different agencies over the years and pulled on this personal experience. For me poor communication has most often been the biggest issue that has affected how I felt about a particular company or person.


What are you going to be and where are you going to work?

I thought about whether we were going to be a team, a group or a collective and to describe how and where we worked - in an agency or a studio - or as the French would call it, an atelier.

Name and strap line development

It is very easy to waste time listing hundreds of possible names. So prepare an early draft of your value proposition and a create a list of categories for possible names. This will act as a framework and will speed up the naming process and shorten the cycle for the development of your strap line.

Categories for possible names

These are the categories we used for StrawberryFinch. Yours will be different.


1. Bird names

I like birds and admired the advertising agency from the 1980s named after the Yellowhammer finch and remember flying to Toronto with them on a joint pitch to a prospective client. However, the domain names of the British birds names I wanted were already taken.


2. Brave

Entrepreneurs have to be confident and to be leaders, not followers. I liked the words 'brave' and ‘fearless’, especially since I was setting up in the middle of a global pandemic. However fearless.co.uk was not available and so I would have had to go with BeFearless.agency or thefearless.studio.


I could have put the word branding in the domain name, fearless-branding.co.uk. This was as close as I got to coming up with a name that describes what we do, but I did not want to fall into the ‘Carphone Warehouse’ trap. Also, it was too long and had a hyphen in it which makes it difficult to remember.


3. Craig Thatcher

It would have been easy to stick with my name, Craig Thatcher as I already own craigthatcher.co.uk. However, this venture was never going to just be about me, so I felt that its should have its own name. Also, Nic Cornwall made a good point when he said to me that “if you call it Craig Thatcher nobody will ever ask why you named it after yourself”. With an intriguing name, you have the opportunity to conjure up something new and completely different.


4. Character

I tried to find a single word containing the same letters as Craig Thatcher and ‘Character’ contains 9 of the 13 letters. I could see a good story around the word and about it being unique, which is essential in branding terms, but only 13 out of 13 would have been good enough to make this one work.


5. Harmony

I really liked the concept of working in harmony with clients and like-minded creative professionals and was attracted by the word ‘Together’, but the co.uk domain was taken and ‘Altogether’ was second best. Harmony reminded me of a dating website.


6. Coat hanger

There is something special about an everyday word that appears in an unexpected place and taken out of context. It makes you stop and think. So for a while I though about the two words 'coat hanger'. For those who know me, you’ll understand why this even a category. Although I did discount it quickly.

Top Level Domains (TLDs)

As you know, it is difficult to find a domain name that has not already been taken and so new TLDs has helped ease the situation. .marketing, .design and .agency were just three of the TLDs I looked at.


The fourth was .one as I liked the idea of the.one, only.one or become.one. This is why many companies make up completely new names or combine words so they can register the domain names. But I thought it sounded a bit cheesy.

The shortlist of possible names

Once you have made a long list, it is easy to discount the names you don’t like and leave the ones you do until last. I got very close to ‘fearless’ and dropped the rest for the reasons already mentioned.

Why the name StrawberryFinch?

During a stage in the process I decided to put two words together that you would not expect to see and made up StrawberryFinch. I also practiced saying out loud ‘my name is Craig Thatcher from StrawberryFinch’, to hear how it sounded back to me and how it made me feel. Also the www.strawberryfinch.co.uk domain name was available.


I decided on this name because of my deep knowledge of branding and lifelong interest in the naturalist, Charles Darwin. I maintain that there is a strong parallel between the survival of Darwin's fittest finches in the Galapagos Islands and modern day brands adapting to challenging business ecosystems in order to thrive.


StrawberryFinch is also a name that takes the familiar into a new space. Creating a strong visual image, evocative with colour, fragrance and possibilities. Yes, it is also a real bird.

Developing a strap line

When you have a name that is not descriptive of what you do then a strap line is a very good way of achieving this. I thought about a strap line that describes what we are and what we do but that is a lot to get in three or four words. So I began by writing down a list of alternatives as follows;


We are a creative branding agency. We are your virtual creative studio. We are a group of brand builders and storytellers. We make brands stronger and more successful.


Then I matched them back to the idea about finches and Darwin and his theory of evolution which is all about the survival of the fittest species. This is particularly relevant nowadays when everyone is having to adapt to a rapidly changing business ecosystem.


So I decided on the strap line - makes brands stronger & fitter


Brand identity design

My brief to my designer, Marios Flourentzou was to develop a simple brand identity that was flexible and could work across lots of different types of media and applications. Initially we looked at the word marque, StrawberryFinch and then at the bird logo. You can download our initial presentation document.


Identity presentation
.pdf
Download PDF • 995KB




StrawberryFinch logo used to brand a new company



Origami bird logo

We decided to simplify an origami bird to represent a finch so this could be used where there is little space, eg as a favicon.


StrawberryFinch logo bird







Short, simple animation

I have used a very short and simple animation to combine the name or word marque with the origami bird logo and the strap line. This GIF can be used as a standalone item on a web page, at the start of a keynote presentation or when converted to an m4v file, it can be used as an intro and outro to a video clip or film.

Simple StraweberryFinch logo animation

Nunito Sans font

I explored lots of alternative fonts and eventually chose the Google font Nunito Sans because it is a sans serif typeface, looks contemporary, and uses space efficiently. Which means that I can use a line spacing of 1 as opposed to 1.3 and body copy is still easy to read. As a Google font, it works digitally and in print and because there are 14 different weights in the family there is plenty of scope.

Nunito Sans font in various weights used to brand a new company

Lulo Clean One Bold font

This is the second font we use on the website for key headings as it pairs well with Nunito Sans.


Lulo Clean One Bold font used in headings

Colour palette

We selected eight colours for our palette giving a contemporary look, feel and flexibility, with the two colours at the far right forming the primary colours as can be seen in the image below.


Corporate colour used to brand new company

Combining the main image and simple text animation


Main image for StrawberryFinch showing feathers

This simple animation works well. You can see that I have flipped the image so that it is easier to read the words on the darker background.


Simple GIF using StrawberryFinch new identity

Supporting imagery

The variety of images that I use is varied and depends on what, when and where I'm trying to communicate. The ten selected below form part of the self-playing presentation you can see further down this page.


Tone of voice

We have an informal tone of voice for copy on our website, in our written proposals and reports. I write as if I’m speaking to a single person, put them centre stage and go from there.


Communicating

We have designed a suite of business stationery including email signature, proposal documents, keynote presentation and slide deck templates as well as a range of other items to help communicate in our wonderful, multi-media world.


Sound design

Nowadays brands have to communicate across audio channels. To communicating their identity and key messages they need a sound logo, distinct sound elements and a music theme to support the overall tone of voice of the brand. So I am creating a suite of sounds, that can be used in podcasts and for other recordings. One possible sound could be the word StrawberryFinch spoken and turned into a series of notes by clarallel.com and you can see the score here. This is no substitute for having sounds and a soundscape designed professionally but was fun.


Musical stave with notes spelling out StrawberryFinch

I have also converted the song of a Strawberry Finch into a sound file and use it as a ring tone on my phone.


The Strawberryfinch soundtrack

I searched a number of libraries for a soundtrack that would express the StrawberryFinch personality. It had to be upbeat and inspiring, but not too overpowering when used as part of a presentation of with animation or graphics. The track is called Baby Bird and was written by Chelsea McGough, performed and produced by Marie.


You can hear it on the home page.