Decoding Brand Identity with a Branding Questionnaire
Simple as it may seem, a branding questionnaire is a vital tool for implementing brand research. Learn which questions you should ask for more insightful data.
Existing in a saturated market with thousands of brands to compete with, setting your business apart is far from easy. One proven way is to create a clear brand identity.
A brand identity consists of tools and elements that represent a business created with the help of a branding design company. Think logos, fonts, and packaging designs that make up a visual identity. But it goes beyond visual. A brand identity should also reflect your brand values, unique selling points, and characteristics.
Sounds complex? Fret not because there is a nifty tool you can use to decode a business’s brand identity; a branding questionnaire.
Defining Branding Questionnaire
What's a branding questionnaire?
A branding questionnaire is one of the simplest yet most effective brand research tools used in the branding or marketing industries that help pin down how a business wants to be known.
Depending on the scope of the research, branding questionnaires aim to uncover insightful data about a business's visual identity, brand values, communication style, and personality. It is akin to putting a face to a business that the audience can relate to.
Some of the brand identity fundamentals include:
- Brand logo
- Brand typography
- Brand color palette
- Brand tagline
- Brand voice
On the other hand, the branding questionnaire lets you—as a branding expert/consultant—assess if the business is an ideal client for you based on their client information and branding direction. That said, the more comprehensive results your questionnaire produces, the better your chances of leading a brand to success.
But before we jump into creating a brand questionnaire, there are some tips and tricks that experts in marketing industries employ.
Tips to Consider When Creating A Branding Questionnaire for Client
Split Your Questions into Categories
Think of your brand identity questionnaire as an outline of a bigger story that the brand communicates. And the best way to get a structured and more compelling response is by grouping your questions into different categories, thereby avoiding confusion in the process.
For instance, start by asking questions that uncover the backstory of a brand and its founders. Then follow it up with questions that identify the goals and action plans of the brand. You can also group brand survey questions that pertain to learning about the competition and where the brand stands.
A structured questionnaire helps you to strategize efficiently, allowing you to identify problem areas in order of priority. This approach is especially crucial when dealing with a brand that has multiple sub-brands, products, or services.
Keep It Simple and Specific
An ill-designed questionnaire can create an unnerving experience for the respondent that may be similar to an interrogation. It makes them stop and think for longer than they care for, which can lead to them dropping the questionnaire altogether.
In a digital age where information is accessible in seconds, a person’s time has become a scarce commodity. So it is best to keep your questions short and easily understood.
Check out the example below.
- What is your favorite sport, and from which brand do you buy your apparel?
- What is your favorite sport?
- Which sport brand do you often buy your apparel from?
Do you see the difference? As shown above, breaking down a compound question makes it easier for respondents to process. Thus, it also allows them to think faster and be more candid with their answers.
Leverage Online Questionnaire Makers
Thanks to technological innovation, you don't have to be a whiz to turn questionnaires into shareable formats through online questionnaire makers. The best part? They integrate intuitive and beginner-friendly editing tools and a branding questionnaire template. Put simply, anyone can create questionnaires in a jiff.
Some questionnaire makers you can look into are:
While many basic features of the above-mentioned tools are free, you can subscribe to a pro membership to unlock advanced features. These advanced features include access to an unlimited number of questionnaires, templates, customization tools, survey analysis tools, multiple account users/contributor seats, and more.
9 Things to Ask Your Client In A Branding Questionnaire
To reiterate, the quality of your branding questionnaire can set the tone of your brand identity. And in the larger scheme of things, it can also affect your overall strategy.
In other words, you better ask the right branding survey questions. Below are the top 10 things you should include in your branding or rebranding questionnaire.
1. Tell us your brand story. How did your brand get started?
It is easy to dismiss a brand as a random company name in a bid to look cool or grab attention. But behind every brand is a person or group of people with an interesting story to tell, detailing why they are bringing such solutions to life.
These stories help customers look at businesses as if they are buying from a friend or someone they can relate with. It can even inspire and motivate them, ultimately giving them support and fostering customer loyalty.
Some of the infamous companies with interesting brand stories come from the tech sector, like Apple, Amazon, and Google. The founders were simple dreamers with only a garage and a huge idea to work on. Aside from making innovative tech accessible, they have become an inspiration to millions of people across the globe. Consequently, their brand stories have become key to strengthening their brand image.
2. How do you want your brand to impact your consumers?
Before establishing a brand, it is vital to get into the heart of the business. Aside from knowing how the brand started, ask why it exists. What deeper purpose do they serve? What kind of impact does the brand want to leave among its consumers?
These questions can be broken down by determining:
- A brand’s overarching mission and goals
- Brand message
A brand mission pertains to the role it wishes to play and to be known for in the long run, while the goals refer to a set of milestones it needs to reach to fulfill the mission. Take TED, a nonprofit, that made its mission to “spread ideas.“ To do so, among its goals is to create a strong presence online and offline and build idea-sharing communities across the globe.
A brand message is a statement that encompasses what the brand stands for or its reason for existence. In the case of TED, its brand message is 'Ideas worth spreading.' The brand message emphasizes TED’s commitment to bringing information and knowledge from thought leaders that are too good to miss out on.
3. Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
When starting a business, knowing your target market is quite elementary. But some business leaders find themselves stumped when answering this question. You will likely hear generic answers like, “Anyone who can afford our products/services.” It shows how much knowledge a business has about its target audience.
How they respond to this question is a prime indicator of how much work you need to do on the branding side. Learning a brand’s ideal customer then helps branding experts gauge if the business’s efforts align with their goals and strategize the best customer communications methods. It also determines which problems or challenges related to creating a solid brand identity need priority and where to direct resources.
4. Who do you think are your top three competitors, and why?
Another test of a business’s knowledge of its market is asking who they think its competitors are. It is crucial that the business differentiates between its direct competitors and indirect competitors. The former refers to brands that sell similar products/services at similar price points, are seen to have the same brand value, and target the same audience.
A homemade ice cream startup, Lola’s Gelato, is not a direct competitor of premium ice cream giant Baskin Robbins. For starters, the latter’s reach is far more expansive than that of a startup. Baskin Robbins is in direct competition with Cold Stone and Haagen Dazs, to name a few. You get the idea.
Narrowing down the competitors also gives a glimpse of what the brand aspires to achieve. It can determine gaps the business can fulfill by developing its products and marketing strategy.
5. Why should consumers choose or trust your brand over others?
This question may lead you down a rabbit hole, considering the factors in building awareness and consumer trust. Differences among brands may also be very nuanced, especially when it comes to commodities.
However, the client should be able to identify what attracts its consumers and how the client’s business varies from its competitors. Start by zeroing in on their target market, what brand element connects to its audience, and their strengths and weaknesses versus other brands offering the same products and services.
The response should give you the Unique Selling Proposition or USP of the client's brand. A USP is vital to branding as it can help brand and marketing teams create and communicate a clear, memorable, and powerful message.
6. Do you have an existing brand guideline? If not, do you have a list of must-haves?
A branding guideline or a brand design guide is a set of visual communication rules that help a business effectively convey its brand identity. It contains logos, font types, color schemes, photography guidelines, and more. In addition, a brand guideline explains the reasons behind these design elements.
A brand guideline answers questions like:
- What is the significance of the logo design?
- Why choose green over blue? Sans serif or serif font?
- What should be included in the images or illustrations on all communication materials?
If you are working with a startup, get a good grasp of the brand personality and image they want to evoke from the get-go. In the case of businesses with existing brand guidelines, identify what worked and what didn’t in the past. It also helps to narrow down their customer communication goals.
Note that iterating a brand guideline doesn’t always mean a complete overhaul. Try not to alienate the brand’s existing loyal customers by including elements that make it still familiar or identifiable.
7. Can you describe your brand if it were a person?
What if a business is a person? What would it look like? How would it talk, dress, and think?
A brand persona is the personification of a business. It is a sub-element of brand identity where the brand’s personality—the tone, voice, and overall character—takes its human representation that your audience can relate to. Whatever a business’s brand persona is, it must align with its buyer persona. Like a brand persona, a buyer persona is the human form of your target audience that embodies a set of psychographics—desires, personality, lifestyle, etc.
Finally, authenticity should be at the core of a brand persona. In a world filled with celebrity- and micro-influencers, consumers are becoming more skeptical of brand reviews and recommendations. That said, ensure that your branding efforts treat your audience with respect (i.e. avoid manipulating your audience.)
8. What are the top three challenges of your brand that needs addressing?
A business can find itself in a pickle as different challenges arise. It is crucial to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all branding strategy.
For instance, a brand strategy evolves and can take multiple shapes as the business grows and customer behavior change. Various channels are being introduced, whether online or offline, and a business needs to adapt.
That said, entrepreneurs and managers should have a clear grasp of their priorities according to their goals and overarching mission. A brand audit or assessment is also in order, evaluating past strategies to know which worked and which didn’t. Doing so not only minimizes risks but also optimizes results.
9. What is your budget?
It's time to address the elephant in the room; the branding budget. While resourcefulness can go a long way, especially for businesses on a shoestring budget, there needs to have a deep understanding of what it entails to have a successful branding and marketing strategy.
Begin by looking into past branding and marketing expenses of the business and determine the ROI or return on investment on each. This gives you and your client an idea of how much it would take to achieve results.
You can customize your brand questionnaires according to your needs as a branding expert, but the above questions should give you a good start. Keep in mind that the end goal is to have a clearer picture of a business’s brand identity and direction.
Related Posts: Website Questionnaire
Memorable Brand Identity Examples Done Right
The importance of having an effective branding questionnaire cannot be stressed enough. It is a vital tool that can spark ideas and generate innovative branding and marketing solutions. It enables a business to come up with a strong brand identity that they can build on as they grow, and if lucky, surpass the test of time.
Let’s look into some of the notable brand identity examples to inspire you.
Water is probably the most basic drink out there that doesn’t really excite anyone, branding-wise. At the end of the day, as long as you’re drinking clean water, who cares which brand you buy, right?
Well, Liquid Death, a “funny water company that hates corporate marketing” as stated on its website, is changing that narrative. After his brush with rock band performers, founder Mike Cessario realized that contrary to the belief that they drink booze and energy drinks that sponsor them during their gigs, they actually chug on a plain bottle of water.
Toying with the idea of a heavy metal and punk rock-designed water, Mike launched canned water Liquid Death. Fast forward to 2022, Liquid Death has established itself as the go-to water for hard rock and punk rock performers, fans, and other partygoers. Its unorthodox brand identity is reflected through its logo, packaging, ads, and social media pages, breaking conventional water brands like Aquafina, Dasani, and Nestle Pure Life.
Who knew that drinking good ol’ water in a can looks badass? Moreover, the brand’s choice of using recyclable cans definitely added to its brand appeal as consumers nowadays gear toward businesses that support social and environmental causes. Liquid Death has grown its presence and is sold in more than 20,000 locations in the United States.
When you see Burt’s Bees, many familiar with the brand instantly associate it with earth-friendly and organic lip balms and skincare goodness. Those new to Burt's Bees can easily allude to the idea of the brand selling honey and beeswax-related products with just one look at its classic logo. It shows the face of the beekeeper and Burt’s Bees founder with two buzzing bees, to boot.
Launched in the late ‘80s, the brand wanted to bring all-organic products to the market. Burt's Bees' consistency in its story of how it started as communicated by its visual identity and other marketing efforts has left a mark in the minds of many.
On the creative side of things, the brand’s visual preferences of using calming yellow and fiery red balance each other, effectively elevating product packages and labels. Images and illustrations center around nature, and the brand also leverages user-generated content or UGC from everyday people. Finally, Burt’s Bees commits to bringing consciously-made products to the market by sourcing its products responsibly and using recyclable packaging.
Omsom is a new player in the food industry, founded by two Vietnamese sisters who want to serve Asian favorites from East and Southeast Asia. Using the Vietnamese expression—Omsom— uttered when parents scold their unruly children, the brand breaks from traditional Asian cooking that takes hours to prepare by offering ready-to-use sauces to perfect your dishes in minutes. What’s more, the sauces are preservative-free, gluten-free, and all-around healthy!
Want to eat Filipino sisig? Add an Omsom sauce to your stir-fried pork bits, and it's ready for chow time. Craving for Vietnamese lemon grass bbq dinner? They have the sauce for that, too!
Omsom's loud and playful brand attributes inspired by its founders' love for challenging the norm are reflected well in its brand identity. From the fiery logo and packaging to its interactive website that also provides recipes buyers can follow. Omsom leveraged storytelling through social media, with the sisters posting updates about the brand’s struggles, growth, and milestones.
While still a newcomer, what started as a subscription-based company two years ago has hit top grocery stores across the United States.
We hope that we were able to demystify the role of a branding questionnaire in your brand research, and—more importantly—in your future branding strategy. To recap, a branding questionnaire pins down the fundamentals of a brand, from its brand vision and brand identity to the brand’s values and brand message.
Unsure of how to design and execute a branding questionnaire? Get expert help from digital branding agency Ramotion.
Updated: May 30, 2023