Don't skip the discovery phase.

For any brand looking to take their marketing efforts to the next level, it’s natural to look directly to the messaging and creative work that audiences will see. After all, the best way to make an impact on brand awareness or sales is to start as soon as possible and push the right message. Take a step back, however, and we’ll find that the media marketplace is littered with brands that don’t seem to have a clear idea of who they’re addressing or are unsure of how to convey their identity. Brands with a staked-out identity and a roadmap of the tone they want to use will still need time to analyze the competitor landscape and define what a specific campaign will need to accomplish in order to be successful. Matchbook has partnered with dozens of brands throughout our history, and we’ve found that a discovery phase is the perfect way to begin a relationship. See some of the ways in which this phase informs a marketing strategy and sets campaigns up for success.

Gain a better understanding of the category or industry, and where your brand fits in it.

Beginning a discovery phase often involves a series of in-depth discussions about the space your brand occupies within the marketplace. For brands, this gives a chance to take another look at their category from an outsider’s perspective and perhaps awaken new insights. For a marketing partner, this part of the process provides a firm foundation for much of the research process. When researching a category, taking partner insights into account is vital to making sure any strategic recommendations later down the line will be made with full knowledge of what’s most likely to work. Messaging can be tricky without a foundation of research – having the fullest picture possible means a better end product.

Spark the conversation about unique challenges and objectives.

Beyond exploring more about the category, a brand discovery phase allows a marketing partner to do a deep dive into unique factors that face your brand on a daily basis. By familiarizing themselves with a brand’s short-term and long-term goals, as well as the challenges they’re faced with (whether by competitors, resources or the media landscape), marketing partners can get a more complete picture of what to consider when considering specific tactics later on. Again, this phase allows for conversation forming a foundation to base future actions on. Additionally, this discussion eventually leads to deeper insights. By knowing the struggles and perspective held by a brand, marketing partners can better uncover the core beliefs and attitudes held by a brand. Throughout our brand discovery exercises, Matchbook distills these insights and holds them close throughout the creative process.

Sound out early ideas and directions, to move forward to next steps confidently.

After all of the elements of a brand discovery phase have played out, setting out a clear roadmap of the rest of the relationship becomes easy. Honing in on research topics, determining the audiences a brand needs to reach, finding the platforms their messaging will be most relevant on – all of these are put in place by the natural progression of a brand discovery phase. For Matchbook, after taking on these steps and building creative concepts and deliverables, we feel confident that where we’re going is the right direction. The brand discovery process allows us to look back at every phase of the project and see exactly how we got there, and why, and where we’ve gone from there, all the way up to the present moment in time. Making or defending a creative decision becomes easier when there’s a clear through line of thought to reference, and when that through line is a thorough understanding of a brand, we can create the best work possible to fulfill objectives and capture attention.