We call our approach to brand development the Truffle Bay »Brandsformation Journey«. It is based on our conviction that (corporate) brands can act as a compass and catalyst in corporate transformation processes. However, this can only be achieved if the brand is developed in alignment with corporate strategy and culture and with the involvement of the organization for which it is intended to serve as a guiding light in its development.
Therefore, the »Brandsformation Journey« combines the branding and the change perspective, with the goal of developing and bringing to life brand identities that generate actual entrepreneurial »impact«. The combination of branding and change is accompanied by process communication, which explains why and with what goal the brand-driven change process is being pursued.
The basis of our »Brandsformation Journey« is the Truffle Bay »Three Pillars Model« – our fundamental framework for corporate brands, which understands strategy, culture and brand as the three pillars of corporate management – with the purpose at its core. In this conceptual corridor, we lay a resilient analytical and, above all, relevant foundation for the development of the brand identity in the first step of the »Brandformation Journey«.
In order to be able to develop a strong (corporate) brand, it is first necessary to have a profound understanding of the strategic setting and orientation of the company. After all, only when the strategic perspective is taken into account the brand can develop real relevance. Corporate culture is the second key influencing factor in the development of (corporate) brands. For successful (re)positioning, it must be known from which values and from which existing culture a company is starting into the future. This is the only way to create an authentic brand identity that matches the corporate strategy and identity and is accepted by the workforce. In addition, any gaps between strategy (the task of the company) and culture (the capablity and will of the organization) are revealed – and can be closed, if necessary, by shaping the content of the brand identity.
A positioning that is meaningful, to the point, credible, relevant and differentiating is the basis of any strong brand – as a compass for the company's decisions and actions geared to the target perception by the outside world. The purpose is defined as part of the brand identity, but ideally, as an ambitious statement of meaning and direction, it forms the central guiding idea not only for the corporate brand, but also for the strategic orientation and cultural (further) development of the company. It acts above all internally as a point of orientation and a driving force, as a central source of meaning and legitimation.
The Truffle Bay »Culture Map« is an instrument for the pragmatic analysis of corporate cultures. It is based on the »Spiral Dynamics« approach on the basis of the »Graves Values System Model«. The Culture Map uses those four of the eight color-coded Spiral Dynamics levels into which most corporate organizations can be classified – red, blue, orange and green.
In practice, companies usually have stronger and weaker characteristics in all four levels. This results in a cultural profile that is suitable for quickly and clearly identifying cultural strengths and revealing cultural development needs against the background of strategic requirements. The cultural profile provides valuable information for the formulation of the brand identity and ensures the acceptance of the new brand content by the organization through its connectedness to the actual self-image.
Every company and every corporate brand must answer four central questions. Loosely based on Simon Sinek's »Golden Circle« of »Why, How, What«, the answer to the »Why« question (Why do we exist as a company? What common, long-term goal unites and drives us?), also forms the basis of the Truffle Bay »Identity Pyramid« – it describes the »Purpose« and thus the fundamental foundation of all other identity elements.
The answer for the »What« (Who are we and what do we do to live up to our purpose?) results in the »Mission«. The question of the »How« is answered by the »Brand Personality«: What values are important to us? What attributes distinguish us? We describe these in the three dimensions of »Attitude«, »Performance« and »Style«.
As an additional, fourth element, the Truffle Bay »Identity Pyramid« also contains a »Wow« – the unique, maximally focused »Band Promise«, with the aim of generating relevance and attractiveness for external stakeholders (especially customers). The ultimate culmination serves one objective above all: the reduction of complexity in a world that has become over-complex.
The Truffle Bay »Brandsformation Journey« maps the entire complex brand development and implementation process and at the same time makes it pragmatically manageable. It combines branding and change – from »Insight« to »Identity« to »Experience« – with the ultimate goal of generating real corporate »Impact«.
The analysis at the beginning of the »Journey« is based on the dimensions of our »Three Pillars Model«. The goal is to gain clarity about the company, its strategy and goals, its culture and history, its brand(s), its environment and its concrete (transformation) challenges. Gaining »Insight« is followed by defining the brand identity (»Identity«) in the form of our »Identity Pyramid«. Here, it is a matter of simplifying and intensifying as much as possible the insights gained in the analysis on the basis of the »classic« filter criteria of relevance, credibility and differentiation potential, and additionally taking into account the special requirements for corporate brands: memorability, internal mobilization power and (implementation-oriented) actionability.
Ultimately, brands develop their power and fascination through the experiences that their stakeholders have with them. To achieve this, the identity must be translated stringently but flexibly into communications, design, behavior and processes as well as products & services and, with the involvement of the organization, must be made tangible in a consistent and attractive way at all touch points with its most important stakeholders – customers, employees and applicants, investors and partners as well as the media and the (specialist) public.
In this context, it is important for us to understand that a (re)branding process (as part of a larger transformation process) is always also a change process. This means that internal key stakeholders must be involved as early as the analysis and definition phase. Once the new brand identity has been defined, it must be communicated to the entire organization in a structured manner and integrated into everyday corporate life (processes, structures, decision-making criteria, etc.) so that it becomes the guiding principle for everyone's actions. To this end, the new identity modules must not only be understood and internalized, but ways must also be shown how they can be used in practice in order to ultimately bring about a consolidation of the new identity, also through appropriately designed instruments such as an identity-based employee assessment.
Truffle Bay is an owner-managed, integrated strategic brand consulting and design agency based in Munich. With clarity and creativity we help ambitious companies and entrepreneurs to discover, define, design and bring to life their unique identity – to create strong brands as the compass and catalyst of entrepreneurial change processes as well as attractive and differentiating brand experiences to win and retain customers and employees.
Truffle Bay is a member of bvik – Bundesverband Industrie Kommunikation e.V.