The Forge brand Process
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Discover Who You Are
FORGE’s branding model helps identify that unique quality that makes your organization you, that special thing that sets your organization apart from the rest, the differentiator that clients and customers come to rely on you for and what becomes the touchtone for your relationship with them. We like to think of this process as discovering who you are within the context of what you do.

After identifying WHO your brand is, the process of branding becomes the everyday discipline of bringing your words and actions into alignment with that brand and what it stands for.  In this way, you put in place a structure for ongoing focus and drive toward creating greater brand experiences and brand-building communications.

Graphically, the process looks like this…
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The Brand Story
Yesterday’s brands were built on research findings that reported what the marketplace wanted.  As a result, brands were not authentic, believable or sustainable.

FORGE brands integrate marketplace understanding with an inside-out perspective that strategically reflects the passion of the organization’s vision for what it can be.  At the core is a brand story that engages audiences in what’s meaningful about their relationship with you.

At the heart of every great brand is a great story

All great brands stake claim to a tightly focused story of who they are and what they stand for.  

Apple is the revolutionary in technology – no matter what product or service they take on.  
Nike is the determined warrior committed to turning its everyday customers into athletes.  
And, the American Red Cross is the faithful hero always there in our moment of greatest need.

While most brand models yield organizational qualities, activities and attributes to define the brand, FORGE’s model reveals the unique story that defines the value of the relationship.  To get at the core of who you are we use an Archetypal Brand Model to uncover the compelling story of the passion and potential of the organization. Because archetypal brand stories include the purpose, personality and values of an organization, they work harder and deliver greater results.

Archetypal brands deliver 97% higher market value than non-archetypal brands*

Using an archetypal brand story, we establish the first and most primary tool for aligning your actions and words going forward.  Your great brand story will direct innovative organizational strategy, inspire engaging communications and build a strong, committed organizational culture.  It will engage, inspire and spark action.

* Study performed by Young & Rubicam Worldwide and reported in the book The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes
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Telling Your Story
An engaging and meaningful brand story is the most powerful tool for creating communications that have impact.  It sets the bar high, guides your efforts to reach the bar, and provides you with the criteria you need to assess your efforts.

The purpose, personality and values of your brand story are told through the messages, words, graphics, symbols, colors, etc. that make up your communications.  Careful and strategic thought to leveraging them to tell your story will, over time, develop a Brand Voice that engages and a Brand Look that is recognizable and stands out from the clutter.

Purpose – Create Meaningful Engagement
A great brand story becomes the primary organizational message and provides a meaningful context for secondary and tactical messages.  It articulates the value you deliver to your audiences and guides the crafting of brand building messages. It ensures that audiences understand why what you do is important and matters to them.

Personality – Be true to who you are
Communicating through the organizational personality not only shows audiences more about who you are, but gives you the chance to engage beyond reason – touching their passion, energy and inspiration.  If you’re tough, be tough.  If you’re compassionate, be compassionate. If your quirkiness is part of your charm, be quirky.  Using the brand personality as a guide to colors, fonts, language and visuals will engage your audiences in your story.

Values – Authenticity is Essential
More and more, the values of the organization and the people representing it play a role in the marketplace’s decision making.  Talking about your values doesn’t make them true.  Representing them through your attitude and actions will demonstrate what you believe in. This is true in all media, with social media providing the greatest range of values expression.

Using these story-telling principles throughout all your communications – advertising, speeches, press releases, website, social media, collateral, displays and more – will create alignment of your brand story through all audience touchpoints and strengthen your brand at every opportunity.
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Living Your Brand
Today’s great organizations not only tell their stories – they live them.  They integrate brand purpose and values into their planning to yield the products, services, customer service, delivery mechanisms, pricing and relationships that create brand building — and success building — experiences.

Just as easily, living a story that is inconsistent with the story you are telling can be very damaging.  Just ask BP what happens when your communications tout one set of values while your operations live by another.
Your brand story is a great tool for challenging your thinking and improving your performance.  If your story has you playing the leadership role, ask yourselves if you’re really the leader. Are you the leader in all aspects of your service and delivery?  If not, how can you be?  And, take the steps needed to move into a stronger leadership role.

Living your story is the next phase of branding for most organizations.  It goes beyond your words and engages organization-wide action.  It involves integrating your brand and what it stands for internally and externally.  It is the discipline of keeping your brand meaning in your sights and ensuring that all your actions – not just your words – reflect its power.
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Bringing It All Together
The great brands of our day create great brand-building experiences and communications through a mature brand culture.  When your people know and live your brand, the products/services, communications and experiences they produce build your brand and its value.
Apple’s $183 billion in brand equity is a stunning example of what can be achieved when an organization is comprehensively focused on its brand story and purpose – technology revolution.  The premium you pay for Nike products is a result of their delivery against a brand story to turn everyday people into athletes.  And Zappos’ “wow” service, lived by its employees every single day, keeps it customers coming back over and over again.

Nonprofits and membership organizations can grow even more meaningful brands because they have an inherent meaningful purpose beyond revenue building. Solid brand building discipline can achieve these same results for them.  The Red Cross lives and communicates its mission to come to the rescue of people in need.  AARP has made great strides in strengthening its brand as the advocate and supporter of people in the second half of their lives.

A great brand story remains the focal point of all great brand organizations. Fully leveraging the power of your brand story throughout the organization is one of the most effective ways to  transform your organization, your reputation and your success.
Case Studies & Detailed Client Samples
Full Branding Campaign
Mountain State Spirits
Brand identity, packaging, and website for a new class of American cordial, Bourbon Ratafias.
Full Branding Campaign
ZwillGen
Forge built a brand that represents ZwillGen's solid legal foundation and its progressive bussiness approach that breaks outside homogenized law firm branding.
Illustration Series
Sundance Poster Series
Pete Beebe of Forge creates an annual poster to support one of the oldest Lakota Sundance ceremonies in existence. The poster has been produced at no cost for 18 years.
Full Branding Campaign
Barrett Academy
Full branding package for the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values, an international think tank focussed on the evolution of human consciousness.
Full Branding Campaign
Old Growth Heritage
FORGE built a brand for the generational wood worker, Ryan Brady, who brings his rare experience of growing up in his father's old-growth saw mill to every project.
Branding, Design &Promotions
Brand Symbols + More
Your Brand is the Comprehensive Marketplace Understanding of Who You Are and What You Stand For. Your name, logo and tagline are a symbols of your brand.
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