By Hannah Allozi and Brandon Alvarado
How Surface Resources created an identity with architects, designers and contractors
There’s an art to branding. This is especially true for B2B marketers in the building products and manufacturing segments. With the building materials buyers being a finite target base, companies need to be tuned in to what their brand means to their audiences and how they differentiate from competitors.
Additionally, competition in the building materials segment has gotten more intense through the business shift brought on by a pandemic. The specification sales process has moved from face-to-face meetings to more online communications and the need for a sharp, differentiated value proposition has become more valuable than ever.
Establishing a brand identity is paramount to developing a marketing approach that differentiates from the competitor brands. We start with understanding a client’s business model, channel strategy, target audience segment, industry headwinds, competitive set and product suite.
Our brand development process follows three core steps designed to differentiate and elevate.
Recently we had an opportunity to partner with Surface Resources to take their brand to a new level, while also being mindful of their status and budget as a small business.
Here’s how we did it:
We want to discover together what sets your brand apart from others, especially legacy brands that are more established in the market. We want to know what inspires you. What motivates you? Do you know how to connect with your customers/audience? Where do you want to take your brand? What do you dream about your brand becoming? How do we break through and provoke forward-thinking realities? Our goal is simplistic but it drives idea generation.
Surface Resources - Differentiation:
We worked closely with Surface Resources to learn their business, core audience segments and their core values.
Through our discovery process, we identified three differentiators:
- A portfolio of flooring and tile brands with clear sustainability differentiators.
- Price points for every project.
- Material availability competitors can’t offer.
This high-level work took place before a single logo was concepted or marketing piece was designed. It led to both Point To Point and Surface Resources having a clear vision for the direction of the brand and a mutual foundation on the approach.
- ID Creation
We want our clients to “feel” the work, to see their brand come to life in ways that exceeds their expectations. This work isn’t done with a single PowerPoint presentation—logo creation is iterative, usually starting with more raw expressions and then evolving into more granular, detailed refinement.
Starting first with fast sketches and quick idea generation, then moving the concepts we feel strongly about into digital exploration, we’ll pour over the typesetting and only then move on to the logo itself. From there, we self-edit and evaluate which ones are truly “working” and differentiated enough to put in front of the client.
Surface Resources - ID Creation: We knew the visual representation had to reflect the essence of the brand. For example, when designing the new Surface Resources logo we wanted to explore making the ID a visual descriptor for the brand product offering.
We landed on a logo that creates the illusion that the word “Surface” is actually emerging from a surface, by the way its baseline is breaking a plane. After a logo is selected, we’re then able to move into additional foundational creative elements.
- Messaging + Visual Branding
While a new logo is certainly a very important element of a rebrand, it doesn’t tell a complete story. Just as important as the logo, are the things that surround it. It involves messaging, imagery and color and texture—all working together to reinforce and establish a brand's visual and verbal identity.
Defining these very key components via mood boards and message maps, allows us to have a blueprint for the brand expression and the ability to move into the creation of outward-facing marketing materials with a clear idea of how it will look and sound.
Surface Resources - Messaging + Visual Branding: Surface Resources now conveys the high-end sophistication of the brands that they represent. And with the tools from the previous branding phases, we’re able to establish a new website, sampling experience and marketing collateral. The Surface Resource brand is ready to be launched.
With these foundational brand materials completed, there’s now a clear benchmark for the creation of future materials and a destination to drive the audience using a cohesive story that leaves a lasting impression.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on building brand identity or let us know if you want to talk further about our process.
Thanks to Art Director, Brandon Alvarado, for his contributions to this blog.