The value of discovery

Recognition and learnings from a project’s discovery phase

Written by Meg & Becky
Co-Creative directors

We love a (not always linear) process at MakeGood. Following a four phase process leads us to well-informed and creatively bold ideas.

The discovery phase is one of the most important parts of our process for brand and digital projects. The perspectives and insights we discover underpin strategic and creative outcomes. Involving the team during this phase also means everyone is aligned from the start.

We often choose and tailor discovery activities to your project requirements, but here are some that we typically use and the value they have brought for past projects.

Reflecting on how the discovery phase has been most valuable for us and our clients enables us to continuously develop our approach.

1. Project kick-off

A tonne of questions that help us understand your requirements. All held within briefing questionnaires, kick-off calls, and workshop whiteboards.

Project brief

Gaining a better understanding of the project requirements
and deliverables through an initial chat and briefing questionnaires.

Meeting the team

Getting to know each other, defining key roles and how we like to work.

Objectives and project vision

We’ll review your business plan and work with you to define what success looks like.

Constraints and challenges

Defining constraints – for example budget, timescales and any challenges we foresee.

The IHRA: The value of kicking-off a project properly

When we set out to design and build the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) a new website, we knew from experience how important the project kick-off would be. Holding both a kick-off call and discovery workshop with the wider team of stakeholders at the IHRA meant we could all start from a position of mutual understanding and trust. It also helped us to quickly fine-tune what our approach to the project would be, which is sometimes hard to know until we get to know the client and how they prefer to work.

These early sessions meant we could establish who needed to be involved at what stages of the project, and how we could engage them without taking up too much of their time (because who needs another unnecessary zoom meeting right?).

Following the initial call/workshop, we met with the comms team at the IHRA more frequently (as they were charged with steering the project), but we also developed “playback” presentations that they could share with their wider team. This allowed everyone to stay updated on the project’s progress, feedback where necessary, and feel confident in how things were going without having to find time for more meetings.

By being flexible and responding to our client’s needs in this way, we got buy-in from everyone at the start. We gave them confidence in the process and in us, which resulted in a smooth project without any curveballs down the line.

See project

2. Research

Visual, verbal and external research for a full picture of where you are now and where you want to be within your landscape.

Stakeholder interviews

Understanding internal and external brand perceptions by interviewing your team, customers or partners.

User research

For digital products and websites, to better understand user behaviour, needs, and motivations.

Audience personas

Who does your brand need to speak to? We’ll review your new audience personas
from the brands you want to work with.

Messaging analysis

What are you actually saying? What language are you currently using?

Visual audit

A visual review of your current brand, communications and website. What are the pitfalls, inconsistencies and opportunities for transformation?

Competitors and inspiring brands

What can we learn from other product brands within your space? How can you stand out?

Everybody: The value of competitor research

We gathered many examples of brands within the health marketing space and beyond to instantly discover a typical agency look and feel. Although we had our own views when presenting the examples within the brand workshop, we held back for the team to unpick it more and openly share their thoughts.

We ran an exercise of analysing, scrutinising and comparing visuals captured from brand’s websites and marketing materials. Using like and dislike stickers and post-it notes, the team expressed their views on elements like brand messaging, photography, page layouts, graphic devices, fonts and colours.

The look and feel of these brands were often brash, rigid or corporate, which didn’t match Everybody’s vibe at all. Defining the specific qualities which makes Everybody different, led to our creative approach. The outcome was a unique brand which stands out in their space, one that feels humanly scientific and evokes the same feeling you’d experience when working with Everybody.

See project

3. Creative direction

Getting to know your brand personality to guide the brand concept, messaging and style.

Brand attributes & personality

Using our personality sliders and key words, we’ll define your brand’s verbal and visual personality.

Bringing brand messaging to life

Explore which aspects of your brand positioning, values, attributes and tone of voice could be translated visually.

Creative moodboards

Together we’ll collect examples of visual styling which feels appropriate for your brand or website.

Berchen: The value of defining brand personality

When working with brand strategist Rose on the rebrand of sustainable kitchen company Berchen, we facilitated a series of workshops to get to the crux of what they’re about, which led to the strategic and creative direction of their brand.

The brand personality session was fun and playful, and Rose’s questioning helped us see the brand as something with depth, character and energy.

One activity involved picturing Berchen as a person – Where are they from? What do they wear? What music do they listen to? What’s their sense of humour like?

It was the ‘live life to the max’ enthusiasm and cheekiness drawn from the workshop which inspired the brands tone of voice and visual style.

See project

Want to hear more about
our discovery process?

Contact us