The BranWorks Playbook

 

Playbooks are designed to equip teams with a plan for every situation, putting them in the best position of success.

This is our playbook. Originally approached as an internal-facing document for our team to reference, we wanted to share this with our clients, partners, staff and community, to give a transparent view into who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

This is our purpose, our process, and our passion. And there’s a lot here. Just like a team needs a play for every down and distance, we need a plan for our process and purpose. Through transparency and authenticity, we’re able to define our daily routines and workflows and confidently communicate what we do best and what drives us, both as individuals and as a collective unit.

Who We Are (Our Manifesto)

BranWorks is a team of thinkers, designers, developers, managers, writers, and strategists. We craft purposeful, passionate brands, add WOW at every step along the way and offer solutions for a multitude of brand-related challenges.

  • We believe every brand could have a compelling story that deserves to be told.
  • We understand that brands are bigger than the sum of their parts – aesthetics, functionality, content, and imagery. They all work hand-in-hand and every element should include the WOW Factor.
  • We work collaboratively. Our creative expertise pairs best with our client’s input, expertise, and overall investment.
  • We would rather be challenged with innovation and exploration than model a project after something that already exists.
  • We’re honest and direct. We expect nothing less from our clients and partners.
  • We create brands that are intended for people – not for numbers, search engines, markets, or metrics. While the latter are important, the most critical element we seek to understand are the people our clients serve.
  • Every project we take on is useful and good for the world.
  • We believe simple is always better.
  • We only work on projects we believe can succeed.
  • We go all-in on every project. We expect an equal level on investment from those who choose to work with us.

Project Qualification & Kickoff

Initial Inquiry

New projects begin when you fill out our inquiry form, you give us a call, or we grab coffee and chat about what you’re looking to do and how we can best work together. Upon reviewing your inquiry, our team follows up with questions and comments that help us further distill your project, its goals, needed deliverables, and desired outcomes.

Getting to Know You

An imperative early step in our process is ensuring we have a full grasp on the project scope – and most importantly, your goals. We ask a lot of “why” questions. For example, if you come to us and say, “I need a new website”, the first question you’ll likely hear from us is “why?”. We don’t take on projects without a clear “why” behind the “what”. That’s what makes us a bit different from a traditional marketing firm. Understanding your vision and goals allows us to explore possibility and opportunity. An ideal client is currently faced with a challenge (and opportunity) and is looking to partner with us to provide creative solutions. While this may include a revamp of your value proposition, a rebrand of your business or a new “look” for your company, we may find during our early conversations that opportunity exists beyond the specific “need”. Our early discovery conversations include questions like:

  • What goals do you have for this project?
  • What made you reach out to us today? (What’s the current “pain” you’re feeling)
  • How does the desired deliverable impact your near-term goals? (this helps us attach value to the deliverables being discussed)
  • What is your timeline? (We understand that every project is different and do our best to accommodate client needs)
  • What is your budget? (Not always an easy question to answer – and we understand that a potential client may not have any idea what the work may cost. This question isn’t to price-gouge, but rather, to ensure we’re in the same ballpark. Tight budgets and quick turnarounds typically don’t allow the time and thought on our end to deliver a top-quality final product. We’re very careful when it comes to putting ourselves in a position that’ll leave a client unsatisfied or our team unnecessarily under pressure.)

The Proposal

With a solid understanding of your goals, timeline, and overall project scope, our team works collaboratively to put together a comprehensive proposal for the project. This includes all associated deliverables, recommended approach, associates cost(s), and overall timelines. Typically, our proposals are paired with a call or meeting to discuss specifics and details, as well as to answer any questions the potential client may have. Proposals are typically sent within 48 hours of the initial conversation/meeting.

Project Kickoff

If a proposal is accepted, we enter into the “project kickoff” stage. During this important step, you can expect the following:

  • Contract & Invoice– Step one is confirming our agreement in writing. And, no, we do not use contracts! We send a simple letter of agreement, as well as an initial invoice for a project deposit. Payment structure and schedule is discussed and agreed to during this stage, and is reflected in the overall agreement. (Most projects are either 50% at project initiation and 50% at project completion or are based on critical project “benchmarks”). We do our best to be flexible to the client’s financial situation in coming up with a mutually agreeable payment plan. But, no (for those wondering), you can’t put a logo on layaway.
  • NDA’s and Non-Competes– If necessary, we will discuss the signing of Non-Disclosure Agreements and/or Non-Compete Agreements at this stage, depending on the project. These items are discussed on a project-by-project basis.
  • Introduction to the Project Manager– With the logistics and paperwork out of the way, we introduce our clients to our Project Manager (usually Gordon Conner), who handles setting up our project management platform and giving an overall introduction to the process ahead of us.

A Day in the Life (How We Work)

Core Values

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time internally thinking about and refining our core values. These aren’t the kind of core values you hang up in a board room and never think about – these are driving and defining characteristics that make up the DNA of our company. We work hard to embody each of them daily, and if we find ourselves wandering off course, we reference to and reflect on them as-needed.

  • We focus on people. We work with awesome people. Every project we take on is useful and makes the world a better place.
  • We keep it simple. Simple is beautiful. Simple is clear. Simple is effective. We cut through the clutter and get to the point.
  • We go all in. We believe in every project we take on. We dwell in possibility. Your success is our mission.
  • We have fun. We love what we do. This shines through in every conversation and every brand we build.
  • We learn every day. We’re in the business of getting better. Hungry for knowledge, we’ll know more than we did yesterday and less than we will tomorrow.
  • We’re honest. We give it to you straight – and expect no less from you. Being direct and honest gets us to the best possible outcome efficiently and with confidence.

Project Processes & Systems

The Project Team

Our team is nothing if it is not collaborative. Everyone on the team has a role in the completion of each project. But, we’re also organized. Each project is assigned a project manager who takes charge of all day-to-day communications and managing project timelines, and a creative lead who is responsible for leadership on all creative design deliverables. At different stages of the project, you’ll have a direct line of communication with almost everyone on our team – be it about design, copywriting, development, or just to check in with your project manager. The door is always open and we welcome ongoing collaboration.

Timelines, Revisions, & Deadlines

Timelines are critically important to overall project success. We maintain an internal project calendar and are intentional when scheduling projects to ensure we have time to be thoughtful and focused on each client project. We set deadlines for all major and minor milestones throughout the project as part of the project kickoff process. We do not miss deadlines. The only time a project gets thrown off course is if a client is slow to respond with feedback and/or direction, when needed. That said, we understand that life happens and always do our absolute best to accommodate requested timeline changes.

For each deliverable, we allow for a set number of revisions. Because we do not bill hourly (all pricing is project-based), sticking to a two or three-round revision process is imperative for maintaining scope. If we’re beyond this number of revisions, not only is it a scope concern, more importantly, we’re likely off-track with our understanding of the project. Before we get to this point, we’ll have an open, honest conversation so we can get on-track and move forward with confidence.

Every creative deliverable is paired with a design presentation (in-person, if possible). We are strong advocates for “selling your work” and are intentional about explaining the “why” behind the “what” as we review logo design, website mockups, campaign ideas, collateral, etc. This pairing of form with function helps us arrive at a confident, final place more efficiently and effectively.

Internal Reviews & Client Q&A

We are intentional and thorough about reviewing everything we send to a client internally. You’ll often find a few of us huddled around a monitor combing through a mockup or running final testing of a website before it is sent to a client for approval. It’s important that our internal review and quality control process is strong, and we’re diligent about ensuring that it is with every project. Before final delivery/launch, our clients have the opportunity for Q&A – to ensure everything is absolutely 100% approved.

Wrapping Projects & Next Steps

The “end” of our project is far from the end. In some cases, it’s only the first step toward a long, happy relationship between our team and the client. We make sure every detail is accounted for as we deliver and deploy all final deliverables, and present opportunities to continue our relationship into the future.

Delivery & Deployment

Upon receipt of final payment at project completion, we provide the client with access to all of their work, which is theirs to access as they need, whether or not we continue to work together. If there’s ever a need for a specific file in the future, we’re more than happy to provide that to our clients.

Ownership

As the client, you own all final created deliverables upon receipt of final payment. This includes all final, approved files. We do not provide original working files – design templates, Photoshop files, etc. – unless previously discussed and agreed upon as to protect intellectual property and ensure brand consistency for our clients moving forward.

What’s Next?

Once the project is over, we maintain a positive open-door policy with all of our clients. If you need us, when you need us, we’re no more than a call, email, meeting, or tweet away. A brand is an ever-evolving, constantly changing thing – one that must be maintained, developed, iterated, and improved ongoing. We’re most excited about relationships with clients that extend beyond “Phase 1”, and are always interested in the opportunity to continue and extend our work with outstanding businesses, organizations, and you, fine person who made it all the way to the end of our playbook.

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Now you know (almost) everything there is to know.

With a transparent view into who we are, what we do, and why we do it, are we a good fit? We’re always on the lookout for great clients and great people. Send us a message and let’s talk about how we can work together.

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