Men's Natural Care Products
Through Design, A Partnership is Born
What We Did
- Market Analysis & Strategy
- Brand Mood Board
- Logo Design
- Brand Identity Guide
- Business Cards
- Stationery Suite
- Product Packaging Design
- Product Photoshop Mockups
The relationship between the brand owner and the brand designer is quite unique. The owner is the originator of the idea from which the brand is conceived, yet the designer, with tremendous aid from the owner, must bring the idea, which is not their own, to life in a way that vividly communicates the owners thoughts. It requires communication, bonding, and a mutual commitment to be forthright about all of the details necessary for the designer to under the brand, and the owner to understand the design.
Meeting a company during the startup phase presents a well-spring of opportunity. This is when brand owners are alive with fresh ideas and a hopeful trajectory in sight. As you'll read, the creative process involved with designing a visual identity forces many introspective moments. Brand owners are faced with questions they may not have anticipated, or didn't explore to the depth that it requires to communicate the answer back to a designer, who isn't familiar with the young company. It's a time of growth and opportunity.
Men's Natural Care Products has put itself on an amazing trajectory and we are excited to be a part of the team. The following conversation is between Markon and Men's owner, Frank. Read and learn:
Markon: Thank you for sitting down with us, Frank. Could you, in your own words, for our readers, tell describe your company?
Frank: "We bring natural care products to men, to the men’s market, to help provide them with the best choices. We deal in men’s care products and we bring what we hope to describe, or what I like to say 'natural meets exciting' - the natural market in men’s care has been old school and nothing too exciting going - we wanted to let guys know that there’s some really cool stuff out there that is natural and good for and the environment and that there is a wide range of choices that you can make based on your personal preference. We basically try to provide natural choices for men - let them decide what’s important to them."
Markon: You’re just really getting started with that, though, right?
Frank: "We are a startup, so we are probably in one of the most scary phases of our business in that we are too far committed to turn back. So we’ve committed everything and dedicated time, resources, etc. to getting this business launched. It’s a little scary right now because there are things we are preparing for, that we know we need to do, some that we have done, but we are concerned about what we may not know about. You know, you always try to predict what you need done and make sure you get them done. But there’s no way of knowing what you need unless it comes up."
Markon: Tell us a little bit about your background, Frank:
Frank: "Well, I have a business degree, actually I was a marketing major. I have executive experience and some certifications in supply chain management. I’ve done consulting business here in the Seattle area most recently. That has helped to prepare me for running my own company."
Markon: As you said, you’re in a very early phase in your startup’s development. Tell us a bit about what you were searching for when you found Markon:
Frank: "I wasn’t actually setting out to find a marketing/branding company. Well, you know, since I have a marketing background, that wasn’t our greatest need at the time, but, I was looking for some graphics help online. We were considering some of the options out there, including some companies that were a great distance from us, even overseas. I was worried about using those companies, that I might not be able to connect with them.
Then I ran across an ad for Markon when I was searching online for graphics help. I clicked the ad, read the marketing material, and headed over to your website. I looked at some samples of previous work that was in your portfolio. I was impressed with the overall impression, the total package. I remember thinking that the design/marketing solutions you presented seemed to fit the businesses you had been working with. Of course I also saw that you were in Vancouver, Washington, and I thought that was close enough for me (to be specific, Frank is in Auburn, Washington) to reach out and find out a bit more about Markon."
Markon: When we began the creative process with you, you were remarkably thorough. Can you tell us what the creative process was like for you (how you felt about it, reflections you have, etc.)
Frank: "I think that when I first started talking with Kristine, I was hesitant about even giving out information other than what was necessary to design a logo for us.
I began talking to her and I realized that she was intelligent, that she had the right business sense for what I was looking for. There is not a lot of people I would trust with business, and I feel, not a lot of people have that business sense - I don’t know if you can have that taught to you, or if you just have it - but I can tell she has it and that is what I got out of one of our first conversations.
That allowed me to share more. Having a business background in marketing, I knew that if Markon Brand Design was going to do a good job for us they need to know as much as possible about us - in as much detail and accuracy as possible - so that they can develop the right program for us. You know, I know what we want, but you have to make sure that who you are working with knows as well.
I think working through this whole process has helped us tremendously and it all started with doing the homework that was given to us. It asked us a lot of important questions that as a business you need to know about - if you don’t have the answers to those questions then you’re not ready for the next step. It helped us identify our target market and really define the goals that we are chasing after. Those are things that we go through and prepare for you, I also think about those things for ourselves - and I make sure I have those things down before I go onto the next step.
On the creative brief: I think it asked the right questions so that you get the right answers. It wasn’t overbearing - and I know you have to ask those questions so that you can come up with what is right for us."
Markon: When you came to us, a lot about your company was conceptual. You are someone who is truly building the brand from the ground up. As a business owner, how do you feel building your branding as you build your business, your product, has benefited you?
Frank: "If you start from the beginning and you think of branding as a total concept for your business and that everything you basically do for your business should reflect that same marketing strategy that you developed originally, so it’s critical that you stick to the plan and make adjustments as you need to. You want to stay focused on your strategic plan knowing that it will change as time goes on. You can change and develop that as it goes."
Markon: We’ve only really just started with you. Now that we’ve developed a foundation, we’re moving onto other areas with you. We are excited to work in step with you as you begin to eye your product launch.
Frank: "You know, one of the reasons that I chose Markon Brand Design is that I have been out of college for almost 38 years and so I’m not as in touch with the market, especially with the newer generation of consumers. It’s really important and great to have such good feedback that I can bounce off of someone that is knowledgeable - It’s like having your own marketing department!
Another reason that I chose Markon: I felt like I could bounce things off of you guys to get help. We are such a small company, we can’t afford our own marketing department and you guys make me feel like I have one.
You guys have exceeded my expectations and I’m so excited to get started that, you know, I feel much better starting than I would have if I had tried to go the route myself. You’ve helped keep me on the right marketing track as far as branding."
As of this writing, our relationship with Frank and Men's Natural Care Product's continues to grow. As their product line expands, so does the need for new product packaging, fresh design elements and new communication. We look forward to seeing their products on store shelves and expanding the brand as new lines of items come online. There is so much more to come.