How to create a branding questionnaire for your clients

What is a brand?

Your brand is more than a logo, the way you word things or your website design colours. Your brand is essentially who you are for your customers. It tells everyone how you’re different, why they should listen to you and whether you are for them.

Why a brand matters

A great brand identity sets an organisation apart, creates intrigue and curiosity. In order to effectively create brand collateral, you first need to understand an organisation’s values, vision, mission, goals, objectives and ethos. You need to understand what sets that brand apart from its competition and what is it that is unique for consumers.

Tip #1 – Two for one

Get two for one and build your branding questionnaire with Content Snare. It’s a tool that also helps you collect content from clients, which is the biggest bottleneck in the design process.

Start your trial here

Why create a branding questionnaire?

A branding questionnaire helps you work with clients on developing their brand or conveying their brand appropriately. In today’s post we’re going to look at how to construct a branding questionnaire to help your customers brief you on their brand.

What is a branding questionnaire

A branding questionnaire is a series of questions you ask your clients (or prospects) to gain an understanding of their brand. You may be asking them in order to develop brand collateral or you may be working with them on establishing a new brand or refreshing an old one. 

A branding questionnaire is closely related to a creative brief, only it is more about the bigger picture than the fine details.

A typical initial branding assessment asks about:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Ethos
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Audience and clients
  • Products and services
  • Competitors
  • Unique selling proposition (what makes them different)
  • Budget

If clients are looking to rebrand, you can also look at:

  • Any issues or problems they’ve bumped up against with the current brand
  • Who they want to be perceived as in the market

Why it is so important to get right

Benefit #1 – Avoiding project failure

We’ve touched on this already, but the main thing is that a good brand questionnaire helps ensure that your client project isn’t a massive failure.

A brand is like a roadmap for a business or organisation. It defines the organisation’s direction and purpose. It enables and empowers staff to interact with customers and each other in a way that is consistent with the brand values.

Benefit #2 – Easier sales

Once you have a thorough understanding about the client’s strategic direction it is much easier to tune into what they need from you and create a value proposition that adds value to their objectives. It is way easier to sell to an organisation that tells you what they are out to achieve and what their key issues are.

Benefit #3 – Filtering bad clients

The answers to the branding questionnaire will give you an indication of where the client is at in terms of their brand development. Do they need a new brand? Are they disorganised and unclear in their communication? You can tease all of this out in a well-worded questionnaire for branding.

Benefit #4 – Setting cost expectations

A branding questionnaire will also establish the client’s expectations in terms of budget. If it’s clear they need their brand redeveloped before they work with you on a website or brand collateral, this is the time to raise this with the client. If they have unrealistic expectations in terms of pricing, you can choose to refer them to someone else who may be a better fit.

How to create your branding questionnaire

A questionnaire is just a kind of form. The usual methods I see are:

I highly recommend using an online tool like Content Snare, Typeform or Gravity Forms. This way you can avoid unnecessary printing and keep your processes as tight and automated as possible. Using Content Snare means that clients can complete the questionnaire in several sittings, as it can be unreasonable to expect they get in done in one go. 

Tools to build your form

If you don’t already have a forms tool of choice, there are a few options.

Google Forms

google forms branding questionnaire

Google Forms is a great tool to start with. It works no matter what platform you are using, it’s easy to set up and it’s free. If you have a Google account, just go to drive.google.com and create a new form.

The designs are fairly simple, but it’s easy to create a form quickly.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a WordPress plugin that has more features than Google Forms. At the end of this post, there is a place to download our exact branding questionnaire template that you can import right into Gravity Forms.

Typeform is a stand alone desktop form application that has many diverse templates and designs, is highly flexible and can even include payment transactions via Stripe. However, it can be tricky to set up and they must be completed in one sitting.

A note of caution on forms

Try to avoid making a form too long. Filling out a large form can sometimes intimidate clients who are already pressed for time and capacity. Some clients will procrastinate or abandon a longer form because it takes too long to fill out.

A way to address this is to use a system that enables clients to complete their questionnaire in stages. If they can save their work and go back to it later that will be appreciated by your clients.

Read on about Content Snare to see how to do this.

Content Snare

content snare branding questionnaire

Content Snare allows clients to fill things out in their own time. If they don’t do it in one sitting, they click their link anytime to come back and resume filling it out.

To ensure they don’t forget, it automatically reminds them until they’ve completed the form.

This results in more people completing your branding questionnaire.

Content Snare helps with much more though.

Collecting content from clients in the biggest bottleneck in web design. Except in rare cases, it holds up projects and causes payment delays.

Content Snare makes this process easy and can also be used for your branding questionnaire.

This helps you get your time back, complete more projects and get paid faster.

Create your questionnaire

Get two for one and build your branding questionnaire with Content Snare. It’s a tool that also helps you collect content from clients, which is the biggest bottleneck in the design process.

Start your trial here

I LOVE this system for acquiring information from clients. So much of it is already done for me and with a few tweaks, I can send the form and the client know exactly what they need to provide.

Jennifer Ward

J WARD DESIGN STUDIO

I think the secret is just that we’ve made it easier for clients to give us stuff. There’s no barrier, there’s no friction. People haven’t even complimented us on that. It used to be a fight to collect stuff.

Jarrod Robinson

THE APP MATCH

Question List

Now you know the why, what and how of creating a branding questionnaire.

Let’s dig into the questions for your form.

Your questionnaire length depends on your strategy. If you’re trying to do lots of projects at a lower price, you might want to get all the info for their branding up front.

If you are doing higher priced branding or design projects where you include strategy discussions, the questionnaire might just be an initial filter to weed out bad clients, and to give you enough info for an in-person meeting.

Here are our favourite questions and why we ask them.

How did you find out about us?

This is a great question to ask for a couple of reasons.

  1. It may highlight a marketing channel you’d never thought of
  2. If they put in someone’s name, you can surprise that person with a special reward or treat (referrals are your best friend)

What is your organisation’s top 3 core values? 

This question helps you see what is guiding the organisation and whether their current branding is consistent with their values.

What is your vision?

This question is about where the organisation sees the brand going over time.

What is your mission?

This is about the actions the brand will take to fulfil on their vision.

What are your top 3 objectives for your brand?

Objectives are specific milestones the organisation is working towards to accomplish their mission. This shows how organised and intentional they are.

Do you have current brand collateral and guidelines?

I like this question just to get an idea of where they are at right now and to gauge how much work is required. It’s also an upsell opportunity if they want help with their brand redevelopment or their brand content. We have a multi-choice answer with the following:

  • Yes, they’re in documents ready to go
  • Nope, but I will be putting them together
  • Nope, and I need help with them

What are your products and services

This is probably the most obvious question of the entire questionnaire. You’ll need an understanding of what their business does, and this question helps with that.

Who are your ideal customers?

This question is so you know who your clients are targeting.

Why are they visiting your website? What’s their #1 goal?

You might split this into several questions, but this one is important as every business is different. Some just want to get the client on the phone, some want their clients to purchase online or simply enter their email somewhere.

What’s your average sale value (approx) -or- What is the lifetime value of your customer?

This one is a sneaky one for me. If you know someone makes $20k from a client, that’s something you can use to quantify the value in the site you are building. If the website helps them get just one more client a year, it’s much easier to justify a $10k price tag.

List 3 brands you like, preferably in different industries and include dot points what you do and don’t like for each

It’s important to find out what they do and don’t like. So many times they say they like a brand, but it turns out they only like the logo and hate the rest. If you based your brand design on that, you’re in trouble. It’s better to find that out early.

List out the branding components you want

This one is for the clients that already have a pretty good idea, or to help the other ones think about it some more. What they write here doesn’t have to be set in stone.

Do you have any concerns or worries?

This one is gold. This is where they tell you exactly what you need to address when you talk to them later.

To call your brand a success, what would need to happen?

Just like the above question, this is gold. It helps you craft both your pitch and make sure the branding achieves their exact goals. It can also help bring out hidden things that wouldn’t have come up otherwise.

What is your budget?

The ultimate filter. We use a dropdown list where the smallest amount is “<$2000”. Generally, you’d set the bottom level as the budget you don’t want to work with and may simply refer them to someone else.

What is your timeframe/launch date?

Just in case you get a surprise 2 weeks in that everything needs to be finished in 3 more days.

(Anything else that is a dealbreaker for you)

Include this as questions so you can make the decision not to work with them faster.

Interpreting the results to filter clients

If you’re using your questionnaire as a client filter as well, here are some tips for deciding whether or not to proceed.

Sometimes it’s really obvious that a client isn’t going to be a good fit. For example, if they list out 25 brand components and give a budget of $500.

But there are some things you can look out for in the results which might indicate a storm brewing.

  • If they are highly critical of other agencies or developers. Sometimes this may be founded criticism, but sometimes it’s just a reflection of the client
  • Excessive detail in what they want. If they aren’t leaving anything open to you, there’s a real chance they are going to pick apart everything you do.
  • Or even worse “I’ll know what I want when I see it”
  • Silly words to describe what they want. If they want the site to “pop”, “have more pizzazz” or “be maybe 20% more playful”
  • Their target audience is “everyone” (this might just mean they need some business lessons)
  • In the free-text boxes, they’ve written essays
  • If you just get the feeling their expectations don’t match the budget. Yes, it’s OK to trust your gut. That bad feeling you get is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of decision-making evolution

Get the full question list and ready to use questionnaire

Want to see the full list of questions we ask on our website questionnaire?

Free to use and modify for your own business.

Download Now

Next steps

That’s easy – if you haven’t already got a questionnaire, go and create one!

If you already have one, read through and see if anything needs adding or adjusting.

Read through our questions to see if there are any that make sense for you to add.

Have any awesome stories or tips you’d like to share? Drop them in the comments below, and maybe we’ll invite you on the show to share them

James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare and Aktura Technology. Once a web designer, his new priority is to help web designers and developers regain their lives, work less and get better clients.

He does this by writing helpful posts, building software and working with web designers to deliver the complex web development that they don't normally handle.

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