A Killer Branding Questionnaire Guide for Your Brand Identity Clients

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branding questionnaire

Whether you are a freelance designer, copywriter or solo marketer, you aim for providing first-class service to your clients. In order to do so, every project should start with a plan, and having a branding questionnaire at hand lets you take a holistic approach to such a complex task.

Here is the thing: you have to do your best work. And the first step to that is identifying the client’s needs. Helping your client develop a strong brand identity involves solid preparation work. Building brand identity requires diligent research because it’s the essential prerequisite of long-term business success.

To help you take the right direction in this process, we’ve put together this branding questionnaire guide.

What is a branding questionnaire?

A branding questionnaire is a set of questions for your clients designed to collect information about their business and understand the desired brand identity. It gives you a glimpse into a business’ mission, values and objectives.

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Perhaps, you have experience dealing with indecisive clients who said, “I’ll know it when I see it,” when you asked for instructions. Or they would give you vague guidelines that weren’t complete enough to deliver a quality job. As a result, you drown in tons of revisions and your project stalls.

To avoid the hassles of grappling with obscure guidelines, have your client fill out a branding questionnaire as the first step after you land a project.

A branding questionnaire serves as a reference point that navigates both you and the client through the jungles of marketing and branding challenges. With the branding questionnaire completed by the client, it becomes easier to shape a distinctive brand message and communicate it to the right audience.

Who uses branding questionnaires?

Branding questionnaires are used by marketers, designers, copywriters, business experts, creative agencies, digital marketing companies, web development specialists and social media marketing experts. It can be applied in the intersection of design and marketing where there is a need for brand identity development.

It turns out often that business owners find it difficult to represent themselves as a brand. That’s when branding surveys come to rescue. This tool helps your clients give the company overview and define the business’s market position.

Answering a questionnaire is critical groundwork demanding some effort on the client’s part. You also can use it for your freelance business to reevaluate your identity and find ways to increase brand strength.

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What is a branding questionnaire used for?

No one starts building a house without deciding on a home floor plan and architectural style. The same applies to a brand identity building process.

Requesting information on the client’s business gives you the momentum to start developing a useful brand marketing strategy. In this way, a branding questionnaire is used to set goals for a brand development project.

To build a brand identity, you need to understand who your client is. This includes gathering information about their product, strategic objectives, market segment and target audience. If they want to refresh the brand identity, they also can attach their current branding materials.

Given the client’s answers, marketers can produce compelling branding strategies fully aligned with the client’s goals. Designers can come up with logo comps which get accepted, and copywriters learn how to create marketing copies that uphold a brand message.

Why should I use one for my clients?

Here are several reasons why you should use branding questionnaires for your clients.

  • It helps you resolve disputes. By working on a questionnaire, you minimize the risk of client discontent.
  • You get valuable materials from the client. You can fully rely on your client’s materials when creating a web design. You will know what colors they prefer to represent their brand with or what emotions they want to appeal to. All documents received from the client are relevant, which means that it can be safely used in work.
  • It helps you improve client communications. When you know clients’ needs, it is easier to get down to the nitty-gritty and deliver the outcome in line with their expectations.
  • It helps you ask the right questions. You will better understand the full scope of the work and won’t extend your creative liberty beyond the project boundaries.
  • Building confidence in your clients. If you have a branding survey, it helps boost confidence in your clients. This tool ensures you know what you’re doing and won’t act on a whim. It says a lot about you and your level of expertise.

What to include on your branding questionnaire

Brand identity is designated as a combination of visible elements (logo, design, typography), which generates brand awareness. However, some marketers define it broadly as a company’s personality, uniqueness and everything that sets it apart.

Consequently, many branding agencies tend to promote a holistic approach when designing a brand identity. They offer services ranging from writing a brand marketing plan to creating a social media presence.

If you’re a solopreneur providing a particular service, you need to include questions that are aimed at finding out useful information about the client’s business goals in your field. Content of a branding questionnaire may vary depending on your niche, yet in general terms, it has the following sections:

Company Information

In this section, a client provides information about the company, its name, how large the company is, shares the story behind the business, lists its main competitors. It is significant to describe the current state of the industry and the company’s goals they plan to achieve.

Product or Services

Here the client tells about the product’s mission and its value to customers. They give you insights into their product vision as well as explain what the product brings to the marketplace and what sets it apart from the competitors. Another significant aspect of this section is to take into account how customers are going to use the product. Will it benefit a customer right away after the purchase or while making use of it? This question will help you better identify product benefits.

Target Market

The description of the target audience implies not only demographic characteristics (gender, age, income level) but also customer’s psychological traits. How do the customers use the product? Why do they like it? What do they enjoy most? What emotions does the client want to trigger in customers? Include these questions in your survey. Your client should describe their target customers based on such characteristics as buying patterns, purchasing preferences, product engagement and level of brand loyalty.

Project Objectives

In this block, the client asserts project deliverables. If it’s a website design, it’s crucial to indicate the desired color scheme, layout, style of font etc. Clients can provide design samples they would like to use or tell which brands appeal to them. If you write web copies, you can ask for voice guidelines, e.g. if it should be straightforward, punchy, or charismatic, or humourous.

Ask your clients what message they want to communicate, what words they would like to use when describing their brand. To get a clear picture, you can ask about words, colors, or concepts they dislike.

Budget Range and Timelines

Everyone tackles the budget questions in their own way. It’s okay to stick to flat project fees. Yet many freelancers prefer to know the client’s budget since it gives them room for flexibility.

Additional Information Section

This section is optional, though it allows a client to submit the information on aspects you might have overlooked. Any information considered necessary will be helpful.

What you should avoid in your branding questionnaire

Apparently, the trickiest part of making a branding questionnaire is to collect as many details as possible while trying not to overwhelm a client with redundant questions. Be selective about what you want to ask to ensure that all information they provide is directly related to your field.

Here are the mistakes that increase the risk of endless iterations.

Asking questions requiring one-word answers: These questions provide a little value though might take a lot of screen space.

Imprecise wording: Use accurate terms and be wary of any possible way your questions could be misconstrued. Sometimes questions lack context. For example, instead of asking “What’s your brand’s mood?” ask, “What kind of emotions or feelings should your brand evoke?”

Delving into excessive details: Don’t expect a client to know what and how to do at each stage. Things that seem obvious to you may be unknown to them. The client’s goal is to describe the business they know perfectly and give you the big picture along with the desired outcome. They might not know much about design workflow, so you should avoid questions like ‘Would you like to get mockups first or a working prototype for the initial review?’

Keys to writing a killer branding questionnaire

1. Use plain, direct language

Make sure that prospective clients can understand exactly what you mean. Otherwise, they will give inadequate or incomplete responses, and you’ll spend extra time to find out about their goals.

2. Provide short sample answers or prompts

Even if questions are simple for you, some clients may not grasp them. Give hints so that people would know how to start responding. For instance, for “What is your brand’s story” question you can add prompts as follows:

{Company Name} was founded with a goal to ….

The moment I established my brand was when I realized …

3. Sequence it

All questions should be arranged in a logical order. If you take a deductive approach, start with generalized questions and then target more specific, detailed questions.

4. Use sections

You can group questions into sections or categories. By dividing the questionnaire into sections you enable clients to sort out all the thoughts and ideas swirling around in their heads and make sense of the information they fill in.

5. Format it

Make sure the layout and graphics are adequate to the goals of your questionnaire. Your typeface should always be large and clear for ease in reading if you use an online form. Adjust the width of your input fields according to the expected length.

Sample branding questionnaire to use for your next client project

In case you can’t decide what points are necessary for your branding questionnaire, we offer the following scheme.

To define clear project objectives, your first step is to give us insights into your market. Please provide complete information on each component of the following questionnaire.

Company Information

  1. Your company’s name
  2. Your name
  3. Title
  4. Email
  5. Phone
  6. Website URL
  7. What is your business about?
  8. What’s the story behind your business?
  9. Who are your main competitors? (List other companies offering similar products and services and tell what they are good at).
  10. Industry outlook (E.g., the Beverage Industry offers a range of products, including non-alcoholic and alcoholic items. There are few growth opportunities, therefore new players strive to diversify their products. The demand for sports drinks are strong nowadays and increasingly gaining market traction).

Product

  1. What is your product/service?
  2. What sets your product apart?
  3. What value does it bring? (Describe the problem your product solve for your customers)
  4. How does it solve the problem?

Target Market

  1. Your target customers’ demographic information (gender, age, job title, location). E.g., teenage athletes
  2. What issues are they dealing with? (e.g. they can’t find a training partner of the same age)
  3. Customer’s activities and interests
  4. Why would customers want to buy your product? (Describe the benefit. Note: if your app helps teenage athletes find a training partner of the same age and gender, that’s a feature. The benefit is making their workouts safer).
  5. The timetable of purchase (weekly, monthly).
  6. Where do customers purchase or use product/service?
  7. How do they choose your product (fully involved in the purchasing process as the product is expensive/risky and takes a lot of thinking, or just go to a store and buy on a whim, or interested in trying different options)?
  8. What emotions trigger your customer’s interest (E.g. fear, guilt, belonging, competition, leadership).

Project Objectives

  1. Project deliverables (website, social media graphics, logo, stationery, business cards, brand book).
  2. What is the type of your brand? (person/product/service/organization/event/media)
  3. If you have an existing brand, what don’t you like about your current brand identity?
  4. What elements and colors don’t represent your brand (What style don’t you like)?
  5. How would your customers describe your brand?(what attributes your audience sees as a part of your brand)
  6. What’s your tagline?

Budget Range and Timelines

  1. What is your budget range for this project?
  2. Are there any deadlines/time constraints?

Additional Information Section

Is there anything else we should know about you?

Final Thoughts

A client might think that completing the branding questionnaire is a waste of time. However, it’s important to remember that every minute saved by ignoring this tool can entail tons of back and forth emails. Clients don’t necessarily have to fill it out by themselves, you always can suggest scheduling a call to walk them through the survey. Some people find it hard to express their ideas in writing, and hearing your voice will help them put trust in you.

Branding questionnaires take up some of your time at the outset but save you more time and energy for other work. A good questionnaire enables clients to declare individuality and look at their business from a new perspective. As for freelancers, surveys have a positive impact on your efficiency and increase the chances that clients will contact you for future work as well.


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  1. A great synopsis and reminder when embarking on such projects. Thanks! (I love the preemptive section ????

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for sharing. I am new to this but have done a fe logo design projects myself. I also worked in a small ad agency few years back and thought that I can do this. My recent project brings me to reflection. I think this step was missing or somehow skipped that’s why I am researching right now on client questionnaire to carefully state the boundaries of the brand project and be more thoughtful and organize.

    More power to you!

    Sherwin Estrada

    1. Thank you for the comment, Sherwin! I find that my clients enjoy talking about their responses to the questions since it helps them visualize and articulate their hopes for the work. A lot of them aren’t visual people, so this helps make them feel more comfortable with the whole process. I hope you’ll share your questionnaire when you have it done!
      Rebecca

  3. I started using a creative brief last year and no one actually fills it out. LOL. But it gets them thinking and sometimes leads to useful information. I have many of the same questions on mine but the last bit with the reasons for not hiring a designer, brilliant. I might add that. I’m in the process of creating one for my web clients … any suggestions on that?

    1. Heather, as beneficial as this document is, I rarely see it thoroughly filled out, either! It does start some great conversations, though.
      Regarding your question: I do more print design and identity design than I do web, but I would imagine that there could be a lot of similarity in a web design version, especially in the parts where you ask for examples of what they do (and don’t) like. I’d put in a section about functionality and strategy for the site (without putting in too much tech language). Any ideas from other web designers out there?
      Thanks for the comment!

  4. One of my favorite questions is to ask what my client DOESN’T like. Often they can’t tell me exactly what they DO want, but they can quickly rattle off a handful of design choices they DON’T like.

    In this way, I can be sure not to use those elements (unless I have a really compelling argument) in my initial concepts…which, as we all know, can make or break a proof when they get hung up on the one tiny element they hate so much so that they ignore the rest of the piece.

    Great tips, and thanks for providing your actual questionnaire! Mine is now about to be improved!

    1. Thanks April!
      I think I need to add a section for the DON’T LIKE category! I love that idea. 🙂
      Rebecca

  5. How did you know I wanted to update my existing branding & design questionnaire? Yours is brilliant. I can see where you could not only have your clients fill it out themselves, but also have it be a mechanism to start a conversation with a new client about what THEIR ideas are about their branding and how it not only affects the way their customers think about them but whether they want to buy from them or not.

    The suggestion to have them provide you some logo samples of designs they like is something I’ve been successfully doing for a while too. It makes my clients feel like they have input into the design and I’m a design maniac making them bow down to my concepts.

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Thank you Colleen!
      Maybe we’re all doing some New Year’s cleanup on our branding questionnaires! I love to experiment with mine to see what gets the best reaction.
      And I like your thought about having the client feel like they’re in the design process WITH you – people can tell if you care about that or not!
      Rebecca

  6. Thanks for the good share Rebecca! I definitely like the last part – I’d never thought of that.

    I’ve got a branding questionnaire but I’ve found that clients aren’t too keen to complete this themselves. So I usually have an initial call with them and run through my questions on the phone taking notes. Afterwards I send them the completed questionnaire based on our chat and ask them if it covers everything we spoke about or if they would like to add/change anything. That way we get a feel for each other over the call and it clears up any vague answers.

    Although I’ve found that it’s a good idea to send them the questions beforehand so that they have some time to think about their answers and not feel caught off guard.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    1. That’s a great method, Brigitte!
      I’ll have to try that – sending it back over to the client after that initial conversation, with any additional info that has come up during the call or meeting. Anything to add clarity!
      And I agree that sending the questionnaire over first is a good way to get the process started in any case. It takes pressure off of them if they can take their time with the questions.
      Thanks for the note!
      Rebecca

  7. A good post for branding folks. We have this kind of questionnaire on our website. The only difference is that we collect personal details at part of the form.
    Question: We noticed that 97% clients do no answer on the colors. How do we help and encourage them?

    1. That’s a great question, Tanvir – I wonder if it would help to include some swatches and allow people to check off ones that might fit their vision for the brand, or at least give you a starting point for further discussion. Selecting from an existing range of colors might be easier for some people than generating a list. Maybe I’ll try that in my questionnaire and see how it works!
      Rebecca

  8. My branding questionnaire has always been structured around Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ (what, how, why). I think it’s an effective way to get a client thinking about their brand (the ‘why’) as the center of their operations (the ‘how’) and their product (the ‘what’).

    I definitely agree with keeping it simple as I have found clients will ignore complex questions. I also think the ‘preemptive’ section is a great way to help sell your services, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your comments, Saylor!
      First “Why”, then trust! I think the Golden Circle basis for your questionnaire is a great idea. Please do post examples if you like!
      Rebecca

  9. Hi Rebecca,

    This is absolutely awesome and precious material. Thank you VERY MUCH for sharing!
    I absolutely love it!
    You’re awesome.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Loic! I hope you can put the information to good use!
      Rebecca

  10. Get them on the phone, if they don’t want to give their number or real name then they are shopping around and not serious. I also have them fill out a questionnaire that should not take longer than 5 min of their time. Clients do not have patience or time to do that for every inquiry they make. Make is short and sweet. You can also follow up your questions in future correspondence or meeting.

    1. Thanks for posting, Sean!
      I agree – the questionnaire is just the start of the conversation, and a phone call or sit-down meeting is always the goal early on.
      Rebecca

  11. A great synopsis and reminder when embarking on such projects. Thanks! (I love the preemptive section 🙂

  12. Thanks Rebecca. I think what you mentioned about asking simple questions is key. We designers have to put ourselves in our customers shoes, as not everyone understands ‘creative jargon’. I like some of your question ideas and the end piece about hiring a designer is a great idea… I’d like to borrow that idea if that’s OK. 😉

    1. Thanks Mark!
      Yep, there’s that fine line with creative jargon – a little can lend credibility with clients, but too much will overwhelm them. And yes, borrow away – I’m glad you found some useful ideas in my questionnaire!
      Rebecca

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