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Table of Contents

Latest updates


20 Sep 2020 | version 00.01.14
Major content changes. Added “Brand Entity” as a third part of what makes up a Brand, alongside with “Brand Identity” and “Brand Perception”. Also, added section “What is a Logo?”.


6 Sep 2020 | version 00.01.13
Made background colour lighter. Copy-edited content spelling and grammar.


26 Mar 2020 | version 00.01.12
Major content update. Added "Developers vs. Programmers" to "Terminology" section. Added multiple TPG case studies to "Brand Strategy" section. Added whole new section "Digital Product Development".


9 Mar 2020 | version 00.01.11
Added new books to the "Bibliography" section.


25 Feb 2020 | version 00.01.10
Added "Business Development" section.


16 Feb 2020 | version 00.01.09
Added "Basic Touchpoints" section.


01 Feb 2020 | version 00.01.08
Updated "Moodboard", "Visual Language", and "Tools & Resources" sections, and added "Brand Guidelines" section.


30 Jan 2020 | version 00.01.07
Added "Bibliography" sub-sections, "Poly Forum" and "Colophon" sections.


27 Jan 2020 | version 00.01.06
Added "Bibliography" section.


21 Jan 2020 | version 00.01.05
Added "Visual Identity" section.


20 Jan 2020 | version 00.01.04
Added "Key Messages" section.


16 Jan 2020 | version 00.01.03
Multiple content changes.


21 Oct 2019 | version 00.01.02
Added Community, Info, and Version features.


20 Oct 2019 | version 00.01.01
We've published our original alpha as a public beta.

Some info about our project


Our goal is to publish free and open-access educational information on branding and brand identity design.

Eventhough we've already spent several years trying to see how we put this project together, this project is still in its early stages of development.

For the future, we have high hopes of building a useful platform for creatives all over the world to use as a resource and make their professional careers easier.

Join our community!


Poly Forum is a place to discuss branding, share tips and resources, ask questions, request feedback, and connect with other creatives from around the world.

Learn More ›

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This is our Business Plan

That's right! After investing 3 years of research and strategy in the development of our business, we've decided to made public our Business Plan.

While other businesses hide their work behind NDAs, we've decided to share it with it world in case it's useful for anybody out there. We've only redacted some sensitive information containing personal data and such. Everything else, you will be able to browse freely.

Our business plan is a continuous work in progress, and we'd be happy to hear your thoughts!


1. Overview

The Poly Group incorporates multiple sub-brands segmenting different services, organisations, and products all related to the creative industry; especially to the Branding process.

We are re-thinking Branding to succeed in times of constant change.

Behind the scenes, The Poly Group (or just “TPG” or “Poly”), consits of a network of creatives, devs, marketing people, entrepreneurs, sociologists, and more.

Our location-independent business model takes advantage of the latest advancements in technology to work seamlessly with a team including remote workers distributed around the world.

We all work together on Branding, but especially on the bit of the Branding process which we call “Brand Identity design”.

A Brand is “a collective representation of an entity,” or how people feel about something they interact with; What is that something; And, how is that something different from all other related things.

Branding is the process of associating certain feelings and emotions with a business.

The Poly Group's current subsidiary divisions or “business units” include:

  • Polyfen: The main subsidiary of The Poly Group; A creative agency offering Brand Identity Design services for new and emerging businesses. polyfen.com
  • Poly Atlas: A web platform which features a framework of best practices in Branding. polyatlas.wiki
  • Poly Forum: An international community of creatives dedicated to discussing and promoting the discipline of Branding. polyforum.org

One of the benefits of The Poly Group having multiple sub-brands is that it gives to our prospective customers the impression that we’re a large corporation, while in fact we are a small, but highly effective operation.

However, The Poly Group's marketing and business efforts are mainly focused on Polyfen, the Branding agency, which is the main source of income.

On an initial stage, The Poly Group aims to develop a profitable and —more importantly— sustainable business structure centered around Polyfen; However, utilizing our other sub-brands such as Poly Atlas and Poly Forum to leverage brand awareness and position The Poly Group as a thought-leader in the creative industry.

The business model of The Poly Group is inspired by that which many emerging and successful companies have been adopting in recent years. Amazon, Google, and Facebook are not composed of a huge team of people working together on a single project. At some point, CEOs and managers realized that it's much more efficient to separate the company into multiple internal divisions which operate independently, yet in harmony with each other. In this way, each division is smaller, more manageable, more efficient, and sustainable; Hence, the business is much more risk-averse and cost-efficient.

On the other hand, our business model is set out to “Attract, Catch, and Retain”. While most Brand Identity Design agencies work with a client on defining their Brand Identity and then letting them go to a Marketing Agency for their promotional activities; Our relationship with our clients doesn’t end when the Brand Identity Design project is finished. We’re committed to continuously advise our clients in regards to their Brand Identity.

You can find a detailed breakdown of our study in our Market Research document available at › thepolygroup.co/market-research.


2. Purpose

Why does The Poly Group exist?

We wanted to create a company culture that we can be proud of and that offers each team-member their ideal job or dream job.


3. Vision

We envision a future where the Branding process puts humans first by being more ethical and helpful for consumers, while at the same time, being more efficient and profitable for businesses.


4. Mission

We aim to develop a passion-driven, sustainable, and profitable business while helping our clients grow. We aim to grow our businesses organically, at a conservative pace, and remain small and efficient, as independently owned as possible, and easy to manage in order to deliver the best quality services for our clients.


5. Core Values

At its core, The Poly Group, is founded on —not business values, but— human values.

  • Transparency: Honesty is the best policy. We are straightforward, and we communicate clearly and with candour. For the most part, all team-members have access to our “best guarded” research and strategy documents. We even chose to make some of our internal documents publicly available online for free.
  • Room for growth: Everyone in the team has a voice. Everyone can suggest improvements in any area. Everyone has all the doors wide open to become an integral member of the business and be rewarded accordingly. Everyone in the team can be given the opportunity to become a partner and part-owner of our business if they generate enough value.
  • Righteousness: We hold in high regard an ethically correct social behaviour. Our socio-political views might vary; Our views on religion might be different; Our cultural backgrounds might be quite contrasting; Our lifestyles might be diverse; But we all have in common that we want the best for ourselves, for our close ones, for each other, and for the world. We wouldn’t take advantage over anyone, and we praise positive action. As designers or developers, perhaps we can’t end world hunger or cure disease; But as communicators, we have the responsibility to only advertise businesses which we truly believe in.
  • Initiative: We seek to maintain a dedicated and proactive role in each and every project. There are many problems to solve in the world; Whether at a micro or macro scale, it’s up to us to decide to stand up and do something about it. If there’s anything that we can do better, as a part of this team, you have been untrusted with the responsibility to speak out and suggest a solution.
  • Reliability: We must consistently uphold our core values within our team, with our clients and prospective clients, and with the design community.

6. Timeline

Past

We consider The Poly Group to have been established on 23 / 03 / 2018 when the first initial draft of Polyfen's business plan was shared with the prospective founding partners.

Since then, we've been working on building a team and a network of advisors and colleagues, we’ve cultivated a tribal culture, developed an internal workflow, set-up a technology and communications infrastructure, researched the market, surveyed the legal requirements, analysed our costs, defined a pricing strategy, designed a brand identity, published our company's website and social media channels along with a case study the development of our own brand, and, lastly, we've identified leads of prospective clients.

The tribal culture we've cultivated encourages growth through experimentation and R&D; Hence, multiple projects have been conceived out of internal necessities or even out of whim. Poly Atlas, for instance, was created as a tool to standardise and optimize Polyfen's Brand Identity Design workflow; Poly Forum was created as a tool to scrutinize, discuss, and improve that same workflow with the help of a community of peers.

As multiple projects hatched from within Polyfen, we've decided to incorporate the different subsidiary divisions under a single parent-brand, The Poly Group.

Present

We’re currently seeking to grow our business organically through new clients, new strategic alliances, and a stronger presence on social media.

Future

Our general, long-term goals for the future aim to operate a (1) profitable, (2) sustainable, and (3) passion-driven business.


7. Partnership

The Poly Group is owned by a team of partners who actively manage the business in the Board of Directors.

Each and every partner is required to additionally have an active role as an employee in —at least— one of our different subsidiary divisions. This ensures that the people taking decisions in the Board of Directors have a perfect understanding of how the subsidiaries operate on a day-to-day basis and, as employees, can take informed decisions for the benefit of all team-members.

External investors who do not have an active role as employees in one of our subsidiaries will not be accepted as share-holders to ensure that the well-being of our team won't be sacrificed for the economic interests of an alien share-holder.

All partners are required to attend monthly Board of Director meetings to survey the present situation of each subsidiary division, propose improvements, make decisions, and roadmap the next steps.

There are two classes of partners in the Board of Directors. The founder of the business, Boris Hrnčić, as the majority share-holder, has the role of Managing Partner. While the remaining share-holders hold the role of Junior Partners.


The duties of the Managing Partner include:

  • Leading the enterprise as key decision maker.
  • Ensuring that the company and its interests stay true to the original vision, mission, and core values.
  • Attending Board of Directors meetings and being present in the Board of Directors' communication channels.
  • Having an active role in at least one of the subsidiary divisions as an employee / team-member.

The duties of the Junior Partners include:

  • Contributing to the decision-making process of all major decisions by providing valuable insights.
  • Proactively considering how the enterprise can be improved.
  • Attending Board of Directors meetings and being present in the Board of Directors' communication channels.
  • Having an active role in at least one of the subsidiary divisions as an employee / team-member.

All team-members are eligible to be rewarded for their proactive commitment to our cause by being offered to become a Junior Partner and gain a place in the Board of Directors.

The initial start-up equity accounts for 10,000 issued shares. In the case of a new Junior Partner joining the Board of Directors, then more shares will be issued to accommodate the proposed formula where the Managing Partner is and will always be entitled to 51% of all shares, while the remaining 49% will be distributed equally amongst all Junior Partners.

Owner Shares Percentage
Boris Hrncic 5,100 51%
Francisco Martone 4,900 49%
Total 10,000 100%

Further details in regards to the conditions, responsibilities, and rewards of being a partner are described in the corresponding partnership agreement and all other legal documents which apply.


8. Organizational Diagram

Board of Directors
Managing Partner
Junior Managers
Core Team
Departments Corporate Creative Development
Department Leaders
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Strategy Officer
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
Department Members
  • Business Analyst
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Brand Designer
  • UX / UI Designer
  • Front-end Developer
  • Back-end Developer

9. Departments

Corporate Department

Responsible for all administrative tasks including Business Development, finance, legal, and accounts management.

Creative Department

In charge of all creative / marketing activities, including market research, brand strategy, visual identity design, brand applications / touchpoints design.

Development Department

Accountable for all software / web / product development tasks.


10. Roles & Job Descriptions

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

  • Leading the Corporate department and all business development / administrative tasks.
  • Overseeing all major activities across all departments.
  • Ensuring that all projects are progressing at a smooth pace.
  • Performing continuous analysis of the business and taking action to ensure productivity, profitability, sustainable growth, and a positive work environment.
  • Carrying out business development / administrative tasks.
  • Fostering a passion-driven company culture focused on seeking excellence through education, experimentation, and collaboration.
  • Representing TPG in seeking business opportunities with prospective customers, clients, and strategic partners, as well as in public relations.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in business development and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)

  • Representing TPG in seeking business opportunities with prospective customers, clients, and strategic partners, as well as in public relations.
  • Performing continuous analysis of the business and proactively providing insights on how the business can be improved.
  • Carrying out business development / administrative tasks.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in business development and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Business Analyst

  • Assisting the Corporate Department with all administrative tasks.
  • Performing continuous analysis of the business and proactively providing insights on how the business can be improved.
  • Carrying out business development / administrative tasks.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in business development and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Art Director

  • Leading the Creative department and overseeing all major creative / design tasks.
  • Carrying out creative / design tasks.
  • Ensuring that the vision of a business is adequately translated to the business’ Brand Identity.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in design and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Creative Director

  • Leading the Creative department and overseeing all major creative / design tasks.
  • Carrying out creative / design tasks.
  • Ensuring that the vision of a business is adequately translated to the business’ Brand Identity.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in design and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

  • Leading the Marketing efforts of TPG and our clients.
  • Performing Market Research with the aim of understanding the business, the industry, and the audience.
  • Developing a creative Brand Strategy tailored to the client’s business.
  • Managing social media channels and online presence.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in marketing and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Marketing Analyst

  • Performing Market Research with the aim of understanding the business, the industry, and the audience.
  • Developing a creative Brand Strategy tailored to the client’s business.
  • Managing social media channels and online presence.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in marketing and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Brand Designer

  • Carrying out creative / design tasks.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in design and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

  • Leading the Development department.
  • Leading the project management and product development of our digital product, Poly Atlas, and in the future also leading further web projects, in-house and for clients.
  • Carrying out front-end and back-end development tasks.
  • Ensuring smooth integration between front- and back-end.
  • Managing the technological infrastructure of the business including all software and hardware requirements.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in the latest technology, product development, and web development, and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Leading R&D activities and experimental projects.
  • Offering constructive feedback and proactively sharing insights.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

UX / UI Designer

  • Conducting User Experience research.
  • Developing UX Documentation, wireframing, prototyping, and testing.
  • Designing the UI of websites and web applications optimized for multiple resolutions and devices.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in UX & UI and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Front-End Developer

  • Carrying out front-end development tasks.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in the latest front-end technologies and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

Back-End Developer

  • Carrying out back-end development tasks.
  • Seeking continuously for best practices in the latest back-end technologies and considering how they can be best applied to our business and projects.
  • Offering creative input, constructive feedback, and proactively sharing insights.
  • Acting as a work-horse resource across the organization aiding with the workload as needed.

11. Hiring Policy

Our hiring policy relies on finding trustworthy team-members, prioritising their reliability over their skill level. It's always better to work with (1) a committed, passion-driven, reliable person who seeks excellence and who perhaps at the moments counts with a limited skill level but motivated to improve his skill set, than (2) an expert whose commitment relies only on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis.

The Poly Group grows organically, therefore a new member is a big deal for us. We developed our own system of recruitment to make sure each candidate will fit in perfectly fine with The Poly Group’s culture.


12. Team Guidelines

The Poly Group's goal is to offer each team-member his / her ideal job. We must focus our efforts in fostering a flexible and rewarding work philosophy which ensures transparent communication and a thriving partnership.

Like Gumroad’s creator said “We can’t compete with the comp packages that big tech companies can provide. […] We can compete–and win–on flexibility.” — sahillavingia.com/work

Our location-independent business model allows team members to work remotely in whichever schedule they find most suitable as long as they fulfill their weekly quota of work hours and comply with each task deadline.

However, lack of sufficient organization is the number one issue which affects a company’s performance. It’s difficult enough to maintain an organized workforce and reduce miscommunication in an small office environment, and it is considerably more difficult when managing a location-independent remote team distributed around different time-zones, with different native languages, different cultural backgrounds, and different workflows.

Our Employee Guidelines detail a set of principles that every team-member must follow to ensure a cohesive, efficient, and productive work environment.

Full guidelines ›› PolyFiles/01_Corporate/04_Human-Resources/DOC_TPG_Team-Guidelines

Team-Members are also encourage to follow our LinkedIn profile guidelines ›› PolyFiles/01_Corporate/04_Human-Resources/DOC_TPG_LinkedIn-Guidelines


13. Tech Infrastructure

Polyfen makes use of the best digital tools available to operate the business as efficiently as possible. Our software infrastructure includes the following tools:


Administrative:


Design:


Development:


Full survey of details and prices for each tool ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**


  • Partnership Agreement ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**
  • Internal Contract (pt. 1) Template ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**
  • Internal Contract (pt. 2) Template ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**
  • Polyfen’s Client Proposal Template ›› DOC_PLFN_Proposal_En_01_Template_Public

15. Financial Infrastructure

  • Fixed operational costs ›› **CONFIDENTIAL**
  • Profits distribution per project ›› 25% of our income per project is allocated to TPG’s treasury, 15% of our income is allocated to TPG’s Partners (in equal distribution amongst all Partners whether they’re Managing or Junior Partners), and the remaining 60% is to be distributed amongst all participating team-members in relation to their relative work hours of contribution.

We use ZipBooks (zipbooks.com) to keep track of all our financial activities.


16. HR Infrastructure

We keep track of all our team-member’s contact information and legal agreements on the following spreadsheet › **CONFIDENTIAL**


17. SWOT

Strenghts

  • Attentive customer care thanks to a reliable and efficient owner-supervised business model.
  • Our digital product Poly Atlas can leverage brand awareness and become an indirect source of income.
  • We are trustworthy and transparent. We communicate clearly and offer honest, professional advice.
  • We are passion-driven. We are excited to make every project something unique.
  • A rewarding work philosophy with a flexible, efficient schedule and a thriving culture that fosters education and growth.
  • While many businesses struggled to go fully digital and remote embracing the “work from home” lifestyle during the pandemic; Our business has been ready to successfully operate fully remote from the start.

Weaknesses

  • The lack of a large portfolio.
  • Our remote team, distributed around the world, demands an extra effort for each member.
  • Being a small team, it might be tricky to prioritize our work for clients and at the same time maintain our digital product, our Slack community, and stay active on social media.

Opportunities

  • We offer affordable prices in comparison to other businesses in our skill-level, thanks to our cost-efficient business model.
  • The internet age allows us to pitch our services to clients from all around the world.
  • Sharing case-studies about our work and other useful resources like our digital product will help us gain brand awareness and recognition from the industry.
  • During the pandemic, as businesses embraced the digital transformation, they are more open to hire foreign or location-independent businesses for their brand identity needs in a more competitive digital market.

Threats

  • The tech advancements that allow us to offer our services to clients worldwide also gives that possibility to all other creative agencies and freelancers, making the market fierce and competitive.
  • The cultural differences with the markets we’re designing for can be a problem for communicating with our clients and designing for their audience.
  • The risk of not finding clients for a long period after a project is finished, and risk of finding clients before a project is finished and committing to a project before we are ready for it.

18. Unique Value Proposition

Typically, it’s said that “A jack of all trades is a master of none”. The Poly Group however, offers integral Branding solutions, but each unique service (Business Consultancy, Brand Identity Design, Marketing, and Software Development) has been developed individually to perform at the highest level.

On the other hand, our competitors either focus their service offer on one specific niche, or they become generalists and lose their expert status.


19. Business Objectives

  1. Fostering a thriving work environment that promotes education and growth.
  2. Reaching profitable sustainability.
  3. Gaining thought-leader recognition in the branding industry.

20. Client Acquisition Strategy

Polyfen’s Client Acquisition Strategy rests on 3 legs:

  1. Identifying and cold contacting prospective clients through LinkedIn Sales.
  2. Launching a marketing campaign through Instagram leading to a Landing Page offering a free Brand Audit.
  3. Networking, leveraging our social media portfolio.
  4. Referrals through our network of Strategic Alliances with Marketing Agencies, VCs, Incubators, and Business Consultancy firms.

21. End-Game

Our end-goal at TPG focuses on expanding our “Attract, Catch, and Retain” business model.

We plan to incentivize our Attraction through a business consultancy agency which will, in turn offer Polyfen’s branding services, and further software development requirements if needed, and then accompany the client indefinitely as a marketing agency.

  1. Polybod: a Business Management Consultancy. polybod.com (under development)
  2. Polyfen: a creative agency offering Brand Identity Design services for new and emerging businesses. polyfen.com
  3. Polykad: a Marketing agency focused on executing digital strategies to achieve business results. polykad.com (under development)
  4. Polydit: a Software Development agency. polydit.com (under development)
  5. Poly Atlas: a web platform which features a guide of best practices in Branding. polyatlas.wiki
  6. Poly Forum: an international community of creatives dedicated to discussing Branding. polyforum.org

The goal of The Poly Group is to serve integral Branding solutions for every step of the process while segmenting our subsidiary Brands each one tailored for a different target group.

*Polydit is not shown in the graph since it can belong to [1] Business Development by working on a digital product development, [2] Brand Identity Design by developing an institutional website, and [3] Brand Activation by developing landing pages or other web solutions related to marketing campaigns.

Partitioning the business into different subsidiary organizations also aims to ensure that each service (Business Consultancy, Brand Identity Design, Software Development, and Marketing) performs at the highest level individually.

To set an example, we can consider Amazon’s business model. Since they run an online store with heavy traffic, they needed efficient, reliable web servers for hosting their site. Hence, CEO Jeff Bezos created a subsidiary organization, AWS (Amazon Web Servers). Ensuring that AWS performs at the highest level individually, good enough to handle Amazon’s traffic, they are also able to offer their hosting services to public consumers killing two birds with one stone.

The benefit of our business model is that instead of “catching and releasing” clients (performing Brand Identity Design services for a client and then letting them go), we can cross-sell and “catch and retain” clients (after a Polyfen’s Brand ID project is finished, we can offer Polykad’s continuous marketing services).


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