Most of the branding agencies will claim they have it all that your brand need, so how do you pick the right one? Here are a few tips for choosing the best branding agency. For a long time now, businesses have been aware of the fact that their success depends on much more than the quality of their product or service. It’s equally important to create a brand image that fits the company’s philosophy, addresses its target group and reflects the company’s position on the market.
There’s really no precise recipe on how to make the most out of your branding efforts. One size doesn’t fit all in this case. Which road you should take depends on long-term plans and ideas you have about your particular business.
7 Tips While Choosing a Branding Agency
In any event, turning to professionals for help with this matter is usually a good move. It’s very difficult for a layman to build an entire brand identity from scratch. This job involves a great load of creativity and out-of-box thinking, as well as a thorough knowledge of the market, experience in the advertising industry and a data-driven strategic approach.
Define the basics yourself
The first and most important condition for creating and maintaining a desirable brand image is, simply put, knowing what you want. This prerequisite may sound too obvious, but sometimes companies seem to forget about it. And if you’re completely clueless about what kind of brand identity you wish to establish, then the whole project is destined to fail miserably.
Naturally, the branding agency will help you with articulating all the tricky stuff, but you’ll have to have at least a basic idea about your core values, your brand mission and a general direction in which you wish to develop your image. If you can’t define what you want and communicate it to the agency, then you’re very likely not to get it.
Once you have that settled, the search can start. It’s ok, to begin with, simple Google searches and a cruise around social media. Check the reviews and ratings and ask around for recommendations, especially from company owners and executives that have already been through this process. Then make a list of agencies that seem competent, credible and reputable and prepare for further filtering.
Check their portfolio
A natural next step when looking for a branding agency to hire is to thoroughly analyze the history of their work. Every serious branding agency will openly display their detailed portfolio, along with some case studies, awards and concrete results they have achieved in their most noteworthy campaigns.
Most of the agencies you come across will claim that they’re dedicated, detail-oriented and result-driven. But it’s not really the best idea to just take their word for it. Take a good look at what they’ve worked on and accomplished in the past and decide for yourself if you’ll trust them or not.
While you’re still at their portfolios, you should pay attention to another little thing. Namely, branding is a holistic and comprehensive process that includes all sorts of promotion, advertising, and PR tricks. That means that a high-quality branding agency should be able to handle branding and promotional activities across many different channels. For successful branding, versatility is key and an agency has to understand the uniqueness of each medium they’ll use.
But there’s more. Behind all these activities that take place on different platforms, there has to be a sound and consistent identity. If an agency has succeeded in providing this to their former clients, it indicates a careful, strategic and integral approach. It’s a definite plus for them.
Experience in your branch
Another factor you’ll have to take into account is whether an agency has experience in your industry. It’s not essential that they have it, but it can be helpful in certain circumstances. If they have already worked with companies from a related niche, they are likely to possess crucial knowledge of your market. They’ll also have a good understanding of the vital pain points of your target group. This enables them to put into effect different emotion-driven branding tactics that can bring good things to your business.
On the other hand, there are reasons to avoid agencies that have already worked with your competition, especially if they seem to be specialized in your branch. There’s a danger that they will handle the tasks in a routine fashion, with pre-made templates and ideas they’ve already used to some extent.
Of course, this is not the right way to go. Every brand is unique and should be treated as such. Sometimes, branding agencies that have worked with too many businesses similar to each other fail to understand this, so hiring one with experience in your industry can be a kind of a two-edged sword. However, if the agency has respected the uniqueness of different brands in their previous campaigns there’s a good chance they won’t make this mistake.
Size of the branding agency
You’ll also need to make sure that the size of the agency fits your needs. There are multiple pros and cons to both small and big agencies. Big ones are usually more experienced and credible, but they also have a large number of clients. This means that you’re probably not their top priority and there’s a chance that they won’t be fully dedicated to your campaigns. Also, big and widely acclaimed agencies tend to be quite pricey.
However, small agencies will more often lack reliability. Moreover, if your business is too large, the agency might not be able to handle the amount of work needed for branding efforts to be successful.
Hence you’ll have to be careful when making this decision. Whichever way you go, make sure the agency is reputable and that they don’t lack the capacities to fulfill all your needs.
See how they brand themselves
Apart from taking a peek at their portfolio, you should also check the agencies’ website, social media and other channels they use to promote themselves. A fast and carefully designed website, regular and well-written content, as well as appealing visual identity across multiple channels, are signs of good work ethics and dedication.
Furthermore, if they have a company blog, it can bear witness to their expertise and competence. Besides, this often means that they’re not just knowledgeable. But also ready to spread this knowledge around, which might be an indicator of their passion and enthusiasm.
The fitting mentality for choosing the branding agency
Finally, choosing the right branding agency doesn’t come down to finding the most skillful and successful one. It’s also very important that you have mutually fitting mentalities. For instance, some agencies are more spontaneous and inclined to improvise from time to time. While others have rigid rules and timetables. Some agencies are slow and methodical, while some feed on speed and rely on intuition.
Finding an agency with suitable character and philosophy is more important than it might seem. Namely, branding a business is a long-term project and entails a long-term relationship. It’s not supposed to be a one-off job but a stable partnership.
The best way to get the most out of your branding efforts is to find an agency. It perfectly understands the way your company works and what it stands for. And who will understand it better if not an agency with a similar mentality and their employees. A corresponding state of mind?
In order to really get to know the agency, you’ll be working with. Meeting them face to face on several occasions is crucial. Only then you’ll be able to tell whether there’s a special bond between you. That can turn into a successful long-term partnership.
Choosing a Branding Agency Final thoughts
In conclusion, hiring a branding agency is a very important decision for your business. Hence you have to be careful, take your time and do your homework. There are a number of factors you need to take into account. So, you should try to find a perfect balance between all of them. Top-class branding can make a whole difference between a moderately successful business and a household name. Don’t miss your opportunity to capitalize on this fact.