Branding requires time, money, and some risk as a financial investment. But it’s also one of the smartest investments you can make for your business.
Knowing how to choose the right branding agency with important attributes and the big picture in mind is absolutely essential. There’s nothing worse than going through the rigorous rebranding process, spending precious time and resources, only having to do it again because you decided on the wrong partner for your business.
Many criteria must be considered when choosing the best branding agency for you, from their advertising services, creative solutions, and digital marketing team, to their clearly articulated process, brand image, and ability to do market research and provide a fresh perspective.
It’s also an excellent idea to consider the agency’s diverse portfolio. You want to ensure their creative team understands your target audience and specific branding needs is data-driven, and has a well-established process from beginning to end, starting with brand discovery.
Let’s explore everything you need to know to choose the right branding agency for you.
What is a Branding Agency?
First thing’s first, what exactly is a branding agency?
A branding agency is a firm that specializes in creating and launching brands and rebranding existing brands for long-term success. The role of a creative agency specializing in brand strategy is to create, plan, measure, and manage branding strategies for clients, including support in brand positioning, brand promotion, and other forms of brand messaging.
Many branding agencies also boast an internal marketing team and are experts in digital marketing, website development, and social media management. This is especially helpful for brands that are looking to develop a long-term partnership with consistent growth, better reach, and a leading edge against your competitors.
What Does a Branding Agency Do?
So, what does a branding agency do?
As mentioned, a branding agency’s primary focus is to help new and existing brands hone in on their brand identity, create new print and digital assets, clearly communicate its services, develop a brand message and visual identity that correlate with the company’s overall vision, and follow a well-defined process that is rooted in evidence-based methodologies
.In short, the focus of a branding agency is on either an existing or new brand and its branding needs. After all, branding is the foundation of any successful business or company. Without it, business owners can’t expect to have a clear vision with well-organized decisions and an execution plan.
The perfect branding agency will showcase a pre-established branding process, from brand positioning to understanding brand identity and ultimately creating brand guidelines with a logo, motto, and public statement. These components make a strong brand stand out from the competition. Branding agencies refer to this as a brand’s key differentiator.
When choosing a branding agency, be careful in your selection process. Be sure to discuss the foundation of your business, clarify your goals and objectives, and communicate your visual identity. From this information, the branding agency should be able to provide examples of measurable results from past clients.
Keep an eye out for a diverse portfolio that matches your company’s industry. Look for the right expertise and ensure they have the right tools and resources to make them a good partner. Speak with their former clients and create a list of essential attributes and requirements, as this is a good indicator of future success and a critical step in the selection process.
If after extensive research and communication you decide that they are the right agency for you, they should help provide a strategy to grow your brand and provide you with the right toolkit to embed your brand purpose, values, positioning, and identity into every aspect of your business, from social media, to print collateral, and beyond.
Keep in mind that each creative branding agency is different. They can be many things to many different companies. As mentioned previously, branding services vary greatly. Additionally, the expertise in the industry varies greatly, and it’s ultimately your responsibility to vet them, dive into their diverse portfolio, and determine if they have the right expertise to help your new brand or existing brand reach new heights.
The branding agency can be your strategist, creative, and design team. But overall, the role of a branding agency is to create, plan, manage, and measure your overall branding strategy in the early states of your new business or rebrand. Creative agencies help you redefine your purpose and understand that branding is a good way to help build values within larger companies over one million in revenue, while building brand awareness and brand equity.
Why Should You Consider Hiring an Agency?
In previous articles, we’ve explored why branding and marketing are essential to any company’s growth and success in any industry. This includes social media marketing, website development, connecting with your audience through targeted ads, and other digital strategies.
Now, this is no easy feat. Each of these elements takes significant time and resources, and many companies just don’t have the budget and human resources required to pull it off—especially in the early stages of a company. That said, the process of branding is vital, which is why an agency partner is an excellent and cost-effective choice for new brands and brands on a budget.
Your business brand allows you to gain a competitive advantage, differentiate your products and services in the industry, build a robust portfolio of customers, and increase brand awareness—the key to success in today’s heavily trend-driven and influencer-based market.
Enlisting the help of other agencies allows you to accomplish all of these things and more. They will also have the right industry connections to elevate your brand to the next level.
Your need to find the right expertise can result in a long-drawn out process that involves vetting many agencies, but rest assured it is well worth the process.
What Questions Should I Ask?
When entering into any conversation about the potential of hiring a partner, here are the top questions you should ask, whether it’s a branding agency, creative agency, naming agency or marketing agency.
- Has a previous client experienced any notable roadblocks, challenges, or triumphs that you can speak to? If so, what were they? What did you do?
- What is your agency’s industry reputation? Why?
- What makes you a good branding agency?
- How do you differentiate your branding agency from other companies?
- Why are brand identity and brand strategy essential elements to the success of a business?
- Do you prefer working with new or existing brands?
- Most agencies have an extensive portfolio of clients. Can you share some insight into your past clients and industry expertise?
- What is your vetting process for bringing on a new company? How do you know if it will be a prosperous partnership?
With the answers to these questions in hand, you can choose a branding agency that makes sense for you and your brand. Different branding agencies will respond to these questions differently, potentially mentioning marketing strategy, clients, and why rebranding can spur new life, process, and services.
Remember, there are many criteria to consider when deciding whether or not a particular creative agency is a good fit. Many agencies will also choose to vet you and your brand with a branding questionnaire. This is a good indicator of a legitimate branding agency that cares about its clients. They want to ensure that the partnership makes sense and is mutually beneficial.
How Do I Know If They’re a Good Fit?
Before jumping on the phone with a branding company or marketing agency, consider the following preliminary components and essential traits.
Creative agencies vary greatly, so use the following checklist to determine if they’re a good fit for your industry and brand and will provide the necessary attention and collaboration required to succeed with your target audience.
- Most branding agencies have extensive experience in many different industries. Consider their portfolio, expertise, past clients, and examples of their work.
- Different agencies have other processes and procedures. Before you choose a branding agency, consider their specifics and what kind of guidance they offer through the branding process.
- Consider how branding companies interact with their clients and which method will work best for you and your team.
- Before you choose a branding agency, you need to consider your budget.
How Much Do Branding Agencies Cost?
Depending on the marketing and branding services offered, your price tag may vary. It’s essential to be transparent upfront, explain your budget, and ask for an honest quote.
Different branding agencies will have additional costs, so before you choose a branding agency, ensure you compare the pros and cons. Stay firm and realistic, and don’t be afraid to ask for a custom package with marketing and branding services that fit your business model best.
Most marketing and branding agencies are in the range of tens of thousands of dollars each month. There are also branding agencies just starting that may offer a more competitive price point for your business.
Consider the benefits of hiring an agency with more experience versus an agency with less experience but more affordable options. While you may be firm in wanting to work with the best branding agencies, it may not always be the best option for your business.
So, you’ve decided that your new or existing business requires some assistance. You’re ready to partner with an external branding agency and take your business to the next level. As mentioned, start by understanding your internal business, your vision for the future, and the order you need to grow. For many brands, it’s best to start with a BrandBuild™ process.
BrandBuild™ is Creatitive’s trademarked process of developing an athletic company’s brand identity and buyer persona and building brand awareness to increase revenue for business to consumer businesses. You want the best for your company—consistent growth, better reach, a leading edge against your competitors—and the best experience for your customer. And this all starts with brand discovery.