Features of a Great Branding Agency
Just like anything else in business you can always get a version of what you are looking for cheaper elsewhere. But at what cost?
It can be tempting to look towards the lower rates of a freelancer, or to task generalist internal resource to save expense.
But choosing cheap poses the kind of risk that leads to rework, missed deadlines and bad feeling. It is better to engage a professional team with a reputation for delivering across a range of branding disciplines.
A professional firm may cost more in the short term, but you are going to receive a high calibre service that leads to improved business performance. There are countless branding agencies operating today, with the market size of the Brand consultancy Industry in the UK rising to £1.3bn in 2021, according to Ibisworld. Businesses need to look carefully at the credentials of those being considered, seek testimonials, and make choices based on demonstrable results rather than reputation alone. And certainly not the rates card.
When selecting an agency to manage a branding programme, a company is laying a lot on the line. The agency is being trusted to deliver higher levels of awareness in the business, improve the image of the company and its brand build communications that resonate with prospective customers.
A poor fit between a business and an agency can lead to misaligned goals, low levels of creativity and inefficiencies in delivery. So what traits are crucial for long-term success when picking an agency to work with?
A Diverse Branding Portfolio
When choosing a branding agency, a diverse branding portfolio is one of the first things to look for. Every branding agency will think of themselves as being the best choice for the job, but a broad portfolio will demonstrate expertise that transcends the formulaic.
Without consultation it’s difficult to form an understanding of how a branding agency’s expertise might align with specific business needs. An initial meeting will be an opportunity for an agency to share specific examples of creativity in their work - it’s not uncommon for branding agencies to have strength in a particular area. For example, if the agency develops particularly effective logos, it is vital to look at some case studies. According to Crowdspring, it takes less than 10 seconds to form an opinion about a brand’s logo. That’s why you need to make sure that the approach and design ethos of the agency is the right fit for your brand.
Aligned Around Commercial Goals
One of the most important factors companies should focus on when choosing an agency is how the creative team makes design proposals relative to the key business objectives. This is according to Jeremiah Smith of Simpletiger.
No two agencies are the same and how a company will work together with an agency team to achieve project goals is extremely important. Selection can often be made based on client lists, track records in awards programmes or reputation alone. Culture fit is arguably more important than any of these factors as it will determine the nature and success of team communication and the ability to bring the required skill sets to the fore and deploy expertise most effectively.
According to Fundera, as many as 89% of consumers relate to brands that share the same values as them. This is just as true of the relationship between agency and client
A Commitment to Regular Communication
If an agency appears to be the right fit, with the right expertise, then communication is where things can be won or lost.
Throughout the Request For Proposal (RFP) process, a good agency will ensure that all communication is well organized, detailed and specific. This is time when those who don’t appreciate attention to detail or the importance of collaboration will fall out of consideration.
A commitment to good communication will lead to timely updates, regular status calls, or check-ins, and are always in a tone of collaboration and partnership. The right branding agency will feel like an extension of an internal team.
A Reputation for Great Branding
AIt’s important to look closely at an agency team and assess whether individuals have the right expertise to deliver a branding campaign for a specific industry. The right team will demonstrate a high level of competency – with a unique approach or toolkit that is likely to unlock a more novel solution.
In the context of a branding project, this might focus on creating unique content, messaging and design that dramatically improves the identity of your business. Contently reported that 61% of consumers were far more likely to buy into a brand with original, engaging and informative content.
A Well-defined Branding Process
The likely success of branding campaigns can be improved by the use of evidence-based methodologies to develop design solutions.
A well-defined research or insight based approach will help an agency guide a company through the process of differentiating themselves from competitors effectively. It will provide a basis for the design team to challenge certain beliefs and unlock new ways of approaching opportunity.
Getting a clear brand strategy in place is one thing and executing it to a high level of quality is another. An effective team will be multi disciplinary, bringing together researchers, analysist and designers to ensure ideas are driven by true insight. The world class branding services practised by Recipe Design are founded on the Meaning Centred Design™ process that is unique to the team.
This article was first published in December 2021