Setting out to build your business from scratch is exciting, challenging and a new venture- but after all, experience is king in building your brand. As an Indian Branding Agency, we have known the ups and downs of businesses; we have seen where they thrive and where they falter.
It is a confusing, turbulent world out there for any startup- the initial costs are high with no guarantee of returns. Companies are often disappointed by their performance, but they cannot point their finger at what they are struggling with even when the product is performing as advertised.
There is often the underlying assumption that the product is the end solution in itself- the logic is that if the product performs well, there would be an automatic engagement with the brand, resulting in the growth of the Brand name and reputation. Solely depending upon the product to discrete sales is a pitfall- other factors can determine what performs and what doesn’t.
It might not seem obvious to most small businesses, but investing in the brand means investing in the industry: time, effort and money need to be poured into a brand strategy to set clear definitions and goals of the brand and work on ideas that would further the brand.
A good Branding agency can help you realize, clarify and communicate your brand identity, strategy and design. Not only will it help you get your message across to your customer, but it will also set a foundation for you to gear your efforts.
What Branding Services you need
Let’s face it: you are reading this because you know you need help in building your brand. If that is the case, and you’re looking for specific services that you might need, then there are three elementary areas that you should look at when going about the process of Branding:
1. Brand Design
If you feel like everything works, but the brand’s identity does not come through, then you would be wise to consider getting help in this aspect of the business.
Experts in the field of Brand Design will provide you with marketing materials and visual aids to identify and separate yourself from your competitors: these include your logo, colour scheme, taglines, among others.
2. Brand Strategy
As a corporate boss, you are aware of the importance of enticing customers with new products and making them generally flock towards you in anticipation of your product.
Brand Strategy experts analyze the way companies achieve this result- they look at all aspects of the brand that deal with customer engagement and build a strategy that attracts, retains and increases customers.
3. Brand Management
Marketing is a crucial part of Branding- it is the primary way to drive sales and push your company’s image forward. Managing it is essential, and that is why any brand needs to work its marketing materials.
Marketing materials can consist of an appropriate logo, advertisements through social media marketing, billboard designs and locations, and content-driven campaigns like blogs and brochures.
You might also be disappointed by your brand performance to the extent that you want to change it entirely, or you might be looking for greener pastures. It is a risky endeavour that might or might not yield results, and you should only consider it when the results just aren’t coming through (reactive rebranding) or if the company is looking to expand (proactive rebranding)
Rebranding requires a lot of self-introspection and reflection, and the new brand identity needs to separation from the old one. A good branding agency will provide a steady helping hand to guide you through the process.
A good Social Media Marketing Agency will ideally have access to all four types of experts and, therefore, take care of your needs without you breaking a sweat. It will provide brand building and management services as well as innovative, on-the-move solutions to unique problems.
Branding Agency Shortlisting criteria :
Before you dive headfirst into the long list of Branding Companies, it is essential to have some clarity before selecting one. Some things to consider are:
1. Do your homework:
Look up the top agencies on the market- but just because they are at the top of their field, it does not mean that they will automatically be suitable for you.
Carefully vet different agencies, and select one that aligns with your interests. Check your network and consider rankings before selection.
2. Be incredibly clear
Before selecting a branding agency, you need to be clear about what you’re looking for. We know that it is a difficult task, and yes, it requires a lot of self-introspection to achieve this clarity.
It is often unclear what is going wrong with your Branding and why you need help, so it is simply a question of identifying the gaps. Making a laid out plan for your business goals and communicating expected results is the way to go.
3. Be realistic: Do not overdo your budget
you need only as much as you think is necessary. The initial investment in branding agencies is high, but so are the rewards.
It is always helpful if you are realistic about how long the process will take, both in cases of short and long term goals. Communicate it with your team to keep your expectations in order and keep your hired branding agency in check.
4. Set appropriate expectations
Always communicate how long you expect the branding process to take. Arriving at a mutual goal is beneficial for both of you, but at the same time, take care not to set unrealistic expectations in a hurry.
5. Tap your network
If you’re a corporate leader, your existing business network should function well enough to vet different agencies.
As mentioned earlier, look at agencies with a good reputation and solid record and look for different approaches. Select those agencies that have solutions that resonate with you.
6. Choose three agencies
Don’t limit yourself to one agency in particular: a wider net can get you different perspectives and approaches to the problems you face: set out with multiple agencies, then narrow it down to three that work for you.
7. Compare apples to apples
Once you have your three agencies, give them identical tasks to complete: let them prepare a proposal, time goal, branding team and price for your problem.
Ask these critical questions:
Question 1: Who will be working with my company, and what qualifications do they have as a creative and Branding expert?
Always look at a company’s industry experience and satisfied clientele before deciding to work with them.
Look for these factors before selection:
- Ensure that they can deliverIt is wise to know the difference between a company that stalls and a company that provides results. Ask them to show their records and analyze previous case studies that had similar problems to yours. If you’re satisfied with their last results, go forward with it.
- Look for partnership: Look for agencies that are seeking partners, not clients. The aim should be to work together towards a common goal- not to make money off each other. Cost is essential, but ultimately a wrong partner can end up costing more than money.
- Select transparency and expertise: Always look for clarity in how they aim to meet your goals- without that, your Branding will be a shot in the dark. Thousands of firms exist, but if they don’t understand your industry, it would be harmful to partner with them.
- Look for the agency’s network: No agency will have the capacity to meet all client requirements; therefore, it is essential to select one with an already-established network. It will allow you to get directions towards different help points and ultimately find you a one-stop-shop for solutions.
- Examine the team provided to you: Agencies will often have multiple teams working together for a client. Evaluate the time that you get, look for their chemistry, expertise and familiarity with your industry.
- Look at employee retention rates: Any good agency or business will have cycles of employees coming and leaving. In the field of Branding, employees are especially hard to retain because of its changing nature. Agencies that have a track record of good employee retention provide better, more consistent services.
- Find out what success means for the agency: Success is a very subjective word- it is straightforward to get confused between the promises of brand popularity and impression and lose track of the main goal: to increase sales. Creativity and flashiness do not matter if your goals are not met adequately.
Question 2: Does your agency have a speciality, and if so, what is it?
Branding agencies can claim to cover all aspects of Branding or specialize in the type of branding experience they provide.
Since marketing is a big part of Branding, some agencies will specialize in various forms of marketing. They will use it as a base to approach your goals; some of them can be:
- Direct marketing: They focus on media that directly approaches the customer. They have a dedicated channel for the customers to get back to you. Examples include email campaigns, telephone teams, letters or postcards.
- Digital Marketing: The internet is the primary focus for these companies- they use banner advertising, email campaigns and viral posts to boost your brand.
- Social Media Marketing: A subset of Digital Marketing, these companies focus their attention on social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest to communicate directly with a large customer base. They specialize in monitoring these networks and maintaining contact with potential and existing customers.
- Shopper activation: Agencies like these focus on the complete in-store experience- they use media and curate promotional strategies that make the customer go along the “path of purchase”. The process they create is rewarding, fulfilling and drives customer loyalty.
- Public Relations: PR firms focus on the image your company is supposed to project. Their goal is to create a reliable and value-oriented outlook for your company, using methods like press releases, inter-company competitions, newsletters, media talk shows, blogs and newspaper articles.
Be specific if the kind of agency you’re going for aligns with the best way, according to you, to promote your product and build your brand. Because they offer different approaches, they all provide different ways your company is viewed, so vet them carefully.
Question 3: Does your agency have experience with clients in my industry, and can I see examples of work you’ve done in my field?
Any agency worth the money must have a proven, clean record. Do not only go by their claims of satisfied customers but also use your market networks to gauge if what they are saying is true. There might be ten unsatisfied customers for every satisfied one in many cases, so do your research correctly.
If the company’s claims check out, ask for examples of their previous work in your field and compare the results, they have given to the results you want. It is important because the results you expect may not be the results provided to you by the agency, even if there is no lack of quality.
For example, you might be wanting to reach out to a younger demographic by focusing on Social media marketing. Still, the company provides high-quality newspaper articles that attract an older generation of consumers that do not consume your product. Always be result-oriented when looking for agencies.
Question 4: What should I expect when working with your agency?
Be clear on the areas that both of you need to remain constantly in contact with- look for transparency and quick and concise communication.
Some agencies often keep their clients in the dark for periods- it is not always a bad thing. However- you must let the company do its work. If it is an already-trusted company, you can happily allow them to work away, but transparency and authenticity are essential if you’re new to the business world.
Question 5 : What is your fee?
Payment is essential to business- at the end of the day, you provide money for services offered. Branding agencies charge a pretty penny so that initial investments will be high- you should only spend large quantities if you’re sure about the quality of work they provide.
Test the waters by asking for quotes from the companies that interest you. Often, they will be happy to give you an approximate estimate of the money required. Start slow, and if you’re satisfied by the results and ROI, you can go deeper into the branding field with your partner company.
You deserve the best for your business needs, and your brand needs investment and care. It is always a wise decision to look for help if you’re in uncharted waters- a branding agency is precisely that- a helping hand. You might think that whatever you do is correct, but it is a bitter pill to swallow when the results don’t match your expectations.
Branding agencies will partner with you for many mutual benefits, and you will coexist together because your success means their success. After all, through you, they will build their brand.
We’re sure that this blog has been helpful to you if you’re looking for agencies to hire and given you clarity. If you’re unsure about the process still, please reach out to us at your convenience.
We at DesignerPeople focus on digital Branding and marketing. We are open to all inquiries- we believe it is fair and honest to be transparent, and our communication channels are never closed. Our years of toilsome work and consistency have made us one of the best branding agencies in the market, and our experience and clientele speak for themselves. Connect with us today at www.designerpeople.com to discuss our potential partnership!