Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work to forge and develop strong relationships with people – and a majority of that work is done through marketing. Unless you have a hyper-talented internal team to help you articulate and tell your story, you’ll probably need some help crafting and executing your marketing strategy. But searching for someone to help you do this is often confusing. So many different types of agencies exist – so how do you know whether you should hire a branding agency, a marketing agency, or an ad agency?
The market is overflowing with branding agencies, but it’s crucial to find and hire the one that understands your business goals and vision and can translate that information into your brand identity. In this article, we are going to break down everything you need to know about branding agencies. It will help you understand what they are and how to go about finding one.
What Is a Branding Agency Anyway?
A branding agency refers to a company that offers a variety of services that fall under various categories of marketing and advertising. If you are looking to develop any promotion or branding strategy, branding agencies will help get it all done.
Although some branding agencies specialize in one particular service more than another, they usually provide the following:
- Strategy services, including the development of an advertising strategy, brand strategy, content strategy, marketing strategy, and social media strategy;
- Content creation services, including annual reports, case studies, blogs, articles, branding, copywriting, content planning and publishing, data visualization, e-books, explainer videos, graphic design, various interactives, animated videos, presentations, white papers, video, motion graphics, web design, web development, etc.;
- Communications services, including media purchases, influencer marketing, paid placement, sponsored content, influencer marketing, and PR.
In short, a branding agency is a creative contractor that helps your brand tell its story.
How Branding Agencies Differ from Other Agencies?
People often wonder what’s the difference between branding agencies and agencies of other sorts that seem to do a similar thing. While some agencies may provide services that overlap with a branding agency, many agencies focus on one particular service or category. Take a look at the list below.
An agency that offers design services for a variety of visual mediums, including print and digital.
This moniker is normally reserved for an agency that focuses on digital marketing strategies like SEO and lead generation.
An agency focused specifically on advertising (digital, TV, radio, print, etc.). It may or may not provide marketing services.
An agency that offers promotional and content distribution services to maximize brand awareness.
An agency focused on various on-site and search marketing strategies and tactics to increase traffic and generate leads.
Social media agency
Specializes in social strategies and management of social media accounts.
A branding agency usually encompasses one or more of these services and focuses on creating a company’s brand identity. Meanwhile, other strategies are used to support the created image.
How Can a Branding Agency Help You?
There are many services a branding agency provides. Whether you need them to fill in the gaps in your marketing team or take the reins entirely, branding agencies can help.
- Develop a strategy. If you don’t know what you’re doing, not sure you’re doing the right thing, or can’t figure out how to start, a branding company can provide the guidance you need to achieve your marketing goals.
- Support your current strategy. If you know what you want to do but need help executing your overall strategy, a branding firm can provide that support in the form of content creation, media placement, editorial planning, or social media advertising.
- Provide expert knowledge and resources. A good branding company has experience and insight to help improve your results. They know what works, what doesn’t, where trends are moving, and more. They also have a larger network of content creators who can help you (even if they don’t ultimately provide the services you’re looking for).
How to Find a Reliable Branding Agency?
Not all branding agencies are right for you and your particular needs. We recommend interviewing several different agencies to ensure whichever one you end up picking is the right one.
Below are six questions to ask yourself when you’re considering hiring a branding agency.
Do you love their work?
Reviewing an agency’s portfolio is the logical first step- you should always find a prospective agency’s work swoon-worthy! Does their portfolio align with the type of brand identity, logo, website, and blog you hope to create? Look for portfolio diversity: a strong agency will have a variety of work that aligns with the various styles, needs, and tastes of their clients. While every designer tends to have a style, it’s important to see varying aesthetics represented – soft, modern, traditional, and others. If you aren’t sure whether an agency can accommodate you, ask! Some designers are eager to switch things up and be challenged. And this can often bring out excellent work.
Do they handle their development?
Nothing can bog down a project more quickly than having to outsource web development. There are some wonderful developers out there; however, in our experience, nothing beats having someone in-house to handle quality control, questions, and customer support.
Are their clients raving about their work?
A great agency should have testimonials on their website. Be sure to double-check those testimonials by clicking through their clients’ sites so that you can review the work firsthand.
Are they active on social media?
I hate to say it, but there some not-so-nice people out there. One way to gauge how much a company cares about its clients is by checking out social media accounts. Do clients like and comment on their posts? Does the company take time to interact with its fans and followers? That’s a pretty good sign that they are passionate about their business (and their clients!) and that others believe in what they’re doing.
Do you feel comfortable with their process?
A professional agency will always emphasize contracts, deposits, project timelines, and response times. If the company you’re considering is slow to answer questions and doesn’t want to secure your working relationship with a contract and deposit, you could end up losing out in the end.
Did you feel comfortable when you spoke with them on the phone or Skype? Personality is also an important factor not to be overlooked. You’re going to be working closely with this person for the next few months. It should be someone you look forward to communicating with and whom you feel understands your work, vision, and approach.
Taking time for this kind of due diligence will help you find a branding agency that will not only develop a brand identity you should end up loving but will make the process a pleasure from start to finish. Your brand image will speak to your audience well before they decide to call you or visit your website – it will communicate your particular message once they see your logo. So, make sure to find and hire the best branding agency possible for your company.