There will come a time when you’re ready to build a new brand or evolve your existing brand, and what you’ll quickly come to find out is there’s a wide range of options to choose from. While there are many important facets to growing an organization, one of the most critical is brand building. It’s important you do your homework while searching for the right fit. Choosing a branding agency can be confusing and many organizations are often left not knowing where to start.
Here are a few things you should look out for while choosing a branding agency:
Make sure to check out their previous work1. This will give you a clear idea of what you can expect and the branding agency’s level of expertise. Do all their designs and messaging look the same? Make sure to look for diversity, innovation and creativity in their work. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for success stories – they should be able to tell you how they have helped organizations reach their goals. Every branding agency will tell you they can get the job done, so it’s imperative they have proof with results.
Although it’s beneficial to work with an agency that knows your industry, make sure they are able to tell you how they will differentiate you from other organizations2. They should be able to use their knowledge in your industry, while creating completely unique, custom messaging and design for your organization’s needs.
A branding agency should be an extension of your team, so it’s important to make sure they are a good cultural fit. Agencies that have a similar value proposition to your organization will likely make the branding process go smoothly. Favor agencies that are collaborative, proactive and innovative. In the end, there will be a lot of collaboration between your people and theirs, so it’s crucial your teams mesh well in order for both teams to have a good experience.
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Typically, agencies will have an outline prepared in terms of what their general process looks like. Make sure you find out how they work before sealing the deal. What does their research process look like? How will they ensure deadlines are met? What tools do they use for efficiency? You should have a clear understanding of timeline, how they communicate, how assets will be delivered and anything else that will determine the flow of your project.
Price obviously matters, especially in today’s challenging environment. However, pricing should not be at the forefront of your decision making process. Remember, you are paying for the quality you can expect. Branding agencies with cheap price tags likely won’t be delivering high quality work, and may end up causing you a big headache down the road. Remember, by investing in branding, you are investing in your entire organization’s image.
It’s also important to discuss payment schedules and price of revisions upfront so there’s no surprises along the way. Your contract will likely include a specific number of allowed revisions until they are considered an additional work order. Make sure this is something you’ve planned for in your branding budget.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, your organization should come up with a list of questions that are most important to its specific needs. Here are a few internal and external example questions to help you get started.
Questions to Ask Internally
- What are your organization’s branding needs?
- Who will be the point of contact between you and the agency?
- Who will have final approval over deliverables?
- What is your vision of success?
- What areas of expertise are most important to you?
- What are some brands you admire?
- What would you like your brand to communicate?
Questions to Ask Potential Agencies
- What range of services do you provide?
- What clients have you worked with in the past?
- How many people will be dedicated to my project?
- Do you have a portfolio including past works?
- What kind of ROI can I expect?
- What is your current workload?
- If you miss a deadline, what does that mean for my project?
- What tools and resources are used to achieve results?
- Is the team pitching us the same team we will be working with?
- How do you help brands differentiate themselves from competitors?
- Do they have any testimonials from previous clients?