How to Choose the Best Branding Agency for Your Business
Your company's brand is one of its most valuable assets. It's how your customers, clients, and prospects perceive you, and your brand guides everything from your marketing strategy to the design of your website and logo to your internal company culture. So when it's time to rebrand or launch a new brand, it's crucial to choose a branding agency that will do more than just create pretty visuals or build you a new website. You need a creative agency that takes a "strategy forward" approach and will help you create a brand that resonates with your target audience and drives business results.
Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing the best branding agency for your business:
Make Sure Branding is Their Thing
It might seem obvious, but when it’s time to brand or rebrand your business, you need to look for…wait for it…a branding agency. Not a web developer, not a graphic designer, not a copywriter, not even a marketing agency that says they do branding but also offers a million other marketing-related services. You want your business branded by a true branding agency whose core competency is - yeah, you guessed it - BRANDING.
A good branding agency will understand that a great brand is more than a logo and how to position your company in the market, craft a unique value proposition, and create distinct visual identity elements that work together to create a cohesive brand experience.
Many people think branding starts with visual design, but a good branding agency will want to get to know your company inside and out before they even begin thinking about visuals. While, of course, you want a creative agency that can provide catchy copywriting, a snazzy logo, and eye-catching graphic design, these should be secondary considerations only after the agency has been able to fully get to know your business, understand your brand goals, and grasp the core of your business.
Look for a branding agency with a strategy-forward approach. Branding should start with research to fully understand your business goals, target audience, competition, and what makes you unique. This will set the foundation for your brand strategy and positioning statement and inform what comes to life when it’s time to dive into visual assets.
At Quill, we always start with a brand consulting session so that we can truly understand where a brand is currently at and how we can help. We strongly believe in establishing that foundation of understanding so that we can help you determine exactly what your brand needs to move forward.
Creative Portfolio & Proof of Brand Success
Any brand agency worth its salt will have a solid portfolio of case studies that demonstrates its design and strategy capabilities. It's important to see how the creative agency's designers and brand consultants work together to create a cohesive brand and bring it to life across messaging and design. Look for a diverse range of styles in their portfolio, as well as clients from different industries represented in their work. This shows that they have the flexibility to successfully design and strategize to suit any brand, and have the experience and expertise to produce high-quality branding to support your business’s success.
They’ve Got Connections
A good branding agency will be experts in their fields but they’ll also know experts in other creative fields and be able to make recommendations for vendors outside the scope of their work, such as videography, web design, photography, copywriting, etc. Versatility is the name of the game and an agency that is well-connected with a network of other high-level creative professionals can help you with all aspects of your branding needs. Plus, you can be sure that you’ll be working with other quality creators.
Clear Process & Good Communication
A reputable branding agency should have a tried-and-true process that they use on all of their projects. Before you commit to an agency, make sure they can clearly explain the process they follow with their clients from start to finish. This process should include everything from initial discovery and research to brand strategy development, naming, visual identity design, implementation, and ongoing management of the brand after launch.
A good process goes hand-in-hand with good communication. The branding agency you choose should be communicative with direct access to designers throughout the project for a holistic, studio model approach to building your brand. Branding is, above all, a creative endeavor, and the best branding agencies foster an environment of direct collaboration with their creative team.
Sometimes, it just comes down to the vibes. Just like in any relationship, it's important that you click with the people you’ll be working with, especially since you want them to be able to deeply understand the core of your business. Take some time to get to know the agency and make sure there’s a personality fit - do they seem like people you could see yourself working closely with? Do they have similar sensibilities? Do they seem to clearly understand your branding mission? Do you vibe? Not every branding agency will be the right fit and that’s okay!
Don’t Penny Pinch
Finally, don't go cheap! A good brand is worth every penny - an investment now will pay dividends for years (or even decades) down the road. You get what you pay for, especially when it comes to creative services, so be prepared to make a substantial investment in your company's future when choosing a branding agency. You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to your brand - after all, your brand is your business, and if done right can completely change the trajectory of operations at an organization.
If you're serious about taking your company's brand to the next level, following these tips will help ensure you choose an experienced, reputable, branding agency that takes a strategic approach and has a proven track record of success. The best branding agency will have the expertise and creative chops to uncover your business’s true essence and bring it to life across every area of your business.
Ready to learn more about Quill Creative Studio to learn more about our brand strategy process and creative team? Let’s talk!