Your company becomes noticeable and stands out in people’s minds when you have solid strategy-focused branding. Branding is a strategic act where a company creates a name, symbol or design to differentiate yourself from the competitors and to own a piece of emotional real estate in your ideal customer’s mind. You can have a beautiful-looking brand that is not effective if it lacks strategy. Branding agencies that offer strategy and design are hard to come by.
Good branding increases a company’s core value, directs and motivates employees, and makes it easier to acquire new customers. A brand represents the total of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising, and logo.
A small business also needs branding to improve recognition. One of major elements of a brand is a logo. This is because, as the “face” of a business, it’s what people instantly familiarize with. A professional logo design is simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of your company.
In addition, branding helps to generate new customers for a business, whatever its size. Branding can also help a business get word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, a client would not be able to tell a friend about a business if they couldn’t remember the brand of the company. The most profitable companies, small and large, have a single thing in common; they have established themselves as a leading icon in their particular industry by building a strong brand, which, of course, starts with a great logo.
Working with an agency that focuses on your specific type of business may seem like a no-brainer, but it also connotes that you may get the same messaging as everyone else in your industry. However, an agency outside your field can give you a fresh point of view – and won’t be as burned out on the subject. Choose an agency that can think strategically on a high scale, and can show that they have the ability to take those ideas and put them to good use. That’s better than them already being able to work with companies in line with what you do.
You don’t know what you don’t know — and until you start working with an agency’s team, you have little opportunity to experience their dedication to service. But, you need to make the most out of those subtle first interactions — the first encounter between you and a branding partner can reveal a lot about the experience you’ll have as a client. The following can guide your relationship with the agencies:
Some agencies will do just what you say. But a strategic branding agency is willing and able to lead you right. A great agency should be committed to making your business grow successfully. They shouldn’t be afraid to step forward, voice their opinion, and say “Here’s what needs to be done in order to build a successful brand.” They’ll push you to get uncomfortable and vulnerable, to inspire and achieve greatness. As a client, you may feel frustrated in the course of the process, but that’s a good sign. Branding is hard soul-searching work. Greatness is built by collectively working together to achieve success. Agencies that are client-led often result in poor outcomes. A great agency is built to lead the project, not just to stay on time, budget and scope, but more importantly to push you to a point that will make your brand more impactful.
You’re entrusting your branding partner with a major stake in your business. They have to believe in your company and most specifically, you as an entrepreneur. Running a business is never easy, and often hard to see what your brand will be ahead of time. A great branding partner will help you imagine your company’s growth trajectory beyond what you’ve built till the present.
There is much more to branding than just creating logos and developing collateral. A brand is representing your business strategically. It tells your story. Therefore, your branding agency must be able to generate ideas and implement them across all channels and mediums. Your brand must resonate with your audience and reflect who you are and what you stand for. By this, you need an agency that excels in strategy, design, and implementation. Also, your branding agency must understand how your business fits into the industry as a whole and the best ways to differentiate you from the pack.
You should know if your agency has a clear sense of how much transformation is occurring, whether they are aware of new technologies, of brands moving to new social platforms and about integrating mobile solutions into their campaigns.
How many message delivery tools have they used that were not print or TV advertising. Look for innovation and incorporation of ‘gamification, apps, integration with social media, brand collaborations and joint ventures.
The personal attributes of the core account team matter. This will help to get around the agency that pitches with one team and delivers with another. Inquire on why the agency picks each individual and how are their skills are relevant to what you need.
Mark the thought processes that help them arrive at the big picture. The standout agency is, more often than not, the one displaying the rigor, insight and process that will take you to the right answer not only once, but again and again.
This is the most pertinent question. Ask yourself if there’s passion in the pitch, or are you just another logo in their agency roster. Focus on determining whether the whole agency and not a fragment of it, is genuinely behind it.
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Nectar is part branding powerhouse, part consultancy, and part digital marketing agency based in Manhattan.