Most business owners have been there – you’re surveying your current logo and looking down the barrel of a new product launch, you’re accessing your marketing strategy and brand messaging – then realization dawns, everything about your branding and marketing seems outdated. Perhaps you feel unsure whether your current brand identity is still a good fit for where you want to grow, or maybe your business has some new product features on the horizon. Whatever the reason, it’s clear you need to update your branding.
And while the prospect can be exciting, the path ahead will be full of challenges. It’s a task too challenging for your internal team to tackle, which means it’s best if you hire a branding agency. But how will you find the right one? There are many branding firms out there promising to make you the next Apple or Nike, but how can you find the one that’s perfect for your needs?
Choosing the right branding agency for you is easy if you know the correct questions to ask.
If you know you’re ready to hire a branding expert, but aren’t sure you have the budget, be sure to check out our article, “How Much do Branding Services Cost?”, for a more detailed look into the topic.
Five Crucial Questions to Ask a Branding Agency
1. Why Do You Want to Work With My Company?
After you ask this question, note the language used by each agency. Does the branding firm have an in-depth understanding of your industry? Do they use industry jargon in their answers and do they understand what your company brings to the table? If their answers are all generic, move on to the next firm.
These questions are a good gauge for identifying genuine branding specialists who are familiar with the industry you’re operating in. You can learn a lot based on their behavior and language. Non-verbal communication can also say a ton about the fit between the branding agency and your company, so conduct in-person interviews if possible or at least over a video call.
2. What Results Have You Generated for Past Clients?
A reputable branding agency shouldn’t hide its results from you. You’ll be paying good money for them to build and spread your brand message, so you should see what exactly they can do for your company.
Whether these results are in the form of reports, portfolios, marketing case studies, or analytics, you must see how they’ve helped past clients succeed. A consistent track record of happy clients should give you peace of mind that you’ll be working with the right people.
3. What Does Your Strategic Process Involve?
Ask the agency to walk you through the steps of a typical branding project and the type of milestones they’ll achieve. They must be able to give a detailed process that highlights previous experience developing a personalized branding and validates their understanding of how to align their creative work and with an executable strategy. Be sure to look for a branding firm that will deliver no-nonsense, bottom-line results faster.
Research coupled with extensive market expertise needs to feed your branding strategy in order for it to be effective. Find out how the firm conducts market research, monitors results, and then develops their next steps. If the branding firm claims to have highly creative employees who have lots of innovative ideas for your branding, they should be happy to present those concepts and explain how they will be implemented in your campaign. Also, ask them what guidelines they’ll develop to ensure brand consistency once the strategy is transitioned into your company’s hands.
4. Can You Implement a Brand Identity Campaign?
If an agency answers no to this question, then you’re interviewing the wrong people. You don’t want to work with a firm that develops your brand and then abandons the process without implementation, so it’s best to have an agency that can implement a fully-fledged brand identity campaign from start to finish.
5. What Type of ROI Should I Expect?
Before you go out and spend your money on a branding agency, be sure you know how to set measurable objectives, as the return on investment (ROI) for your branding campaign will depend on the goals you set for it. Share with the agency what kind of KPI’s you’re looking to hit through your branding campaign, along with any other outcomes, such as capturing a share of your competitors current customer base, that you’d like to achieve as a result of your work with them.
The essential takeaway from the above list of questions is to take your time when getting to know any of the branding agencies you’re thinking of hiring, before making the final decision. You’ll be working closely with them throughout the branding process, so you must ensure their branding philosophy aligns with your vision and that they are fully capable of delivering the type of measurable results you’re looking for.