“The three most important words in differentiating your brand: focus, focus and focus” said Marty Neumeier. The statement comes from a credible authority – an American author and public speaker on everything related to branding, design, innovation, and creativity.
Consider how a thirty-second ad campaign, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” by Wieden+Kennedy created nineteen years ago gave Old Spice the platform to present itself as the Numero Uno male grooming brand. The message got carried across – loud and clear through every video, commercial, tagline, Facebook update, tweet, and a brand (Old Spice) was born.
Another iconic brand like CocaCola works round the clock to maintain its formidable brand identity. There came a time, when CocaCola profits and market share fell substantially below Pepsi’s, demanding an extensive and elaborate rebranding exercise. The gambit paid out, and today Coca Cola has cornered 42% of the soft drink market, with Pepsi lagging behind at 30%, claims SurveyMonkey.com.
How did it happen?
With the help of a Professional Branding Agency. Period. The process of putting across the story of your brand or company requires the right skills and talent. And doing it constantly – forever is not a mean feat. Forever? As a company grows, the business goes, and along with it, the need grows for the market to know about your new offerings. A constant reminder of what your business is about. This need is more acute in the case of start-ups, where you have absolutely no legacy and you are building a brand from the scratch.
Businesses and brands that are able to outsmart competition know the value of well-planned and well-placed branding strategies. A mobile app or a good-looking website are just a scratch on the surface, there is much more effort that goes into it.
A professional branding exercise aims to let a customer know that he or she is very important to the brand. And why not? If you are in the business it’s because of your customer. A good brand custodian will delve deep in understanding the true articulated or unarticulated needs of your customer. He or she will then create and test the proposed branding strategies and if they work, communicate it to the world. To bet, the entire process is much more complicated than it appears.
How? Wait, we will figure out
After studying your business verticals, a brand agency will figure out who can it put in charge of your business, branding strategy, digital/design and communication. Simply put, it will have a brand consultant, advisor or a planner in place over your account.
Imagine a Design Agency and a Brand Consultancy working as a team for you. Would that be better, or should you have them work independent of each other? What would make more sense for you? A start-to-finish model or difference service providers, supervised by your brand manager?
A single agency model might work better if your business domains are interlinked and together strike the right balance. A stand-alone good DesignAgency could deliver the goods, but for a well-articulated and well-researched brand exercise, we would recommend a Branding Agency that does all.
“Any decent design agency should possess some degree of strategic thinking, this will usually underpin their design ethos and rationale,” says John Taylor, a creative director with London-headquartered Better Brand Agency. Of course, eventually your strategic needs may go well beyond that. Hiring a Branding Agency is therefore a smart decision for any company.
Experts contend that branding is layered, sculpted, tested, and a reflection of what your customer needs from you — not what you need from your customer. The right branding professionals will be able to hone in on what you need to convey to the general public in order to garner their trust,” As Marla Tabaka of Inc. argues, “Customers don’t remain loyal to a brand just because your product or service meets their needs. They want more than that.” What this “something extra’ is your Branding Agency should be able to help you identify without a hassle.
“The whole reason behind building a brand is to take your business to the next level and have people know what you are about and what you can offer them,” says an expert at hubspot.
A convincing branding will talk about the complete eco system of the company. But before that, as a business, you need to ask yourself:
Branding defines your company at its most fundamental level and you will understand this better by answering these questions. A Branding Agency will then extract its brief from your answers and make the process of branding your business easy.
An outsider’s take
Brands with a unique vision always look for a sounding board which would provide it with genuine inputs. A branding agency can easily fill that vacuum. In its professional capacity it will bounce back the right ideas avoiding any ego-boosting trips, which should be good for your brand. Your marketing head can trust their advice on face value.
Tried and tested
Pick a Branding Agency with a solid track record. That has worked with other established brands and also in other industries. You definitely need to bank upon experience. The experience it has gained with different brands at various points in their journey will be a value-add to your brand. Before hiring a marketing or branding agency, you will need to do your homework. “Finding out the success rate a marketing company has had with other businesses is essential and will help you make the right decision about which one to hire with ease,” says an expert at Emotive Brand, a San Francisco-based brand strategy firm.
A holistic picture
A Branding Agency would be in a position to see your brand as it stands in the market. It will know where you fit it into the bigger picture. Taking into consideration all the big and small aspects, it would then be able to craft a unique identity for your brand.
Sustainable brand management
This is a one-time investment worth making only if you are looking at making a long-term relationship with your Branding Agency. It must not be a pre-launch or rebranding engagement. You must be able to rely on your Branding Agency at the later stages of your growth as a brand, as well.
A creatively infused, strategic, and flexible branding process can only be achieved with the help of a good Branding Agency. So, do your research well and ask for referrals in order to zero in on the right-fit agency. After that, set realistic targets for what you exactly want from your Branding Agency. Later, measure your expectations against the delivered outcomes, periodically during review meetings.
Only a professional setup can give the best representation and voice to your brand. LitmusBranding has a strong track record in brand advisory. Please feel free to call us on this (number) for further information or queries.