Choosing a branding agency is daunting and time-consuming. If you can’t face the endless meetings, inevitable death by PowerPoint presentations, or simply the bags full of promises, they all seem to give you, finding people who get you is hard work.
That’s why we’ve put together the ZAK guide to finding the ideal branding agency for your business. No bags of promises, but no b*****t either.
When a brand is looking for a new agency word gets around. In the first instance, take note of how they contact you to ask to pitch, how fast they respond with credentials and do they send you all that you requested.
Also, use Google to find branding agencies who represent brands you look up to, read their blogs and case studies.
Draw up a long list of five to ten agencies, look at their portfolios and narrow them down to a shortlist of three to five. Zone in on their portfolios (see below) to draw up a final shortlist of two or three agencies that you can invite to walk through your doors.
Look for a wide-ranging portfolio that demonstrates a wide variety of styles, campaigns and creatives. You want an agency that is adaptable and can apply its creative expertise to any business area and maintain your brand’s voice across all different channels including video, print, social media and web.
Have a peek at our diverse portfolio while you’re here.
The First Date
Like any first date, the spark and chemistry have to be there. Take note of whether or not they seem energised by the idea of working with you. Also check out their:
- Response time to your initial interactions
- Answers to your questions
- Evidence of their successes and details of their clients’ ROI
If things feel bumpy from the start, are you really prepared to iron that out on your time and budget? It’s also essential to keep an eye on how many promises someone makes you versus details they give you of how they’ll actually make good on those promises.
Some brands head straight for the big hitters. While we’re not denigrating that approach, the last thing you want to experience is a feeling that you’ve just been absorbed into an already huge portfolio.
If you’re a small business, will a large agency give your brand the bespoke attention you’re craving? Remember that what you’re really looking for is expertise, creativity and value for money and an agency whose values and culture fit with your own.
Time to get down to the details and check out their expertise. This is where you look past the presentations, fabulous visuals and big promises and look for demonstrable examples of your shortlisted agencies’ understanding of your brand and target audience(s).
Ask to see their brand research, their thoughts on your brand, evidence of defining brand strategy, audience insight and of executing lively, entertaining, informative and creative brand campaigns.
Before you enter into a relationship with anyone, not only should you trust your own instincts, but look at what other people are saying about someone. Look at your shortlisted agencies’ client testimonials on their website. It’s also worth checking out if their blog posts are thoughtful and insightful and whether the agency has a voice outside of its own office at industry events and so on.
Anyone can do well on a first date. Look for details on how the agency expects to communicate with you after they’re on board. Ask them about their:
- Call response times
- Daily/weekly updates
- Short and long term goals for your brand
- Their approach to work – is it collaborative?
Finally, are the people sitting at your table pitching and promising the same people who’ll be working on your account? If not, be careful you’re not being palmed off on less experienced and junior members of staff.
Value For Money
Branding or rebranding is an investment. That’s why it’s vital your chosen agency can offer value for money and give you what you need the first time around.
Look for an agency that takes a collaborative approach. You’re building a long-term relationship, so the lowest bidder may not be the best choice. Your chosen agency should be able to demonstrate in detail what you get for your investment and when.
Are you looking for a branding agency? Contact us and say hello.