Branding is a way of communicating the value of your brand to the world by engaging consumers on an emotional level to create a sense of involvement with the brand. It paints a picture of your values, personality, point of difference and tells a story to the consumers about why they should chose you over your competitors.
Building a strong brand is more important now than ever before. These days there are unlimited choices in every category, so your branding initiatives have to clearly differentiate your offering and educate the consumer in order to influence buying decisions at point of purchase.
It is the role of the branding agency to build strategic awareness by crafting and leveraging your brand value assets. The agency should work with you to identify your goals and your target consumers, and then develop a unique program that targets those consumer groups efficiently and effectively.
When selecting your branding agency it is important to keep the following questions in mind:
– Have they worked with companies of your size before?
– Have they worked with companies in your category before?
– Have they successfully completed a project that is similar in scope to yours before?
Pricing & Value
– Does the price of the project make financial sense for your company?
– How is the project priced? Is it a flat fee, or based on an hourly structure? If it’s hourly, do they hours match up to the outlined price?
– Which team members are working on your project? Do different work levels have different prices?
– Is the billing process clear? What is the procedure for billing work beyond the scope of the agreement?
– How often do they exceed the allocated project budgets?
Scope of Work & Reporting
– Do they provide a detailed agreement that specifies all the project details and deliverables?
– Do they provide detailed reporting on all activities that have been conducted? And identify the time allocated to each activity?
– How do they report to you? Weekly meetings? Teleconference?
– Do they send meeting recaps for seamless communication and team alignment?
– How long do they retain their clients after their initial work has been completed?
– Do they regularly meet their clients needs and exceed expectations? Do they have case studies and testimonials to prove this?
– Do they have hard figures to support their success claims?
– Are they well respected by their peers as opinion leaders?
– Will they oversee the entire project from start to finish?
– How many team members will be dedicated to the success of your project?
– What is the their turnaround time for responding to questions?
– What procedures to they have in place to handle emergency situations?
– What is the methodology for developing your project?
– Do they have the appropriate processes in place to stay organized with your project?
– Will your project have one point of contact who is accountable for the success of your project?
– Does the organization have the bandwidth to provide you the services and level of care you expect?
– Is their organization built mostly of collaborative employees, or do they rely heavily on freelancers?
– What is the communication structure and how often do they update you?
– Are they pro-active in leading a project or do they rely on you, the client to direct them?
– How to they evaluate the efficacy of the work they develop?
– Has their work received any recognition or awards?
– Are the key players of the organization regarded as authorities? To they hold board positions and are they often featured as experts?
– Do they have strong 3rd party reviews?
– Is the corporate culture in keeping with your own, or one that you would enjoy working alongside?
– Do you like and respect the team members you’ll be working with and feel confident in their abilities?
Ultimately, you should look for a an agency that has experience in and outside of your category, so you can benefit from experience, but also fresh perspective. And one thing to keep in mind that many guides don’t point out, is that you should like the team you select, because you’ll be working with them a whole lot. And work should be enjoyable. So don’t hestitate to ask your agency a few personal questions to see if you’re truly a good fit. Good luck and happy hunting!