The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Branding Company (The Why, When and How)
Hiring a branding company is one of the most important hires that you will make in your business. This decision will determine the visual identity, personality, and voice of your brand while acting as the foundation for all your marketing activities.
The fact that this process will cost your company time and money makes this process even more difficult. Understanding why you need to hire a branding company, when to do it and how to do it makes the process a lot easier.
But first of all, what is branding? It is the expression of your company’s identity. There is a difference between branding and marketing, while branding is your company’s identity, marketing is how that identity is expressed. A strong brand identity will help your company stand out in a crowded market, create customer loyalty and ultimately increase profits. Here is an ultimate guide to help you hire the best branding company.
Why should you hire a branding company?
Before you even hire a branding company, it is important to know why you need branding services in the first place. Here are several reasons why you should hire a branding company:
Access to a qualified team of experts: Branding is a multi-disciplinary process that includes logo design, website design, tagline creation, and brand identity ideation. These diverse activities require different sets of expertise. A branding company gives you access to a team of trained experts in these areas.
Industry knowledge: As a result of their diverse experience, branding companies have insights about industry trends and customer needs which helps in creating a current brand.
To save time: Hiring a branding company helps you save time that you and your team would have spent tinkering with tasks where you don't have sufficient expertise. This gives you and your team the ability to focus on your core business which is serving your customers and planning ahead.
To save money: Consider how much it would cost your company to hire, train and manage all the experts involved in the branding process. Probably a lot of money. Hiring a branding company gives you access to these experts at the fraction of the cost.
Outside perspective: As the saying goes, it’s hard to see the picture when you are in the frame. For instance, you will need to find out your brand archetype from a list of 12 possible options (The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage). There are several other exploratory questions and exercises in the initial discovery phases in branding. These processes can be confusing when you are too close to your brand to make objective decisions. A branding company provides an objective perspective that helps with creative decision making.
When should you hire a branding company?
There are various stages of your business when it is important to hire a branding company. These include:
When you want to launch a new company: A branding company will help you create an identity for your new company and generate visual branding assets plus brand guidelines, giving your new company a powerful head start.
When you want to enter new markets: Your company might be targeting a new demographic or creating a new product/service. A branding company will create a new or updated brand identity that strongly resonates with your new target market.
When you need to create a new reputation: Sometimes things go wrong or your current brand evolves into something that does not align with your vision or mission. A branding company will help you create a new brand identity that aligns with your new outlook and better represents where your company is heading.
When you need to keep up with competition/industry trends: Change is the only constant in business, hiring a branding company will help you re-imagine your brand into one that is current and competitive.
How should you hire a branding company?
There are thousands of branding companies, some are established, most fly by night. How do you know which company is the right fit for your business? How do you avoid cons and people who promise the moon and the stars only to deliver hot air? Here is a checklist to help you hire the best branding company.
- Be clear about the problem you expect the branding company to solve and the results that you expect.
- Research available options online and ask for referrals from colleagues, friends, and family.
- Ask for the company’s portfolio and ensure that it is diverse, recent and covers your industry and target audience.
- Make sure that the company has a competent multidisciplinary team (graphic designers, writers, web designers, etc.).
- Examine the branding company’s process to ensure that it is detailed and client-focused.
- Ask to see the testimonials of previous clients plus the references of at least 3 clients.
- Prepare a Request for Proposal and ask your top three branding companies to fill it out.
- Choose a company that provides a compelling proposal with an appropriate budget, thorough process, and clear project timelines.
- Go with a company that is enthusiastic about your company and your project. Trust your gut!
A brand is more than just a logo and a color pallet. It determines how your customers perceive your products and services, and how your employees serve them. This is why hiring a branding company is one of the most important decisions you will ever make- make it wisely!