If you’re an entrepreneur who is looking to improve the branding for your business, you have likely come across the term “branding agency.” Maybe you are already familiar with graphic designers and marketing agencies, but you’re wondering if working with a branding agency could be the next right step for your business.
Here is a breakdown of what a branding agency is, how it can help your business, how a branding agency is different from a marketing agency, and when you should consider working with one in order to achieve the best results:
What is a branding agency?
Branding agencies help businesses plan, create, and improve their brands in a strategic way.
If your business has an incredible product or service, but you’re promoting it to the wrong people, or you’re trying to compete against the wrong competitors, or your visuals don’t catch the attention of your potential customers… then your business is missing out on sales and growth opportunities.
Working with a branding agency can help your business identify those roadblocks, make effective changes, and develop a brand that makes a positive first impression with your target audience.
We created this free branding workbook to help your business start clarifying your brand and attracting more customers. The workbook includes a hands-on exercise where you walk through the brand attributes of your business, and you can get your free copy here:
Many entrepreneurs take a DIY approach to branding when they first start out – for example, they hire one freelancer to make a logo, hire another to make a website, and use colors that someone on their team thought would look good together. While this is understandable when launching a startup, as your business grows you will reach a point where a memorable and well-crafted brand will benefit your company and grow your sales.
Branding agencies initially work with clients to clarify goals, dig deep into the mission and purpose of their businesses, and establish what sets them apart. Once this discovery process is complete, a branding agency can develop materials like a color scheme, logo, packaging designs, font choices, and even an entirely new website design to present an upgraded brand that helps their clients attract more customers.
What does a branding agency provide?
Branding agencies often have specific areas of focus based on their expertise, interests, or experience. It all depends on what your business is looking for and what fits your priorities and needs!
Here at Aventive Studio, our offerings fall under two categories:
Brand Strategy. This includes working closely with our clients to unearth the core personality of their business and how it stands out in the industry. Deliverables include strategic elements like an ideal client persona, competitive analysis, content strategy, brand positioning, brand attributes, unique value proposition, and more. Brand strategy always needs to occur before creating the visual designs.
Visual Branding. This includes deliverables such as a new website design, logo design, brand board (including color hex codes, fonts, and imagery based on your brand strategy), brand guidelines, packaging design (if applicable), as well as any other visual designs your business may need such as business cards or stationery.
Since every business is so unique, we customize every project and quote depending on what a client needs. Branding agencies typically do not provide marketing services like SEO and digital advertising management (see below for the differences between branding agencies and marketing agencies).
Wondering how much you already know about branding? We created this fun quiz to help businesses find their branding score and receive personalized tips on how to attract more customers. You can take the quiz here:
What are the benefits of working with a branding agency?
Here are the major ways that working with a branding agency can help your business:
- Cutting costs. Yes, working with a branding agency is an investment. But once your business’s branding is in place, you can use it continuously. In the long run, when you work with an agency to create a brand you will time and money compared to a piecemeal approach that leads to rebranding.
- Outside perspective. It’s nearly impossible to see your own business with a neutral perspective. Branding agencies provide professional guidance and can see the strategic blind spots that business owners aren’t yet seeing when it comes to your competitors, target audience, brand positioning, and visual designs.
- One point of contact. Rather than hiring and managing separate entities to work on different pieces of your brand, a branding agency provides a streamlined approach. One agency is committed to your brand’s success, and you don’t need to worry about conflicting messages from various stakeholders.
Entrepreneurs constantly receive pitches and advertisements telling them about the newest shiny objects that will help their business. But the brand strategy process cuts through that noise and helps business owners get back to the basics of what their business offers, who their target is, and how to attract their target so they can make sales and grow their business.
What is the difference between a branding agency and a marketing agency?
While branding and marketing are similar, there are some key differences between them.
Think of branding as the big picture: it includes the voice, colors, tone, and core personality of your business. As discussed above, a branding agency will work with you to develop the overarching mission and attributes of your brand, identify your target, analyze your competitors, and express those elements through visual design.
Marketing, on the other hand, includes the practical actions you take to promote your business once your brand is in place.
A marketing agency can help your business implement your brand through running advertisements, launching marketing campaigns, and using analytics to adjust your promotional approach. Marketing agencies utilize a variety of digital and offline platforms and focus on promoting your business day-to-day.
In both cases, working with an agency is beneficial because these professionals focus on branding and marketing all the time. Agency staff have their eyes on other clients, industries, and trends, and they can see your business from your target’s perspective in ways that may be challenging to see from within the company.
Since branding comes before marketing, taking the time to work with a branding agency before a marketing agency can ensure the marketing campaigns your business runs are more effective and less expensive.
If you are curious about how to get started on branding on your own, here is a free branding checklist we made to help entrepreneurs find the exact next steps to improve their branding:
When should you hire a branding agency?
Maybe that all sounds great, but you’re still wondering if your business should be at a certain stage or revenue point before working with a branding agency. I get that question a lot, which is understandable — after all, entrepreneurs want the best value for their money!
My recommendation is that businesses should already have a product or service developed, and at least some sales, before hiring a branding agency. If you have a great business idea but have not yet built out the concept or made a sale, that should be your top priority before working with an agency to develop a visual brand.
I have found that businesses benefit the most from working with a branding agency when they are:
- Actively growing. For example: if your snack brand has been successful at farmers markets and you now want to sell your products at grocery stores, a branding agency can help you position your brand apart from these higher-level competitors and create attention-grabbing packaging.
- Rebranding. Almost all companies need to go through rebranding at some point – even famous brands. Working with a branding agency will help you rebrand in a way that lasts and helps attract more customers.
- Struggling to grow. If you have a good offering but something still isn’t clicking, or customer recognition has been a struggle for your business — a branding agency can help you identify what is going wrong so you can grow again.
If you’re interested in working with a branding agency to help your business create a memorable brand, fill out the Aventive Studio contact form here to schedule a call with our creative team.
You can also consider joining the Brand Clarity course – a self-paced online program to help entrepreneurs create brand strategies for their businesses! The Brand Clarity online course includes video lessons, a workbook, and additional materials to help business owners identify the core features of their brand, clarify their messaging, and attract their target customers. Learn more and sign up for Brand Clarity here.