Every business has branding challenges. Maybe their visual identity has become dated, maybe they’ve lost touch with their audience, or maybe they need to refocus their strategic direction.
Whatever the problem, when a business faces a brand challenge the best solution is to look for an external expert to provide some structured advice and support. But how do you find the right agency? The last thing you want to do is invest hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of pounds into work which doesn’t meet your needs.
So what mistakes do clients make when choosing a brand agency?
1. They don’t understand their challenge
To a lot of business leaders, the topic of brand is an unknown quantity. Many don’t quite understand what they are looking for until they speak to an expert who highlights their issues and needs. Problems here can be two fold, by not fully understanding their challenges, business leaders could end up paying over the odds for work they just don’t need. They might also approach the wrong kind of expert, and be led down a route which takes them further from a solution.
Advice: make sure you truly understand your problem before you commit. Speak to a range of agencies and gather free, professional advice from external experts before proceeding.
2. The brief isn’t clear enough
Having found an agency that they think is right, business leaders will be relied upon to provide a brief for work. This brief acts as the project outline for an agency to work with. Too often a brief is not clear, and a lot of time is wasted trying to understand the real root of the problem.
Advice: if you understand what it is that you need support on, make sure the brief you provide is clear, concise and gets to the point early on. If you don’t fully understand your needs, or have trouble translating them into a brief, take time with an agency to discuss the problems and build a brief together.
3. They don’t put in the research
Recommendations are a great way to quickly and easily find a suitable agency, but be careful about jumping into bed with an agency too fast. Depending on the size of your business, you could be spending thousands of pounds on a full branding programe, so you want to ensure you’ve chosen the correct partner.
Advice: make use of Google search, read industry magazines, and speak to design/branding related organisations who can point you in the direction of reliable agencies. Before you commit to any organisation, be confident in your research.
4. They are too dependent on location
Finding an agency based around the corner, or within a short drive can have its benefits. After all, you may be working very closely with this agency for a long period of time, and so close proximity is useful. True, but you shouldn’t let location solely determine your choice of partner agency. A good agency will go the extra mile to make sure they are at your disposal whenever you need them, whatever the weather, time of day or distance.
Advice: when searching for an agency, don’t just look on your doorstep. By limiting your field of search you are limiting the chances of finding your perfect agency. There is obviously a distance cut off point, but many agencies won’t see it as unusual to be asked to drive an hour or so to meet a client or deliver a pitch.
5. They get distracted by the big names in branding
As with any industry, in branding there are well known agencies and lesser known ones. Big name agencies have earned this title, and so you can be confident that most will be able to deliver your solution. But with big agencies comes a lot of extra headaches, not to mention the potentially large price tag. Don’t feel that a smaller agency won’t be able to handle your demands, in fact there are plenty of advantages that they have over the big boys.
Advice: if you are looking for a quick and easy fix, no matter the cost, the big names will be your best bet. But if you want to gaurantee value for your investment, maximum flexibility and to feel like you are the number one priority of your agency then take the time to search through the smaller names. Great things come in small packages.
6. They are drawn in by well known client case studies
Having case studies describing work for well known brands is a great selling tools. If a famous name has worked in partnership with an agency then it must be a good sign, right? This is where the danger lies. Not every brand is the same, and not every agency will have the experience to deal with your branding challenges. Every agency positions itself differently and this positioning will rub off onto the work they do for your company. What’s more important than flashy case studies is ensuring the agency you choose understands and aligns with your values.
Advice: don’t judge an agency solely on it’s experience and don’t get drawn in by big names. The best way to judge if an agency is right for you is to meet with them, discuss your challenges and get to know what they stand for.
7. They opt for the large integrated agency over the small specialist
There are a wide range of different sized agencies to choose from. At one end of the spectrum you have the big agencies who will offer an integrated range of services from concept development to social media advice. On the other end of the scale you have the small specialists, organisations specialising their services. Do you opt for the large all inclusive, or a series of smaller specialists? It may seem far simpler, but don’t always choose the simple, integrated route.
Advice: when outsourcing work to agencies don’t focus solely on those who can offer you the whole package, in many cases bringing together a network of smaller teams who focus on individuals areas of expertise will be more cost efficient and effective.
Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Think we’ve missed something? Why not get in contact and let us know! Maybe you agree with everything we’ve said and want to get to know more about us and our services… why not book a free, no obligations call with Rebecca to discuss your challenges further – 01926 678 368.
Rebecca is the founder and Managing Director of rbl. An experienced brand and marketing professional, Rebecca has spent over 30 years helping clients to build, design and manage their brands.