What services does a branding agency provide? It’s a reasonable question to ask if you’re thinking of getting expert help with the process of bringing your brand to life. After all, branding is rarely as simple as it seems on the surface, requiring significant experience and expertise.
Often, when companies think about branding, they consider the costs of logo design, the efforts of coming up with a memorable brand name, and even the steps involved in choosing brand colors. However, there’s a lot more to consider than you might think.
A great brand is also defined by the values and personality you convey to your customers, and stakeholders. It’s how your community feels about your business, and how you differentiate yourself from other similar companies in your industry.
Get just one factor of your branding strategy wrong, and you risk damaging your business reputation irreparably. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with the various other challenges of running your own company, it’s easy to make a mistake with your branding efforts.
A branding agency allows you to outsource some of the tasks associated with branding to a team with exceptional experience and background knowledge in the space.
Here’s what you can expect when investing in branding services…
Branding agency services: What is a branding agency?
To fully answer the question, “what services does a branding agency provide?” we first need a clear definition of what a branding agency is. Branding agencies are experts in brand development.
They’re similar in style to a marketing agency, but their focus is on developing, improving, and optimizing your entire brand identity.
Branding, as many business leaders discover, is the process of using a wide selection of assets and concepts to build a cohesive and positive view of your business. Your brand is a culmination of logos, themes, designs, and marketing messages, as well as mission statement and values.
An effective brand presents an image of your company capable of highlighting your unique personality in every touch point with your community. Your brand should shine through in your website, emails, customer service, and anything else you use to reach your audience.
Where most companies struggle when it comes to branding, is creating a consistent identity from scratch, with all the right elements.
Even if you already have an excellent logo or business name, you may not know how to link your company’s values to your tone of voice, brand personality and marketing message.
That’s where branding agencies step in.
More than just experts in creating brand assets, branding agencies know how to take all of the disparate elements responsible for identifying a company and merge them together into something memorable.
Crucially, these teams often feature a number of different experts working together to achieve specific goals.
For instance, a branding agency may include:
- Copywriters and creative writers for brand messaging and tone of voice.
- Designers and graphic artists for logo, web design, and even brand photography.
- Technical specialists for search engine optimization and social marketing.
- Advertising professionals to help with video marketing, content production and planning.
- Strategists capable of building impressive brand guidelines and assets.
What services does a branding agency provide? The basics
Notably, while branding is an important part of building business awareness and equity, it’s still something many companies are still coming to terms with. For years, many companies assumed their brands would simply be a by-product of creating great products and services.
This meant they left their branding efforts as an “afterthought” in their go-to-market plan.
As such, branding agency services have only recently begun to gain attention as a crucial solution for a wide range of companies. We’re still in a transformational stage in the branding landscape, where the services and support of branding services are being defined.
With this in mind, the answer to the question “what services does a branding agency provide?” may differ depending on who you ask. It’s worth exploring your options for branding support from a range of different companies to see what kind of specialist guidance is on offer.
While there are some variations between brands, however, there are also some clean-cut services which often feature in most branding agency packages.
Let’s look at some of the basics…
Brand agency services: Visuals and logo design
One of the most common brand agency services you’re likely to see offered by major brands is logo design, and more broadly “visual identity creation”. Visual appearance is often one of the first things companies think about when it comes to creating a brand.
While there’s more to your company than how it looks, many customers will still develop their initial perception of your company based on how it looks. Your logo design should give your community a good idea of what your business does, the values you hold, and the benefits you can offer.
A strong logo design helps to connect with customers on emotional level, while creating a “face” for your brand. It’s how your customers and potential prospects will recognize your company, and a significant part of how you differentiate yourself from your competition.
Brand agencies can help with all aspects of logo design. This can include creating an initial logo from scratch for a new company, based on the kind of brand image they want to create. It could also mean re-designing a logo as part of a business rebrand.
Notably, rebranding isn’t something any business should take likely. Just look at the backlash Gap got when it made the wrong choice with its logo.
While a brand agency might start your visual branding journey with logo design, it’s important to note this is just the first step of an effective “visual” strategy.
Aside from creating your logo and the variations of it you might use in multiple locations around the offline and online worlds, your brand agency might also help with:
Branding agencies can help businesses to create beautiful and engaging websites for connecting with their audience. This could mean building a website from scratch, or simply optimizing your existing site following an audit.
Your color palette as a growing brand makes a huge difference to the emotional impact you have on your target audience. Brand agency services can include selecting and implementing the right colors across your brand assets.
Some agency services can also assist with taking professional photos for your websites, your product packaging, and countless other business assets. Where photography isn’t necessary, this focus could shift to animation and illustration.
Font choices and other assets
Other visual assets can also be defined and optimized by your branding agency. These can include typography or font choices, as well as what kind of shapes and images you use in your marketing materials.
Some brand agency services will also help with creating concepts for how your products should look on the shelves or communications for professional organizations.
Brand agency services: Brand identity
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking your brand identity is made up of your visual assets, but this actually isn’t the case. Your visuals are just one component of how you reach and connect with your target audience.
Your branding agency can help you to define the remaining elements making your business unique in your chosen industry.
Brand identity is essentially all of the elements of your organization used to connect with your customers on a deeper level. It’s how you cultivate brand loyalty, by demonstrating an affinity with your target audience, and highlight what your business stands for.
Branding agencies can work with you on the initial stages of developing your brand identity, asking questions to help you get to the core of what your business is really about. Usually, the process of creating a brand identity will include asking questions like:
- Why did you start your business, and what do you want to do for customers?
- What are your values, and what will drive the decisions made in your business?
- If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
- How are you different from the competitors in your industry?
- What words would you use to describe your brand, and what words would customers typically use to describe your organization?
The questions you answer with your branding services agency will involve a lot of research. You’ll need to get to know not only your own company, but the specific “niche” audience you’re trying to reach, your competition, and the wider market in general.
Once you’ve answered these questions successfully, your branding agency will be able to work with you on the creation of certain documents to guide your chances of success. For instance, you’ll develop a “style guide” to influence how shareholders perceive your brand when it’s presented to them.
You’ll also come up with “brand guidelines”, which might include descriptions of:
- Your brand mission (what you want to achieve).
- Your brand essence (how you’re going to achieve your goals).
- Brand values and how they’re conveyed in your company.
- Your corporate brand and how you want to appeal to employees.
Brand agency services: Brand messaging
The visual elements of your brand might be the first thing to grab your audience’s attention, but they’re far from the only factor defining whether you’re going to be successful in your industry. A significant portion of your company’s appeal comes from its messaging.
Branding agencies can help you to understand your company’s distinct personality and give you the guidance you need to showcase the characteristics crucial to your company in your “tone of voice”. This tone of voice will define everything you create to advertise and promote your business.
We’re not just talking about blogs, content marketing and ads, but also the phrasing used on your website, the terms you choose for your product descriptions, and the way you communicate with customers too.
Everything from your slogans and taglines to your approach to customer service will be defined by the messaging strategy you choose.
Typically, creating a strong strategy for brand messaging starts with a careful evaluation of your audience. The right tone of voice for a brand will generally be one capable of matching the language used by a specific group of people.
Other factors covered by branding agencies when defining brand messaging include:
- Your unique selling proposition (what makes you different from your competitors).
- A detailed understanding of your competitors and target audience.
- Your slogans, taglines, and phrases used to define your company.
- Your brand story and the values you use to differentiate yourself.
- The tone you use in your marketing materials.
A brand support team will help you to define all of the key elements responsible for your messaging, before giving you the guidance you need to bring everything together. For a good example of what a great brand voice might look like, just take a glance at companies like Wendy’s.
The brand differentiates itself from other fast food companies not just with its menu, but with the way it communicates with its target audience. Wendy’s fun and playful attitude has made it the talking point of countless communities over the years.
Brand agency services: Brand positioning
As mentioned above, a lot of the work done by branding agencies will often revolve around using research and insights to tailor your company’s appeal. Part of this process involves looking at the competitors in your marketplace and determining where to “position” your brand.
Brand positioning is all about deciding how you want to appear to your customers in comparison to other companies in the same industry. No matter how innovative your products or services may be on the surface, there’s a good chance there are other companies in your space offering something similar.
Positioning yourself correctly ensures you can convince your customers to choose your business first.
You might decide you want your brand to deliver more affordable products and services to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access certain products.
Alternatively, you may embrace a “luxury brand” strategy, which involves highlighting the quality of your products and their features compared to other options on the market.
Branding agencies help you to identify the right position through various strategies. Usually, the process begins with an in-depth competitor analysis, where your agency will help you to determine which companies in your space pose the biggest threat to your business.
Other steps involved in brand positioning can include:
This involves looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your brand, and other competing companies. It’s a good way to determine where you can differentiate your business from other solutions.
A market analysis involves looking at the wider market for your product, the trends and patterns influencing buyer behavior, and other factors which may influence your levels of success in the industry.
During a positioning strategy, your branding service agency might be able to offer some guidance on what your USP should be. They’ll also be able to tell you whether the USP you’ve chosen makes sense in your industry.
The decisions you make during the brand positioning journey will also help to influence everything else you do as a brand, from the logos you create, to the marketing campaigns you use.
Specialist services from brand agencies
While most of the services offered by branding agencies will fall into the categories below, there are also companies which can help with “specialist” areas of your branding efforts.
For instance, you may just need help expanding your brand to a new audience or making sure your company has the right impact when you start advertising on social media.
Some of the more specialist services offered by branding agencies can include:
Rebranding or brand refresh
If your current brand efforts aren’t having the right impact on your customers or shareholders, a branding agency can help you make some important changes.
While it’s important to never rush into a refresh or rebrand, there are times when you may need to make updates when your brand isn’t working. A brand agency can audit your existing environment and guide you towards the correct changes.
Social media branding
Conveying the right brand essence and identity on social media can often be particularly difficult. There are many different kinds of social channels out there, and it’s easy to lose some of your consistency from one platform to the next.
A branding agency with a specialist knowledge of social media can ensure you make the right impression across every channel you choose for your company.
If you’re moving your business or brand into a new space, or you’re trying to reach a different audience, then you may need help making this transition.
A branding agency can research the space you’re moving into and give you some extra guidance to ensure you don’t make any dangerous mistakes.
They can also do some important due diligence to ensure your brand identity translates well into different spaces.
Brand agencies can also help with elements of protecting your brand. For example, if you’re starting a new company from scratch, your branding agency can research the trademarks for your name and logo, to ensure you’re not infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property.
In some cases, brand agencies also offer long-term services and support for companies who need consistent help with growth.
For instance, they can keep a close eye on your brand reputation on your behalf, and help you deal with issues where your values might be called into question. In these instances, branding agencies work as consultants and PR companies bundled into one.
Why do you need a branding agency?
Hopefully, this article has helped to answer the question “what services does a branding agency provide?” However, it’s worth noting the exact services offered by any agency can vary, depending on the nature of the business you’re working with.
The question to answer now is, do you need a branding agency?
Not every company turns to the assistance of a branding agency to help them bring their identity to life. There are still countless business leaders who do their best to create and implement their branding themselves, without any expertise or support.
However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure the success of a business this way.
We’re living in a competitive world, where new companies are emerging all the time, fighting for a significant share of the market. Your brand is what allows you to gain a competitive advantage over other organizations and strengthen your relationship with customers.
Get it wrong, and you could doom your entire business to failure.
Branding is a lot more than simply choosing the right name, logo, or color choices.
There are countless elements involved in building a successful brand, and few business owners will have the skills, experience, and background knowledge required to create everything themselves.
A brand agency will help you to identify the heart and soul of your business and deliver the right experience to your audience at every crucial touch point.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.