A Simple Guide to Branding
Branding is so much more than a logo. But it’s also such a broad term that a lot of people are confused as to what it actually means. Below we break down what it is, how to work with a branding agency and why you need it. Branding falls underneath the marketing umbrella, helping your business from it’s infancy or to reinvent itself. You can use branding anytime during a businesses’ lifespan, but one thing remains the same. It’s about capturing an audience with a certain perception, maintaining it and developing a long-lasting brand identity, loyalty and awareness.
What is Branding?
In a nutshell, Branding is all about finding your brand’s voice & brand identity. A road to discovery regarding how you want to create your image, shape it’s perception and capture the feeling you want consumers to have when they experience it. Determining how your audience perceives you and managing the impact it will have on selling potential. Your ultimate goal is to build a relationship with your customers to create brand loyalty. When launching a new product or service, you want to remember your key initiatives. Your brand should:
- Clearly deliver a message
- Create brand loyalty
- Develop an emotional connection
- Motivate buyers to purchase
- Establish credibility
Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. That being said, creating the tools to visualize your story and align your message across all platforms is paramount. Brand assets such as logo, website and other marketing collateral are created in unison with the overall image consistent throughout.
How Can a Branding Agency Help My Business?
Branding is vital for businesses as it creates the face of your brand! Whether you’re starting from scratch or building upon an existing logo and idea, branding is your business in its infancy and agencies help it grow. The focus of branding agencies is to create, develop, launch, improve and maintain brands. They specialize in the following areas (and more!), using these elements together to create one unique, memorable brand for all the senses. It’s about finding your brand identity.
- Name discovery
- Logo design
- Website development
- Content creation
- Marketing collateral
A branding agency helps businesses by giving them direction. They start with a brainstorming session that gets the creative juices flowing and breds organic ideas based on goals, objectives, dreams and beyond. These start up brands or existing brands are seeking someone to work with them to help visual what’s in their heads or make them realize something they hadn’t yet. It really streamlines all of the thoughts and ideas into one plan and from there, clients along with their agencies can decide which direction they want. From there it’s the next phase of utilizing the brand tools in your arsenal (aka brand assets) and how. Here are a few ways branding agencies help position businesses.
- Create a unified message for all platforms
- Align messages for different tactics: PR, advertising, social media, etc
- Determine types of creative content and marketing collateral
Branding is critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. It can change how consumers perceive your brand, drive new business and increase brand awareness. But, the most important reason why it is so important is because it is how a brand gets recognition and becomes known…period. Speaking of importance, a brand’s logo is the most important because it is the first element consumers see and is the face of the business. For that reason, a logo should be powerful and memorable. Businesses should use their logo across all promotional materials and products of course, which then gives consumers the can to see it repeatedly. Your targeted audience will create brand recognition by subconsciously planting this image in their minds.
By having strong branding put in place, businesses can create a positive impression. Consumers want to use a brand they can trust, so this is crucial. In the beginning stages, when you are trying to launch and create visibility of your brand, PR is a great way to establish trust and credibility. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique. Word of mouth is by far the most powerful and the most organic, so put in the hard work early to brand and position, it will pay off later when you hit word of mouth status.
Overall, agencies are your advocates and will help to elevate your brand to the next level. They will support you by developing an understanding of your business, clarifying your goals, determining your objectives and correctly communicating all of this to an audience that’s right for you. From this information, they develop a strategic plan to grow your brand and provide you with the right toolkit to do so. Branding increases business value, generates new customers, creates trust in the marketplace and receives recognition. Be that brand.
What Does Hiring a Branding Agency Look Like?
Just like any agency, when hiring a branding agency, you need to find one that speaks to you. What does your gut say? This will be a very personal working relationship, so make sure that the agency fits with your personality. When choosing an agency that is right for your business, start by researching agencies that specialize in your industry and speak to at least three different agencies to compare. Check out their brand…do you like the website, logo and other brand assets? This will be a good indicator of their style. And experience! See how they have helped other brands and do a deep dive into those brands. This will give you a good feel for what they could possibly do for your brand. Below we’ll explore more of what to look for when researching, but this is a good jumping off point to discovering the right match for your brand.
What is the Onboarding Process Like For Branding Agencies?
Branding agencies start from the beginning. Brainstorming and discovery. They work to determine what you want your brand to exude to the public eye and do this through name exploration, logo design, website development and content creation.
Next, they decide how to use your brand assets by putting together a brand plan. Based upon target audience and other demographics, they decide how to implement and launch your website, direct mail collateral such as postcards, brochures, catalogs and advertisements. These visual elements shape your brand’s identity and make it recognizable the more consumers see it and a strategic plan will help you get there.
Another element they strategize is video and photography as a way to further visualize your brand. Both tell a story and add a different element that gives the consumer another way to absorb the information. This step is important because whether used separately or used together with audio and text, video and photography can give your ideas vision, convey your thoughts and make your brand stand out.
As storytellers, Branding agencies give ways to visualize your story instead of just telling them.
How Much Do Branding Agencies Cost?
Working with a branding agency is an investment that will pay off in the long run. On average, fees can range from $2000 – $10K+ per month, depending on type of business and scope of work. Each fee is based upon the amount of time required to accomplish individual client goals and objectives…as clients and scope vary, so do fees. Plus, length of working relationship comes into play. Some clients can work with agencies for two months and others 6 months to one year, so that will determine price as well. Other brands want a longer, full-scale branding campaign, one that works synergistically with a marketing agency to further implement promotion tactics on a consistent basis. Regardless, talk to your agency about fee structure and take it from there – some charge a monthly retainer and others will consolidate into a one-time project. But remember, it boils down to scope of work.
How Long Do You Typically Work With a Branding Agency?
This is all dependent on scope of work. Are you an existing brand that needs to improve your image? Are you a business in its infancy that needs to be built from the ground up? Are you well established, yet need something different or to evaluate your offerings thus change your overall perception? All of these factors come into play when determining how long your brand needs to work with any agency. But on average, clients work with agencies between two-six months.
INTRODUCTION OF BETTIE BOMB
Founded in 2005, Bettie Bomb is a Chicago-based public relations and marketing agency, offering a suite of services from trusted industry partners under one creative umbrella. PR, Marketing, Social Media and beyond…we work as an extension of your team, creating personalized campaigns, building awareness and telling your story when it matters most.
We are a female-owned, boutique agency specializing in all things lifestyle: food, fashion, hospitality, retail, health & wellness, medical, consumer and philanthropy. Partners Rebecca Kussmann & Laura Collins work closely with businesses & organizations to target key audiences and generate exposure all under the Bettie Bomb umbrella. Work one-on-one or have us build a team. We can be BIG and we can be small…that’s the beauty of it. Small, but mighty with the ability to grow. That’s us in a nutshell.