Finding the right branding agency can be an onerous quest. Countless phone calls, multiple meetings and pitches, travelling the length and breadth of the UK.
Sometimes the team are captivating, the office space is the swankiest thing you’ve ever seen but when it comes to the crunch…. the concepts just don’t feel right. No one wants to get to the crucial development stages and feel they made the wrong choice.
Seeing as we come from a little experience, we thought it was time to divulge the top 6 things we feel every business should be asking their branding agency before signing on the dotted line.
1. Why do you want to work with me?
This may sound obvious but it is surprising how many clients never ask their branding agency this vital question.
If you’re struggling to pick between two similar agencies the response to this question can help determine the right fit for you. Your brand is the beating heart of your business and you need an agency that is as passionate as you to succeed.
2. Are you willing to travel?
We know this may sound trivial but proximity to your agency can make a huge difference to the success of your project.
Of course, modern technology overcomes geography making it easier work with agencies on the other side of the world. But by asking your agency if they may be willing to travel immediately opens the book to say – look, I may need to see things in the flesh and it may be difficult for me to be at your office every other day.
Be wary of agencies that are reluctant to set aside a few hours to meet with you in person. It can make communication difficult and put unnecessary strain on your project.
3. Are you working with any similar brands?
Perhaps the branding agency you’ve found is renowned in your field. This can be fantastic, but it can also throw up some problems. If they work with similar brands, you run the risk of your creative ‘blending in,’ and looking a bit too similar to others on the market. You may also end up being a small fish in a big pond – with your project bumped down the pecking order.
It can also be said that if agencies haven’t worked with similar brands they could find it tricky to master the market immediately so the creative may be out of touch.
Either way, this is a decision you have to be comfortable with.
4. How will we share files?
This can seem like a minor detail to some, but when this goes wrong it can mess up your whole project. With the global nature of design projects, it becomes increasingly important to have one standard repository for all your brand assets.
Transferring large files and keeping track of comments/ sign-offs can be infuriating at times. If your agency doesn’t have a controlled digital asset management system in place, transferring files and commenting on design work becomes a minefield, and crucial details get missed.
5. Who will be looking after our brand?
Branding agencies tend to have a wide range of skills and a full book of clients to juggle. It’s important to understand who you will be working with on a daily basis. You may have hit it off with the sales manager in the pitch, but they may disappear after you sign on the dotted line! You need to have a clear understanding of who will be managing your account and carrying out the front line work.
6. Do you have examples of successful projects for previous clients?
It’s difficult to imagine exactly what an agency can do for your brand. Perhaps a packaging redesign was a contributing factor to increased sales or their new branding helped to improve awareness in a certain the market? Often these things are difficult to measure, but good agencies will be able to provide similar case studies to show the type of results they can achieve for you.
Once the rational aspects are taken care of it’s over to your gut. What feels right? Who are the people that will see your project through to the end and help your brand flourish? People work with people, and some of the best projects are when you just click.