At MadeByShape, we spend a lot of time explaining the importance and impact of good brand design. Clients come to us because they know their brand needs an update, change, or complete overhaul. Maybe it’s because a competitor is showing them up; maybe it’s the result of new management that leads the company in a different direction. Ultimately many businesses know that good brand design is essential, but they don’t know how deep the impact of branding penetrates.
Your brand is the primary and often the only tool you have to communicate with your audience.
Your business has an identity. There are aspirations, goals, a personality, values, and a backstory. But just because they exist doesn’t mean people know about them. They need to experience them for themselves. That’s where branding comes in. Brand design gives your business a look and feels that can be experienced. It allows the observer to come to their own conclusions about who you are, something that gives them more of an emotional connection than anything you can explain to them.
Branding has a direct impact on sales. If your customers can’t identify with, understand, or even notice your brand, your competitors will take over. Look at the Tropicana disaster of 2009.
Tropicana invested $35 million in their carton rebrand project headed by Arnell. The packaging was used for the brand’s best-seller, Tropicana Pure Premium, which brought Tropicana $700 million annually. Once the new brand was on the shelves, customers began to criticise it. Sales dropped by 20%, and Tropicana returned to the original packaging design one month later. In total, Tropicana lost over $50 million in sales as a result.
The Tropicana rebrand failed to create enough consistency with the original. People could hardly recognise the product on the shelf anymore. With a logo overhaul, the change was too extensive and didn’t hold on to the fresh look that Tropicana had before. Consumers highlighted the fact that the orange with the straw was missing and the logo had changed. There was confusion about the ‘100% orange juice statement’, which led some to think it was a different product. Overall, consumers described the new design as ‘ugly’. Ouch.
For brands, this is a chilling example of how poor branding can take their business south in a matter of weeks. It’s vital to hire a strong, experienced branding agency to take care of your project.
Like any other agency a business might hire, a brand design agency’s job is to assist the business in reaching a certain goal by supporting it with specialist skills and knowledge. A brand design agency offers a range of services to develop visual and audible brand assets that help a business communicate with its audience.
Brand assets can include logos, websites, digital ad creatives, billboards, TV ads, merchandise, packaging, and other tangible collateral to communicate with customers and clients. Branding covers anything that helps a company communicate with its audience, from a poster in a magazine to an email template sent to customers.
Design conveys a brand's identity and elicits an emotional connection with the target audience. Brand designers use colour, shape, movement, type, imagery, sounds, and animation to convey the brand's personality in a way that speaks to others.
Agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Usually, there will be around 10 or 20 staff in an agency consisting of several departments. Not all branding agencies offer branding services alone. You can often get a range of services, including SEO and web design. Clients may approach an agency for a combination of different services.
For example, the company could need a complete rebrand with a new website to bring them up to date and maximise digital sales. The agency will also optimise the website for search engines to give the brand the best possible jumping-off point when they present their new brand to the world.
When you hire a branding agency, your project will be overseen and managed by an account manager. This person is responsible for ensuring all your objectives and wishes are communicated with the designers, and all deadlines are met along the course of the project.
You will likely also be in communication with the agency director or owners at regular intervals and project milestones to ensure all is running smoothly and that you are happy with the work. The brand designer or design team will speak to you directly about design work to understand your brand and what you want from the project.
Branding agencies offer a range of services and specialisms to help guide you to reach your objectives, including
Tone of voice
The branding agency will also produce a selection of brand assets based on your needs as a business and the scope of your project, including
Car wrap and livery
Social media banners
Brand design guidelines
From eCommerce to luxury services and even place branding, brand design specialisms are wide-ranging. A well-established agency will have experience working with a few different industries, and it's a good idea to check out their portfolios when shopping around. Take a look at some before and after shots of our branding projects to see what a professional brand overhaul looks like.
If you care about your business reputation and want to build awareness in your audience, hiring a brand design agency is the right thing to do. When done properly, good brand design gives a significant ROI, but imagining this impact isn’t easy. Here are six statistics about branding that put its power into perspective.
Authenticity in branding is important to 88% of people.
Brand recognition is increased 80% by a signature colour.
Consistency in branding has led to 33% increase in revenue.
Customer experience is a deciding factor for 73% of consumers.
People who visit your website decide if they like your brand in 0.05 seconds.
66% of consumers look for transparency as one of the highest priority qualities in a brand.
Communication between you and your agency is essential to ensure positive results. This involves not only handing over a detailed branding brief but being able to get along with the team. At MadeByShape, we always try to gauge how well we click with potential clients because we know this is what allows the project to truly thrive and even exceed its potential.
In our article Why Hire a Branding Agency?, we discuss the different options businesses have available for brand design, including agencies, contractors, and in-house teams. You can also follow the steps in our guide, Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Branding Agency in 2022, to help you find the best agency for you and get the most out of your project. In this article, we talk a bit more about why having good communication is so important.
MadeByShape is a branding agency based in Manchester. We specialise in brand design, having worked with businesses large and small since 2010. Check our blog for more articles about the impact of brand design.
Are you after advice on starting a brand design agency of your own? We know a thing or two about that as well. After all, we’ve already done it.