Brand design is a vital aspect of your business. It’s through branding that you communicate with your customers. When your product pops out on the shelf compared with other products, or when someone visits your website after noticing an ad waiting for the bus, it’s your branding that does the work.
Brand design is a considerable investment for a business. This doesn’t necessarily mean it costs the world, but the stakes are high when making changes to your branding. Taking your branding in the wrong direction can considerably impact business. You could alienate your brand from your customers or even give them the wrong idea. It’s safe to say you want your brand in good hands.
Hiring an agency is one surefire way to know your brand is being handled by experts who can elevate it (that is, provided they are branding experts). So what can you get out of working with an agency?
Generally, there are three options businesses can choose from when they want brand design. They can hire an agency, hire a contractor, or employ a brand designer in-house. How do these differ?
When hiring a contractor or freelancer, you’ll work with one designer on all aspects of your project. This person will also be your sole point of contact which means you always speak directly to the person working on your designs. However, working with one designer alone can have its drawbacks. You won’t have access to as extensive a range of skills and insights as that of a team, and it may take longer for the work to be completed.
A less common route is to hire an in-house designer or design team. This is usually only the case in large companies and international brands where a full-time design team is a worthwhile investment. Hiring a new member of staff just for design work can be expensive for smaller or medium-sized businesses, especially if they don’t require regular design work to be completed.
Agencies vary considerably, and not all offer brand design alone. Often, an agency will have a portfolio of services, including web design, marketing, SEO, and Web Development. When you hire a branding agency, a team of designers will work on your project, which is usually organised and overseen by an account manager who will be your primary contact.
In our article What Is a Branding Agency, we cover more about the workings of a brand design agency. This article will discuss the benefits of working with an agency in greater detail.
One of the first benefits businesses will notice when they begin a project with a brand design agency is the fresh perspective it offers. Business owners and internal marketing teams can’t ever be totally objective as they are exposed to the brand every day.
In the initial stages of the branding project, your agency will conduct research about your business and its position in the market against competitors to generate ideas for the direction of your branding project.
You will be presented with branding suggestions that represent well-researched, evidence-based opportunities from the perspective of a team of creative professionals.
Hiring an agency allows you access to the widest-ranging skillset available for your branding project. Rather than working with a single contractor or hiring an extra staff member, you’ll have decades of combined years of experience from a team comprising myriad professional backgrounds.
It’s not only the brand designers that will contribute to your project. Teammates in an agency will be able to provide each other with added value when it’s needed. For example, the brand designer can work with the copywriter or web developer to produce a page design that properly incorporates tone of voice or can be more efficiently built. This level of teamwork means your agency offers much greater value than an individual.
A brand design agency's job is to stay on top of current branding trends, developments in technology, and keep abreast of the creative curve to ensure they’re always set apart for their competitors. When you hire a brand design agency, this level of quality will be applied to your project, whether that’s a digital-first approach to branding or a customised process.
This means your brand design will be cutting edge, of high, professional quality, and will challenge that of your competitors. It’s in the agency’s interest to make sure your branding is something to boast about. Take a look at some before and afters of brand design projects we’ve worked on that demonstrate the level of quality an agency can offer.
One of the main decision affecting factors in hiring an agency is price. Every business wants a good deal, and the budget is usually tight, especially with start-ups. While an agency usually charges a higher price than a sole contractor, they tend to offer higher value for money. The quality of work offered by an agency is usually higher thanks to the team's collective skills, experience, and talent, which leads to a better return on investment.
Similarly, an agency can complete your project quicker, meaning fewer costs associated with longer project lead times. The project will be even more streamlined if you can assist your agency in providing clear objectives and direction from the start.
Take a look at our guide on hiring a brand design agency which tells you everything you need to know about each step in the process. We also cover the steps to writing a brand brief in our article Brand brief: how to write one and get great results every time (free template included). Following these guides will speed up the process significantly.
The network of professionals in an agency means your brand will be exposed to further opportunities for improvement and growth. While upselling occurs in all agencies, it’s not without opportunities. Your design team may spot ways to boost the performance of your website, SEO, and content along the journey of your branding project.
Thanks to industry insights and experience, the specialists at your agency may see areas for improvement that you simply did not. This gives you the best advantage when having a rebrand. Pair your new branding with an up-to-date website or a fresh marketing approach and supercharge your new creative representation.
A good branding agency should be experienced in adapting to new sectors and types of projects, having either a diverse portfolio or a rich collective background. Hiring an agency, especially if you’ve done your research, is a good way to ensure your project will be in capable hands.
Whether it’s place branding, car brands, fashion branding, or brand transformation, an agency might already have experience in your sector. Make sure to look through an agency’s portfolio before you make your decision to see if they’ve already completed work in your sector or if there are projects you like the look of.
Working with an agency can be an incredibly efficient way to produce branding assets. Agency life is fast-paced, and working with a highly organised team means you can rest assured your project will be moved swiftly to a close. If you need brand assets created quickly, an agency is your best bet to rise to the challenge.
If you’re ready to take the next steps and hire a brand design agency, read our super guide Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Branding Agency in 2022 to ensure you get the maximum return on investment. If you’re on the other side of the fence and doing research about a new business venture, look at our article How to Start Your Own Branding Agency.