Not sure your brand image or messaging resonates with your target audience? Looking to establish a stronger relationship with your customers? If so, there’s a good chance your business could benefit from partnering with a branding agency.
When people hear ‘branding’, most think about logos, business names, and colours. But there’s so much more to it.
Branding is an experience — shaped by an emotional response. It includes the values and unique character that your brand represents. It’s about developing relationships, and relationships drive your customer to come back to your business, choosing you over the competition.
Relationships are the lifeblood of your business, which makes the work that branding agencies do indispensable.
This article will discuss what branding entails, the importance of a branding agency, and add a checklist of signs that tell you if your business could benefit from working with a branding agency. But first…
What is branding?
Branding is the process of building an identity for your business — one that helps potential customers to see a unified, cohesive view of your business, depicting what you do, who you are and what you stand for.
This process can include logos, colours, themes, imagery, designs, positioning statements, mission statements, marketing messages, tone of voice, and more. When used effectively, the image painted for the target audience allows the brand personality to shine through in all aspects of the business. It helps reinforce the brand at every touchpoint — from your website, email, and social media to customer service, in-store, or any other customer touchpoint in the buyer journey.
When done right, branding sets you apart from the competition, makes your business memorable, brings in new customers and keeps existing ones coming back for more. You can successfully create an experience that your customers will remember and come to expect from your business.
What does a branding agency do?
A branding agency works to strengthen the relationship between your business and your customers.
The first step is to understand the current state of the relationship. A good branding agency will research and review your existing brand, carefully studying the perception, image, reputation and attitudes towards your brand among your customers.
Based on these findings and the desired results you wish to achieve, your branding agency will then develop a strategy to help you achieve your brand and business goals.
Executing this strategy is the next step of the process, which is often left to the business or a marketing agency to take care of. Some branding agencies, including Mystique, will also work with you to develop, execute and iterate solutions based on the strategy until the desired goals are achieved.
When your business needs to redefine, refresh, and reconnect with stakeholders, a combination of research, strategy and creative solutions built on messaging, design, and planning will help you get there. At Mystique, every one of the solutions we offer can be customized to your specific needs and is always built on a solid foundation of strategy backed by thorough research.
Branding agencies have access to skilled and talented marketers with specific specialties that they can tap into for particular needs — designers, web developers, copywriters, strategists, SEO, social media, content and video production if the strategy demands it. This offers small and medium businesses access to expertise for way less than it would cost them to hire staff in-house.
How a branding agency can help your business
One of the most important ways a branding agency can help your business is also the one reason that most small to medium business managers have difficulty accepting. They feel that a branding agency could never understand the brand entirely.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, as every brand could benefit from the much-needed “outsider perspective” that a branding agency brings.
Branding agencies have a track record of taking on the challenge (most times successfully) of bringing business success to every company they work with. A good branding agency will do all it can to make sure its work genuinely aligns with a business vision and goals.
Understand, that a brand is constantly evolving and growing, and as it does so, the messaging and communications must evolve too. A branding agency aligned to your long-term goals and the shifts in the market can help your business be best prepared to ensure your brand messaging, and personality evolves as your business does.
An established branding agency has practical experience working with businesses from different industries. They bring all that knowledge to every project they undertake, creating a solid brand that makes it easier for your customers to remember you, distinguish your brand from the competition, and connect emotionally to form a relationship.
Working with a branding agency brings focused creativity and bold ideas from a talented pool of brand strategists, designers, writers, illustrators and others collaborating on your project. They’ll also ensure consistency in portraying your brand and marketing efforts across your social media, website, colour schemes, logo, tone of voice, and everything else.
Not sure if you need a branding agency? Here are ten signs that you do!
1. You’re tired of being lost in the crowd.
Whatever the industry, there are always a ton of messages competing for a customer’s attention. A branding agency will help your message stand out, boldly grabbing attention with a clear proclamation of what sets your business apart.
2. Your competition is outperforming you.
Checking on the competition is essential for every small and medium business. If you don’t know what your competitors are offering, there’s a danger that you’ll be left behind. A good branding agency will always include competitor audits in their research.
3. You can’t describe what you do clearly and consistently.
Can you describe your business and reason for existence in 30 seconds? Hundreds of business owners can’t, so what chance do their customers stand? A good branding agency will focus on your UVP as a critical part of the strategic branding process.
4. Your brand name is confusing to customers.
When you first chose your brand name, maybe you picked one that’s not the most differentiating or memorable. If you find your brand name is restricting your ambitions or isn’t clear to your customers, a branding agency can help.
5. Your business has outgrown your brand.
As your business evolves, the way you talk about yourself and your offerings will change too. A branding agency will work with you to revamp your brand, to bring it in line with your evolved business strategy, vision and values.
6. You’re near the final phase of your strategic business plan.
Every successful business plans ahead. Maybe a year, or three, or at most, five. When it’s time for a new plan, a branding agency can bring in expertise and an outside perspective that’s an invaluable addition to the process of defining goals for the road ahead.
7. Your marketing strategy isn’t giving you the results you expected.
There are many reasons why marketing misses the mark sometimes. Sometimes, a little expert, impartial advice can make all the difference, from choosing the proper channels to perfecting the messaging and achieving the perfect mix of creativity and functionality.
8. Your customers don’t know what your business stands for.
If all your business is to your customers is a name and a logo, a branding agency can help you articulate and showcase your personality, vision, and values to let customers know what your business stands for.
9. Your brand values and culture don’t inspire your employees.
Internal culture is equally, if not more important than external image. If your brand doesn’t inspire the people you work with, they can’t be effective ambassadors. A branding agency will help you bring your values to life at every stage of the employee journey.
10. You’re feeling disconnected from your customers.
A thorough understanding of your customers should dictate every brand and business decision you make. If you have ever felt that your brand is no longer in touch with your customers’ needs, motivations and feelings, a branding agency can help.
Grow your online presence, and achieve your business goals with support from a brand agency.
At some point, every organization could use the services of a branding agency. If you recognize that you need one, we invite you to schedule a 15-minute conversation with us to understand how your business can from working with an established, professional branding agency like ours.
We’ll learn more about your business, and you’ll walk away with some great tips on how to achieve your business goals.
Pick a time that works for you.