Now that you are familiar with the top branding agencies, it is time for you to find the right branding agency for your needs.
table of content
#1: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT BRANDING AGENCY
#2: TOP BRANDING AGENCIES YOU SHOULD KNOW IN 2021
#3: BRANDING 101: HOW TO USE THE BEST STRATEGY TO BUILD YOUR BRAND
#4: WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT BRANDING
#5: HOW A BRANDING AGENCY CAN HELP BUILD BRAND EQUITY AND LOYALTY
#6: DIPPING YOUR TOES INTO THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BRANDING
#7: CHOOSING THE BEST BUSINESS STRATEGY WITH A BRANDING AGENCY
#8: 5 BEST PRACTICES FOLLOWED BY BRANDING AGENCIES TO HELP YOU BUILD AN EXCEPTIONAL BRAND
#9: THE BRANDING PROCESS FOLLOWED BY TOP AGENCIES
#10: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BRANDING AGENCY TO TELL YOUR STORY?
#11: QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK BEFORE ONBOARDING A BRANDING AGENCY
#12: THESE ARE SERVICES YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN YOUR BRANDING AGENCY
#13: HOW LONG DOES THE BRANDING PROCESS TAKE?
#14: HOW MUCH WILL BRANDING COST?
#15: COMMON BRANDING MISTAKES THAT ANY BRANDING AGENCY SHOULD AVOID
#16: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDING / MARKETING / ADVERTISING
#18: FINAL THOUGHTS
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT BRANDS AGENCY.
Have you ever wondered how some brands build great reputations and how branding agencies play a significant role in helping them soar high? Well, branding companies are worth gold! Thanks to how they can help brands create a distinctive presence in a highly competitive market and elevate the business to a whole new level.
A branding agency is much more than just a creative agency or a marketing firm that uses graphic or logo designing. In 2021, a branding company that executes a well thought brand strategy while ensuring the communications are consistent across all touchpoints such as ads, website, social media, digital, etc. plays a significant role.
If you are looking to build one iconic brand, choosing the right branding partner is crucial. And through this article, we aim to provide the ultimate list of the most influential branding agencies worldwide to ensure all platforms reflect your brand effectively. Of course, over time, we will update the list with other great agencies in the market.
Meanwhile, we hope this current list helps your brand find the perfect branding agency! Don’t miss out on reading through the company descriptions, client portfolio, notable projects, and ratings. Apart from that, you will also find actionable tips or a buyer’s guide on why branding is necessary for your business, steps to implement a successful branding campaign, how to work better with the agency you choose for better performance, and more in this complete guide to branding.
List Of Top 12 Branding Companies in 2021
Ruckus is a game-changer and global influencer for branding, platform design, campaigns, and content creation consistently for more than two decades. The company is involved in creating and delivering exceptional experiences and drive desired outcomes and awareness through its strategic engagements. Ruckus has a proven track record of completing a hundred plus projects with top clients worldwide. The leading full-service agency has also been featured on ABC, CNN, CBS, Adweek, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
The growth partner for many famous brands, Ruckus, speaks for itself and focuses on deadline-oriented & data-driven methodologies. Creative collaboration, financial intelligence, disruption, and actional results are the key to Ruckus’ success.
- Web design
- Film & Photography
BMW, NYC Ferry, The Original Hipster, HarperCollins, Golden Krust, OnePlus/T-Mobile, The Cashmere Sale, and many more.
Midmarket, Small business, Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
$150 – $199/hour
A digital brand identity design agency of the South, MatchStic, helps brands uncover who they are, allows them to express what makes them unique, and enables them to drive the culture forward. With a team of over 50 employees, MatchStic has helped local startups to large enterprises to hometown heavy-hitters to have an outstanding reputation amidst peers with their beautiful work and grounded and substantial brand strategy.
Laser-focused on the client’s reputation and branding, MatchStic is guided by its principles, technique, proven methods, and customized nuances to dive deep and uncover varied opportunities for clients worldwide.
- Web and Digital Design
Steelcase, mailchimp, MetLife, Publix, Coco-Cola, Emory University, Prudential, WinShape foundation, and more.
Midmarket, Small businesses, Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
10 – 49
$150 – $199/hour
Goes with the tagline ‘Marketing by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs,” Deksia is #1-ranked national branding and digital creative agency, working to grow their clients’ businesses for 17 years. The certified and professional team at Deksia understands the intricacies of your business to offer relevant branding, web designing, and digital marketing strategies and help you improve your brand image.
If you want an effective marketing strategy and the right partner to succeed, they are the partners you can rely on. From B2B to B2C, wholesale to retail, and small to large businesses, you can transform your brand, earn eye-popping revenues, and achieve everything that makes your business more profitable and better!
- MARKETING STRATEGY
- PHOTO & VIDEO
- DIGITAL ADVERTISING
Critical Thirty-nine, Groji, Arcanna, Countree Boys, Shannon Orthodontics, Verve, Falcon, Code 3, and more
Midmarket, Small businesses, Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
Grand Rapids, MI
50 – 249
$150 – $199/hour
Still, looking for ways to discover your brand’s value proposition? Well, your search ends here! BrandTuitive is one of the fastest-growing branding agencies that understands and honors the nuance of your brand and comes up with unexpected thinking and in-depth analysis to help you reach new heights. Their tagline, “We don’t create brands, we reveal them,” says a lot about the company.
Creativity is hard-wired into their DNA. Whether you are a well-established brand or a new startup, their talented team of professionals will help you reveal your greatness to the world and build your business with a smart strategy, captivating designs, and messaging. Have a personal story to share? BrandTuitive will help you breathe life into your story to put it in front of customers who matter.
Simply Wine, Nespresso, Horizen, Fulfill, ShopKeep, MRCE, Datacolor, and more.
Enterprise (>$1B), Midmarket, Small BusinessGO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
10 – 49
$200 – $300/hour
Based in San Diego, Ignite Visibility is a premier full-service and one of the highest recommended digital marketing agencies offering a wide range of branding and marketing services to their clients worldwide. With a compelling and straightforward philosophy of integrating branding and innovation with human-centered designs, they strive to create value for your business.
Their core focus is to grow businesses online through a unified cross-channel marketing strategy and drive change. They work closely with their clients to engage, influence prospects, build brands that impress and inspire investors. If you plan to navigate digital marketing change in the coming years, they are your go-to partner.
- Digital Marketing Strategy
- Email Marketing
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Website Design & Development
Tony Robbins, Sharp, National Funding, Accredited, The General Insurance, EOS Fitness, 5-hours Energy, and more.
Midmarket, Small Business, Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
San Diego, CA
50 – 249
$100 – $149/hour
Founded in 2005, Motto is a national creative agency with offices in Dallas, TX, and New York City and core expertise in branding and marketing strategies. They partner with visionary companies to build brands with purpose using their unexpected thinking and out-of-the-box design capabilities. If you want to scale, disrupt the industry, and matter amongst your peers, Motto will help with your goals.
This purpose-driven branding agency is owned by women and helps launch or evolve brands to capture their dream and spirit into their brand that wins. They have a seamless process to assist clients in all industry verticals, a talented brigade of professionals, and a creative mindset, giving brands an ownable position in the market.
- Web Designers
- User Experience
Blue Sky Studios, Noovie, Even, Hershey’s, Keetsa, Humankind, Chance, Serif, Looie, Maxx-D, and more.
Midmarket ($10M – $1B), Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
10 – 49
$150 – $199/hour
A compelling brand identity is a must for businesses to thrive in this tight competitive market and become a progressive brand name. WANT Branding uncovers your natural appeal and USP’s and helps you create a brand that delivers performance as per customer’s demands, grab attention, and win.
In the industry for 30 years, WANT Branding has helped more than 2000 companies unlock their brands’ value, delight customers, outflank competitors, and get exceptional ROI. WANT is based in three of America’s most popular cities, New York, Miami, and Denver, and has a team of certified professionals who can work on any project end-to-end.
American Petroleum Institute, Alphia, Intel, Intuitive, City Center DC, Sincro, Metallic, and more.
Enterprise, Midmarket, Small BusinessesGO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
2 – 9
$200 – $300/hour
A New York-based branding and creative agency, C42D is a focused team of creative thinkers, designers, and strategists, who love problem-solving. If you seek some out-of-the-box branding help from the most driven people in the industry, C42D is your go-to-partners who can help you even put a dent in the universe.
They guide your leadership to clarity, craft a vision, mission, messaging, and capture your spirit in your brand motto. By turning their craft into science and using proven methodologies and technology, they help their clients tell a compelling story, stand out from competitors, and achieve success.
- Web Designers
Kindbody, Shazam, Cuebiq, Brightline, Tone, OOVA, Actify, Foundation capital, and more.
Small businesses, Midmarket, EnterprisesGO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
2 – 9
$150 – $199/hour
A compelling brand story and strategic positioning are the foundation of a great brand and excellent business results. Mechanica is purpose-built to craft crush-worthy brands that perform and scale and create experiences that are engaging, different, and resonate with customers deeply. As your strategic creative partner, they will help you navigate change and outflank your peers with more profitable and responsible results.
A shift in the business landscape enables Mechanica to help brands worldwide shift brand experiences, right from redefining legacy brand propositions to designing strategic roadmaps and enhancing customer experiences. If you plan to launch a new line of business or mergers or acquisitions or plan to expand your customer base, contact Mechanica for all your queries.
Forcepoint, Allways health partners,Abt Associates, Saucony, Sea Cuisine, Downeast, and more.
Small businesses, Midmarket, EnterprisesGO TO WEBSITE
978 499 7871
With the core expertise in branding and marketing strategy, Traina Design is in the market since 2005, having experience working with all top brands like Microsoft, Sony, HP, Facebook, Qualcomm, and more. A standout feature of Traina Design is that they bring innovation to the table and are known for award-winning creativity in the field.
Brand analysis, enhancing customer experiences, benchmarking, telling compelling stories, and visualization are the backbone of Traina Design’s processes. They take care of minute details, messaging, brand identity, strategic insights, and the masterminds behind each project that genuinely magnifies the clients’ results. So, if you want to remove complexities from your brand building processes, reach out to Traina Design experts.
- Digital Identity
- Motion Services
San Diego, Microsoft, Facebook, Qualcomm, Cisco, Expedia, Sony, Thremofisher, life technologies, HP, and more.
Small businesses, Midmarket, EnterprisesGO TO WEBSITE
San Diego, CA
10 – 49
$150 – $199/hour
Are you a brand looking to grow big and stand for something bigger? BLVR is the branding and marketing partner for you! They help brands across all industry verticals, drive meaningful outcomes by pairing style, design, and creativity with substance, and architecting a movement to make the most significant impact in the world.
The experts at BLVR have expertise in brand design and development, user experience, and web development. They combine string strategic thinking, best-in-class design and latest technology, and powerful storytelling to drive trust, create memorable and engaging customer experiences, accelerate evangelism and growth.
- BRAND DEVELOPMENT
- DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY
Bethany Hamilton, Common Assembly, Truth becomes her, Finest made, OH, Futures, Rylee+Cru, and more.
Small businesses, Midmarket, EnterprisesGO TO WEBSITE
San Diego, CA
$150 – $199
DeSantis Breindel is a full-service B2B branding and marketing agency specializing in creating and launching world-class brands from scratch. With their brigade of strategists, writers, designers, filmmakers, web developers, marketers, and experience makers, they are on a mission to transform brands and drive change to engage customers and inspire investors.
With over 18 years’ experience as an agency, DeSantis has continued to produce memorable brands and rich human-centered designs for a broad spectrum of clientele from tech startups, mid-sized and multi-billion-dollar companies to enterprise-level corporations. If you are looking to soar to new heights and create a product that is a brand in itself, DeSantis is your branding company!
- Digital Branding
- Content Marketing
Engie Impact, Verifone, EXL, ICF, Guggenheim Partners, One Span, Lathrop Gage, Absolute Software, and more.
Midmarket, Enterprise (>$1B)GO TO WEBSITE
New York, NY
10 – 49
$200 – $300/hour
BRANDING 101: HOW TO USE THE BEST STRATEGY TO BUILD YOUR BRAND
Think once, products are never just products. I mean, IKEA is more than furniture. BMW is more than just a car. McDonald’s is more than a burger. Hershey’s is more than chocolate. These brands are experiences in itself and consumers buy these brands for those exclusive experiences. An interesting fact is that the average revenue increase that is attributed to presenting the brand in a consistent manner is a whopping 33%.
Moreover, the companies that market them know precisely what their customers want. Hence, they create such experiences that they want you to have when you make that purchase. Now, that is what you called a brand!
From the material and color palette for packaging and advertisement to the model of their ads or captions on their Instagram story, companies who create strong brands know that their brand needs to live everywhere. They strive to create names that go far beyond their label.
The result? Today we don’t say we want to buy chocolate. We say we want to buy Cadbury. Strong brand presence is remembered, admired, and preferred by all, and are chosen out of tons of options available. Who doesn’t want that? We all do, right.
But do you know how these incredible brands are developed? What are the processes or trends they follow? How these brands became so huge and a household name?
In this comprehensive article, we have curated a step-by-step guide for companies looking to establish their brand identity, outperform competitors, create incomparable customer experiences, and get exceptional ROI.
But first, let’s start with what is branding?
From naming the product/service to its identity system and messaging platform, from choosing brand guidelines to communicating the right message through all channels to the right audience, Branding covers it all. Branding is referred to as an iterative process of researching, developing, and applying the set of strategic features so that your organization can connect with the customers. It might interest you to learn that 64% of consumers state that shared values are the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.
The concept of branding is in existence since the time of the Pyramids. The Pyramids in Egypt are an age-old example of ancient personal branding.
Branding is magic. It means getting in the mind and heart of the organization and see through the eyes of consumers. A business is like a person and your brand is like its identity and personality. Strong brands can connect and spread like wildfire. It is like how you introduce yourself or your organization to your peers/competitors/consumers/investors and how you build a trusting relationship with them. A fact that will drive home the importance of branding is that 77% of consumers purchase items based on their brand name rather than the name of the object itself.
If you still have the question, ‘Is branding really that important?’ lingering on your mind, read ahead.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT BRANDING
A brand is a promise to the customer, reflecting the expectations they can have from a product or a service or a solution and how it differentiates from its competitors. In fact, 59% of shoppers buy from the brands they trust. If that doesn’t tell you the importance of branding, we don’t know what will. A digital-first branding agency specializes in creating, launching, or rebranding the brands from scratch. Their role is to create, plan, measure, and manage innovative and unique strategies right from identity design to global campaigns helping brands stand out amongst other brands.
Why is branding necessary for your business? The answer is –
– Branding gives potential buyers the reason to choose you over your peers. It helps transform consumers’ perceptions.
– It gives your brand a unique identity, voice, and personality to resonate with and connect with your customers.
– Branding helps make your brand memorable. It is like the face of your company, distinguishing your business across all mediums.
– It supports your advertising and marketing efforts adding that extra punch and significant impact.
– Enables companies to create a highly reputable workplace for all the employees.
At this moment, you might have a perception that a branding agency can only help you in the short term. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Branding agencies also help you in the long term. Read ahead to know-how.
HOW A BRANDING AGENCY CAN HELP BUILD BRAND EQUITY AND LOYALTY
If your brand is the first name that comes to mind whenever one thinks about your industry, you should know that you have done something right. There are, however, a lot of steps that you need to follow before you can reach this level. For your brand to get to this level, you need to work on building brand equity and loyalty.
A silent partner that can help you do this is your branding agency. Here are a few ways your branding agency can help you build brand equity and loyalty.
Help create brand strategy
The only way you will remain at the top of your consumer’s mind is if you know exactly who your consumer is. To do so, you need to have a branding agency on board that will help you gather this information. By carrying out extensive research, these agencies help you pinpoint who your consumer is. Once this has been identified, you can craft the message you want to deliver to your consumers, personalizing the message for different target groups.
Help test your messaging
Your journey is not over once the message has been crafted. You need to test the messaging with your consumers as well. When you do this, you will know what parts of the message resonate with consumers and what features are not doing well. After a certain amount of testing, you will pinpoint what your ideal consumer is reacting to. It will help you craft the perfect message to resonate with them.
Help design eye-catching branding elements
The perfect message is only going to impact your consumer if it is packaged well. To do this, you need multiple elements to come together. These include logos, colors, and images that define your brand. For example, if you think of the color blue, two social media giants likely come to mind – Twitter and Facebook. It is because of the sheer power of branding. You, too, need to ensure your brand is so powerful, which can only be achieved with the help of a branding agency that will help you choose the right branding elements.
Provide uniform communication
The final thing that will make your consumers stay loyal to your brand is if they know that they can expect consistent communication every time they interact with you. It means that the tone, visual elements, and messaging should all be consistent with your brand’s overall messaging. Any break in this communication will make your consumer weary and harm your brand in the long run. A branding agency will help design a branding playbook for you, ensuring your brand always appears consistent in front of consumers.
Creating a brand is thrilling, brand management is exciting, but it is not enough. As your business scales, you must implement different strategies to align with the change, and your brand must follow the suite. That is why it is essential to understand different branding types, which will enable your branding agencies to help you elevate your business.
Now that you are aware of how an agency will help you in the long term, you need to learn about the different types of branding that will help you achieve this goal.
DIPPING YOUR TOES INTO THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BRANDING – Make sure your agency is aware or understands these different branding types
Branding is not only about your brand name, logo, website, or product. It includes all the intangible stuff that separates powerhouse from all other mediocre brands in the market. For that, you need to understand different branding types that will help you differentiate your business or service from others while aligning with your goals.
You must make sure and understand if your branding agency has the expertise in all the below branding types. To know the true importance of this statement, you must know that 48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.
Maintaining a good brand reputation is critical for any organization. One of the more reputation-focused brandings is Corporate Branding, also known as Organizational Branding. It reflects across the entire organization, including its mission, core values, promise to its stakeholders, services, products, employees, corporate social responsibility, culture, and personality.
When you have a strong brand value, you impact your customer in ways you cannot even imagine. 13% consumers say that they would pay 31-50% more for products or services if they believe that your business is making a positive impact on the world. That is the true power of branding.
Any activity carried out by the company can have long-term, positive, or negative effects on its reputation. Consumers start associating performance, promise, trust, and beliefs with the name, which automatically drives brand-recognition. One interesting fact you need to keep in mind is that 82% of people are likely to trust a company whose high-ranking executives avidly use social media.
For example, Nike has a strong brand image amongst the athletes, sports enthusiasts, and anyone who loves fitness. Its mission statement, “To inspire and motivate every athlete or fitness aficionado in the world and innovate,” is reflected across all their platforms and aligns with their swoosh mark logo, “Just do it.”
Personal branding or Individual branding is viral amongst politicians, celebrities, athletes, digital marketers, or even social media influencers. Personal branding makes it possible for famous people to maintain a positive public image or establish an out-of-the-box personality.
For example, working as a brand on social media can enable Politicians to present the best version of themselves to the public and gain votes. Richard Branson, Neil Patel, Narendra Modi, are among the best examples of public figures who have invested heavily in their online presence – disruptive, leaders, philanthropic.
Product Branding is most common and widely used, and you can see it everywhere you go. With well-thought strategies, unique experiences, colors, packaging, slogans, and images, a company can set its product apart from the other.
For example, the giant consumer products company Procter & Gamble (P&G) has over 22 billion-dollar brands. P&G’s global brand Pringles has many different flavors to suit the varying regional palates. If product branding is done right, consumers can easily relate to your brand.
I mean, today, millennials easily relate soda with Coca-Cola, the swoosh mark with the Nike logo, and the dramatic music of Netflix. This is because the product in itself has reached the pinnacle of branding success. Consumers can relate to your logo, colors, brand music, voice, messaging, personality, and because of effective branding, you can associate the two together.
If you work in the hospitality, travel, or tourism industry, Geographical Branding is for you. The geographic association focuses on the specific services, culture, history, unique traits the region or the place uses as its selling point. It conveys to customers as to why you should visit it.
For example, Scotch from Scotland. Eiffel Tower from Paris that also happens to be a French national icon. Cities, regions, sometimes entire countries go by geographic branding to promote what sets them apart from others.
Irrespective of the business, one of the biggest challenges will be to ensure that your customers are getting world-class services at all times. The experience consumers go through with your company defines Service Branding. From the in-store experience to call handling time or meeting the consumers in-person to solve the pain points, service branding is all about the relationship between you and your customers.
The internet and social media have given rise to omnichannel customer service. There are several platforms for users to engage with your brand, and to keep up with the quality of service across all the channels is difficult. It is critical for businesses to consistently provide excellent services to lower customer churn, gain customer loyalty, and foster company growth.
For example, getting premium discounts for Platinum credit cardholders with every purchase, or ‘DIY videos’ by art stores selling craft supplies, or lounge services for premium customers at airports.
Cultural branding is focused on building a positive image and reputation for the people living in a particular region, city, or nationality. It goes hand-in-hand with Geographic Branding, as places influence the culture and human activities affect the place.
For example, New York is the world’s financial and commercial capital and is known as the city that never sleeps. It is also an excellent example of cultural branding influencing music, fashion, brands, entertainment, and arts worldwide.
Businesses can make use of cultural branding to grow in new markets and increase their sales. Companies can leverage on cultures and tweak their products or services to attract the local audience like apps change features or language based on the region.
Retailers are the giant stores we all familiar with and experience in our day-to-day lives. Industry giants use Retail Branding to sell products from many different manufacturers in one place, generate interest in consumers, and make product sales outperform the competition. Retail stores strive to create a distinct image for themselves with a lot of planning, right strategies, unique names, logos, and designs, to ensure its success.
Co-branding is the branding where two or more brands collaborate, come together with a specific product or a service. It is about building a marketing partnership such that one brand’s success rubs off on the other. Very useful for building businesses to break into new markets, increase awareness, and give consumers new experiences never had before.
As the name suggests, Online Branding is also known as Internet Branding and has become very popular in recent years. It is all about building its online presence, including website, digital marketing, social media platforms, blogs, email marketing, and other online content. Most companies use online and offline branding hand-in-hand for their branding strategies in today’s marketplace.
For example, online eCommerce store Made Unboxed – one of the leading furniture marketplaces created an online community to connect undecided buyers with their previous customers. The platform allowed them to share real-life experiences and help shoppers with ideas and inspirations. They try to bridge the gap between the online and physical stores and give people a platform to connect over their dream home.
Activist Branding, also known as Conscious Branding or Purpose branding, is for organizations who believe in a cause or social initiative and align that with the brand strategy. The goal is to have a positive social influence so that consumers can associate themselves with the brand, and the brand can ultimately become synonymous with the cause.
For example, Body Shop acts against animal cruelty and brand their products as natural and not tested on animals. Benetton is carrying social responsibility messages.
No-brand Branding is also known as Minimalist Branding and focuses on letting the product speak for itself without any extra bells or whistles. For some companies, their product’s quality is enough to grab consumer’s attention and drive sales. These companies don’t rely on branding, advertising, or marketing for sales. They go without a logo with a simple overall design and packaging in line with the brand strategy.
For example, the firm ‘Brandless’ saves on advertising and branding to deliver exceptional quality products to their customers at low-cost compared to their competitors. Their mission is to focus on quality and tell their customers that they don’t need to spend an extra penny for ‘branded,’ ‘healthy,’ and ‘affordable’ food.
The beauty about this form of branding is that you do not have to talk about the business as a whole. Instead, all you need to do is highlight the benefits of a particular part or branch of a business. When this one feature gains popularity, it becomes the reason why your brand is known in the market.
The best example of this is Intel’s Intel Inside campaign that was launched in the early 80’s. Through this campaign, they asked consumer’s to look for the Intel Inside logo so that they would know the device they are using will provide them with assured quality.
Well, to build a strong brand and to convey your purpose and promise, it requires careful planning and smart brand strategies in place. Here’s how your branding agency can help you map a cutting-edge plan for your business.
CHOOSING THE BEST BUSINESS STRATEGY WITH A BRANDING AGENCY
With shifts in the digital landscape, change in algorithms, and other platforms like social media and digital marketing, companies need to market themselves to stay competitive and recall value correctly. Branding is one aspect that remains unchanged, but finding new strategies to keep the brand afloat is critical to match the present needs and expectations of customers.
Brand strategy is the groundwork for building a successful business. It is a phenomenon that encompasses a specific set of plans in combination with components of your brand’s identity to help you achieve business goals. In the below section, we bring you the list of 7 tactics to build a comprehensive brand strategy that will help you master branding, gain brand awareness and growth.
Know your Purpose
A powerful brand purpose is more than just a promise. It is the reason for your brand’s existence and the intent that sets you apart from the competitors. Having a definite mission statement related to your product or service and brand promise is necessary when determining the brand positioning. Before defining your purpose, ask yourself a few questions:
– What is the very purpose of your existence?
– What are your USPs, features, benefits that set you apart
– Which pain points are you addressing?
– Why should people purchase your product or services over others?
Discover the purpose behind your existence and align that with your goals. Your branding partner can use these ideas to develop taglines, slogans, messaging, stories, visuals, and more. Look beyond the functional or monetary part of your business. Studies show that people buy products based on the company’s brand value and impact on society.
People admire brands who look to achieve more than just profitability, but rather focus on creating a better everyday life. Our advice? Dig deep! Behind every successful brand, there is a powerful purpose. Get inspired by other brands you admire, set your mission and vision statement accordingly.
Conduct Extensive Research
The most fundamental part of branding is to know your competitors, have proper insights so that you can align your actions, and make strategic decisions based on insights. If you are a new brand or looking for rebranding, competitor analysis is a must. The focus should be to persuade your audience to make purchases from you over others. This step is crucial for a brand name to be significant. A brand needs to stand out in the tough competitive market, and for that, research is imperative to help you distinguish and enable consumers to recognize and remember you.
Consistency is Key
Have you added a new post to your LinkedIn page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your brand messaging, voice, and personality? Or was it quite confusing for your audience?
Consistency is imperative for the brand-building process. While making a platform for your brand to stand on, don’t forget to ensure that your messaging is cohesive. Keeping your channels harmonized and sending a consistent message helps build customer loyalty and brand recognition. Have brand guidelines, style guide in place which encompasses everything right from the color palette to the brand voice you will use to position your products or services.
Define your target audience
The foundation of any product or service or any successful brand is to have a definite target audience that you will be focusing on. It is imperative to know who your audience is, what they want, and attract the right people at the right time.
Today’s millennial users want customized services or products, and by having useful insights about your audience, you can tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs. Do A/B testing with your rebranding strategies, and gain a competitive edge while ensuring your brand message is crystal clear.
For example, Squarespace, while rebranding themselves, they changed their website and style guide but didn’t experiment with their logo much because they know that their audience is aware of their brand.
Alternatively, take, for example, Mastercard. They know that their audience is well aware of their logo, so they dropped the brand name and rebranded. Before taking this drastic step, they researched, and the company’s brand awareness grew during the rebranding.
Ingrain Flexibility into your Brand
In this ever-evolving marketing landscape, companies must focus on being flexible to stay relevant. This also gives you ample opportunity to be creative with your campaigns. Now the question is, how to remain consistent while being flexible? Well, consistency helps you focus on your brand’s standard, while flexibility gives you room to experiment with the interest and distinguish your approach from that of your peers.
For example, take Walt Disney and its logo, the brand message and identity are consistent, but they are flexible with their brand mark to communicate across different platforms and devices. Small logos for small mobile screens, and they adept big or stretched logos for giant billboards.
Work on Building Brand Loyalty
Are you an old brand having people who already love you? Are you taking any steps to reward them for that love? Your fans have gone their way out to show their love to you, write about you, tell your friends about you, and to act as brand ambassadors. It would help if you cultivated loyalty from these people who will help you accelerate your profits and bring in more customers.
Sometimes a thank you is more than enough to do the magic. But other times, you must go above and beyond, personalize your products, sent them that special swag, and ask them to write a review or feature your products on their website.
Loyalty is one of the four pillars in the brand-building process, especially when you are trying to support your sales. By showing love to existing customers, you can set an excellent tone for potential customers if they choose to do business with you.
Always Advocate for your Brand
It is crucial for your branding partner and you to stay true to your brand building, messaging, and personality. Stick to your brand guidelines and share them with your branding agency for reference. Take help from your loyal customers and employees, give them a voice, ask them to post reviews, or share your content; they will serve as the best advocates for your brand. In the end, it’s your brand, No one knows it better than you do! So, get going, spread the word, market your own firm, and be its best advocate.
Be it a small or large business, applying the best strategies is the common practice followed by leading branding agencies in the industry. Consumers love brands with a strong identity and following best practices enables companies to stand out, gain trust, and achieve success. Over the years, the business environment, internet, and branding strategies have drastically transformed, opening doors to new opportunities. To stand out in this tough competition, businesses need to be flexible and give their brand unique personalities. In the below section, we bring you the best practices, followed by leading agencies to help you build a memorable brand.
5 Best practices followed by branding agencies to help you build an exceptional brand.
In today’s digital world, to make your brand stand out, you need to follow the below best practices to live your brand through your consumers’ eyes and deliver the value that matters the most.
Vocabulary consistency is the key
Consistent is the word. Consumers will come across your marketing content everywhere, from print media to social media. Make sure you are consistent with your keywords. Brand voice and tone should be the same everywhere. Inconsistency creates confusion and affects how your consumers think about your brand. Consistent font types, colors, and vocabulary help you develop trust, build loyalty, and increase brand recall value. You must remember that it only takes 90 seconds of initial viewing before people make a subconscious judgment about a product, so make sure those 90 seconds are worthwhile.
Present unique selling points, mission, vision, purpose, and value
It is essential to be loud and clear about your USPs, mission, purpose, and value to your customers. It articulates your core values, why your customers should choose you over others, what you are offering, which matters to them the most. It will help you send a clear message about your beliefs to prospective stakeholders, which will help you attract new audiences, accelerate your growth, share your value, and boost revenue.
Be clear with your messaging to the customers
Customers are the king of your business. You cannot go far without your audience. In today’s digital world, the needs of millennials change daily. You need to make efforts, use time and money, and proper strategies to understand your customers’ needs and desires. Find out what your customers want to gain their trust and revisits.
A survey by Facebook has revealed that the four top-most qualities people use to describe the reason they are loyal to a brand are cost, quality, experience, and consistency. Keeping this in mind, you must:
– Ask your customers the reason to purchase from you.
– Provide a way to add their feedback or reviews.
– Offer them discounts or deals for return visits.
– Create a brand that is more comfortable and positive towards customer satisfaction.
Branding is a team sport
Branding or brand-building is a team effort that helps startups, entrepreneurs, to large businesses easily attain goals and make a memorable brand. Every member of the organization has a role in shaping the brand and increase brand awareness. If you are hiring a branding agency, look for an agency with the best team that makes efforts to articulate your brand message consistently across all platforms. You really have to educate your branding partner about what your brand needs to achieve, brand essence, and what they need to contribute to the brand.
Reinvent or Innovate your Brand
In this fast-changing world, it is necessary to be consistent, but it is also imperative to be flexible and reinvent your brand. Once you have decided your brand persona, you need to revisit it as your audience grows. If you don’t innovate, your brand will get old, overshadowed by new trendy brands. Reevaluate your branding to stay relevant in the marketplace, introduce new strategies, consider regulatory changes and other factors.
With the above components, we are sure your branding strategies will be in place. But, what is the next stage to create and promote a firm’s brand? Well, your branding partner must follow a branding process for the success of any marketing and business development program.
A brand process enables the organization to shape the brand with intention and control. It is a combination of interrelated phases, including strategic thinking, research, audit, project management, and creativity. For some big brands, the process might be more complex and involve in-depth analysis. In the below section, we will see what the different approaches are and how thousands of high-growth firms adopt it.
THE BRANDING PROCESS FOLLOWED BY TOP AGENCIES
What is the branding process? It is a systematic approach to raise brand awareness, communicate, define, and strengthen a firm’s brand using several sequential steps. A lot of in-depth analysis and planning goes into creating a brand; hence, a meticulous process in place can help you manage them all efficiently. A successful brand is not built overnight; it’s done one step at a time.
An effective branding process enables branding agencies to understand every individual company’s needs, create strong brands with a unique identity, convey the brand’s personality on-point, and gain audience attention. We have divided the branding process into 8 phases:
Before embarking on the branding process, it is vital to know what you want from your brand and where it currently stands. To do an audit is like an introspection to determine what value your brand will add to the existing market landscape, what perception you want to create for your brand, what is working, and where improvements are needed.
Audit also helps in competitor analysis, understand stakeholder’s perceptions, and to understand consumers’ expectations. Audit can help you recognize your strengths, your USP’s, and what you can do to create a better brand and outperform amongst your competitors. With proper insights you can take data-driven approach to improve your brand position.
Planning and research are crucial for any businesses to accomplish any branding goal. Your action items are derivates of your research. It is vital to gather data on your market, consumer, and competition and change your strategies accordingly. Research on your logos, colors, designs, taglines, and all the marketing materials. It should also cover your competitor’s visuals and content.
The detailed audit and research reports is the steppingstone for your brand strategy. The information helps to understand the current state and identify opportunities in the brand-building process.
Personas and journey maps
With data analytics, consumer study, and competitor-insights, companies can build buyer personas to better understand their potential audience, their aspirations, pain points, and brand likings. For example, your research shows the target consumers are females. So, create a buyer persona by describing your consumer’s age, gender, location, income, education. Create a journey map.
Due to the constant changes in the shopping landscape, buying patterns, and consumer behavior, developing buyer personas and journey maps are necessary. It enables to you walk into your consumer’s shoes to understand their preferences, observe their social media behavior, understand their preferences, and their experiences while they are interacting with your brand.
A brand platform comprises of several attributes enabling companies to form a perception or image and is often used to support various sales or marketing campaigns. It is the core of your brand helping you to develop successful brand strategies accordingly. Before developing a brand platform, a company should take into consideration following details:
– Brand Promise: A brand promise is what consumers can expect. If consistently delivered, it increases the brand value for consumers.
– Brand Mission: Mission statement is your company’s core business. It is the purpose of your company. For example, TED’s mission is to Spread ideas.
– Core Values: With values, a company expresses its culture. These are the principles that a company stands by.
– Brand Position: It’s the space a brand occupies in the consumer’s mind and change their strategies to set themselves apart from the competition.
– Brand Vision: These are aspirational statements. What your company desires to accomplish in the future. For example, Tesla’s vision is to become “the most compelling car company of the 21st century” by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Brand architecture gives an organized structure to the company’s portfolio and shows how every offering is interrelated. There are chiefly four types of brand architecture:
– Branded house – The company name itself is a brand which is called as the master brand or a corporate brand. All other brands are extensions or subsets of the master brand. For example, Google has Google Maps, Google Ads, and Gmail. Another example is FedEx with subsets like FedEx Office, FedEx Express, FedEx Services, FedEx Ground, FedEx Logistics, and FedEx Freight.
– House of Brands – House of Brands architecture is a collection of diverse brands under a parent brand. This architecture protects its brands as each brand is unique and independent from other in-house brands. If one brand is in crisis, other brands are not affected. A few of the famous house of brands are Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestle.
– Endorsed Brands – True to its name, in an endorsed architecture, parent brands endorse their individual and distinct brands. Each brand has its own identity and market. However, child brands enjoy the parent brand’s positioning. An excellent example is Marriott. A few of its sub-brands are Courtyard, Residence Inn, and Fairfield. Other examples are Sony PlayStation and Polo by Ralph Lauren.
– Hybrid – Hybrid brand architectures is the collaboration between two or more brands out of necessity rather than by design. Brands acquired from mergers and acquisitions may fall under this category.
One more element of developing the brand strategy is creating or changing the brand name and tagline. Naming a brand is an intricate task requiring a significant amount of time, research, and brainstorming. With time the brand name becomes synonymous with the company.
A company should decide its preference on how the name should be. It can have a unique name or a name with a meaning. It can also first look for a dot com domain name and then finalize the brand name. Decide on a name that is catchy and memorable.
Brand Identity System
Elements that collectively create an image that represents your brand is called Brand Identity System. These are tangible assets that shape the perception of your company. Consumers will associate your product or service with the brand identity. It helps create a long-lasting connection between you and your consumers. Below are a few key elements that constitute the identity system.
– Logo – The first thing a consumer will notice is your logo. A good logo should be unique, recollect able, flexible enough to work well in different sizes, colors, and various mediums.
– Alternate Mark – An alternate mark supports your logo. No need for a new design as a small design tweak to your logo can work. It is used on several touchpoints like merchandizes, social media, labels, and tags.
– Color Palette – Brands work with a color scheme that becomes their signature. Do not limit colors to your letterheads, but it should be present at all the touchpoints. Always choose the colors preferred by your audience. If done correctly, color itself will remind consumers of your brand.
– Typography – The type of fonts used tells a lot about your brand. Select fonts that complement your brand’s personality. For example, Script typography is cursive, giving a luxurious feel, while Sans serif gives a modern look.
Brand guidelines and Training
There are several touchpoints where consumers encounter your brand. Touchpoints may include your websites, social media handle, brochures, letterheads, and advertising materials. You want to make sure your brand visuals and tone of the content remain the same across all formats. The consistency is vital to avoid confusion and build trust.
If there are diversions in your visuals or style, all the research and work done to create a unique identity gets wasted. Create brand guidelines, and conduct training for consistency.
Brand guidelines may include the logo’s size, primary and secondary color palettes, typography, and icons used across different mediums. It has details of the tone or the voice of the brand. As the brand evolves, make sure to keep updating your brand guidelines.
You are now familiar with the different types of branding, the importance of branding strategies, branding process to be followed. Now, you need the right branding agency that can help you tell the right story to the right audience and help your business grow. So, how to select the perfect branding agency? In the section below, we will guide you about what to look for when choosing a firm that suits your goals and budget.
How to choose the right branding agency to tell your story?
Irrespective if you are a new startup or an established brand, branding your company is a significant investment. While there are many other vital facets to growing an organization, marketing and branding are the most critical stages. If you are planning to invest time, money, and efforts, you would want to make sure the job is done the right way. That is why it is necessary to hire the right branding agency to make the process a lot easier. With this in mind, we have curated a list of a few things you should consider before hiring the right partner for your company:
Know what you want
Before you even start talking to any agency, have a clear objective, what kind of services you want. There are several agencies that offer a range of services, and having your objectives defined will help you align with your goals. Decide if you want a creative studio or a big branding agency, a small startup or an agency with amazing portfolio. Decide if you want to create a digital footprint or explore offline channels only?
Know your budget
The budget is an aspect that cannot be ignored. However, it should not be either a deal maker or breaker. Hiring a branding agency should not be viewed as an expense; rather, it’s an investment with rich dividends. While working out a budget, do keep in mind quality work, seldomly comes at a bargain price.
Also, discuss in advance the specific number of revisions allowed before they start billing for them. At the same time, it is vital to discuss the price of modifications and the payment schedule. Getting work done at low cost and then rebranding it again to do it right will prove costly than spending money the first time.
Know the agency size
One size doesn’t fit all. For a big agency, if you are not a big client, there is a likelihood of being overlooked and getting inadequate attention. For small to medium-sized businesses, a boutique branding agency should fit right in. With special attention from boutique agencies, you can get more value for the money. Hire an agency with the ability to handle the scope and complexity of your project. The right experience and resources can elevate your brand.
Know the agency experience
Agency’s experience should have a significant influence on your selection decision. Spend time to understand the agency’s expertise. Go through their portfolio and get an idea about their strengths. If needed, contact their previous clients. Talk to them and get to know how their experience was with the agency. Ask questions,
• Was communication consistent and clear?
• Were the deadlines met?
• Did the agency exceed their expectations?
• Was the team professional and timely responsive?
Should the agency have experience with clients in your industry, see how you feel about the outcome. Do not overlook agencies without expertise in your domain. As a matter of fact, agency without the appropriate industry experience can provide a fresh out-of-box perspective. It will help create a completely unique brand experience for your customers.
Know their portfolio
An agency’s portfolio is the window to its experience. Look at the live demonstration of the agency’s expertise. You can recognize the depth of experience from studying the portfolio.
Looking for an agency’s work in your industry should be the first step, not the last step. Do not overlook the work done in other industries.
A diverse portfolio is a sign of the diverse skill set the agency possesses. Along with a diverse portfolio comes new learnings from the wide-ranging projects. More importantly, check how the agency has captured the essence of the brand in their campaign. The work, irrespective of the industry, should be of excellent quality.
Know their reputation
There are several ways to judge an agency’s reputation. The easiest way is to go through their client testimonials. If possible, connect with their clients and ask for their feedback on the agency’s work. In the digital age, nothing is hidden. Reviews and feedback can be found online on several forums.
Another way to ascertain an agency’s reputation is to observe if their leadership is being invited to conferences, webinars, or workshops to share best practices or vision.
Know their process
Branding is a project, and projects have processes. Having well-defined proven processes is the mark of a mature agency. As last-minute changes and late delivery can create chaos in your plan. , Processes are needed to avoid such confusion. Processes are created to deliver quality work on time within budget.
Walk with them through their process and make observations if their methods have evolved with their experience. Understand how each phase begins and concludes. Understand how the goals are established, what metrics are used, and what quality checks are done at each stage.
Know their branding strategy
One of the best ways to judge a branding agency’s work is to look at branding themselves. Look for their digital footprint and the strategies used to promote themselves. Start with looking for them on search engines. How do they fare in search results?
Read through their content, their blogs, publications, or guides. Are they insightful, informative, and intelligent? How are they promoting their work and best practices? Follow them on social media and check how their social media strategy is engaging and exciting. Ask yourself, does their branding match your expectations?
Apart from this, there are many other questions you need to ask your branding agency.
Questions you must ask before onboarding a branding agency
Before you go ahead and ask your branding agency these questions, you need to be clear about your objectives internally as well. To do this, you must identify your goals, branding mission, organizational challenges, and what you are looking for in a branding partner. Once you have recognized these points and answered them, you can go ahead and pose these questions to the agency you are considering.
Here are some of the questions you should surely ask:
• What are your thoughts on our current branding?
• What type of branding do you specialize in?
• How much research do you carry out as part of your branding services?
• What platforms will you conduct branding across?
• Do you have previous examples or case studies we can look at?
• Who are the team members I will be in direct contact with?
• How are you going to measure the branding goals?
• Till what stage of branding will you be our branding partner?
• Do you provide any other additional services? Do you provide post-branding services?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will have a good idea if the company will be a good fit for your brand. Then, you can look at the services they will provide.
These are services you should look for in your branding agency
While we have spoken about the importance and significance of branding, it is important to know how exactly the branding agency will help you achieve your branding goals. Here are the broad services you should be on the lookout for:
Research and Discovery
The agency should get to know your brand inside out. It is once they do this that they will be able to help you build your brand. Below, we have mentioned the questions you should ask them in this phase of research and discovery.
Once the agency knows your requirements, they need to see where you stand in the market. Who are your competitors? What is their branding? How do they make your brand stand out from competitors? It is why the research stage is essential in getting the best possible branding.
Naming your brand
Your brand is going to be known for its name. So you need to ensure you have the best possible one in the market. It should be quirky, memorable, and true to your entire brand identity. That is where branding experts come into the picture.
Brand identity and design
What colors are going to be associated with your brand? Are you going to be heavy on visuals or text? Are you going to have warm or soft colors in your store or website? All these questions need to be answered to provide you with the best possible brand identity and design.
With the wide array of brands available in the market, how will your brand stand out and make a name for itself? Branding agencies help you position yourself differently and communicate that position to the rest of the industry at large.
The Web design and development
In today’s digital-first world, your website is going to be the first point of contact consumers have with your brand. Hence, you need to ensure you have a responsive and engaging website that compels people to stay on the site.
It is an essential part of the branding activities as iconic brands like McDonald’s and BMW are recognized instantly by their logo. The logo should have elements that communicate what your brand is all about in colors that align with your overall identity and design.
Branding agencies help set a style guide so that all communication going out from your brand’s side has one uniform voice that speaks to all stakeholders. The tone, color and images used in this style guide will be replicated across your website, merchandise, and even your office decor.
Once you are well-versed with the process, you should know how long it will take.
How long does the branding process take?
If you have decided you want to employ the services of a branding agency, one of the questions that will be on your mind is how long will the process take? Before the agency can get back to you with a definitive timeline, you need to first communicate the following to them:
• What are your exact requirements
• The urgency of the branding activity
• The services to be covered under the branding
• If the branding will be created from scratch
In the case of a new project, branding can take up to a year. However, reworking on a project takes between half to three quarters of a year. Smaller projects like brand logo and identity can take up to only three months.
Making sure you communicate your exact needs to them will ensure there is no expectation-reality mismatch when the project is underway. One important aspect you need to discuss is the cost of branding.
How much will branding cost?
Now that you know how long it will take for your brand to be built or revamped, you also need to learn about the cost that comes with it. The reality is that you will be charged based on the services you are asking the agency to provide.
Brand design can range between $2,500 up to $50,000. Once again, this is based on what your exact requirements are. A general trend seen is that creating the brand name costs between $10,000 to $75,000. Building the website + its marketing costs anywhere between $10,000 to $250,000. It can even extend to more. If you are looking at branded ads, it can cost $10,000 to over $1 million, based on your marketing and advertising dollars.
So, how do you determine your branding budget?
Below, we have put forth the approximate range based on what stage of your branding journey you are a part of. If you are at a pre-launch stage, you should look at investing up to $10k. If you have an established business, set aside 2 to 4% of your annual revenue for branding.
It has been observed time, and again, companies often make mistakes while rebranding, or early stages of branding, sabotaging their growth and reputation. From people operating under the impression that a brand can be built in one day to companies ignoring it altogether, branding is often misunderstood. In the below section we bring you common branding mistakes prevailing in the industry we should be avoided to build a successful brand.
COMMON BRANDING MISTAKES THAT ANY BRANDING AGENCY SHOULD AVOID
Whether not considering the branding option or whether it is the strategic or visual aspect of your brand, certain branding mistakes have to be avoided if you want to outflank your peers. Believe it or not, your brand is an extension of your corporate personality, and it has to make a promise to offer a certain value to your customers. It is not a surprise that many big brands spend months or years researching the competition, gaining consumer insights, demographics, and other factors that will help them build a strong connection with their audience. In the below section, we have curated a list of certain common mistakes that you can definitely avoid to craft a meticulous customer experience.
Avoid a generic brand identity
You have researched your market, done competitor analysis, and created a unique product or service that solves consumer problems. But you don’t differentiate your brand from others. Differentiating helps your audience to appreciate the value of your brand.
Generic brand identity will make just another brand in the crowd. Carve your own identity. Have a clear vision and then work towards communicating the message. Create visual and verbal content that will help you stand out and show your value. Be unique; don’t be the crowd.
Inconsistent brand messaging or identity
These days there are various platforms where brands are present. And one of the most common branding mistakes is not having brand consistency across platforms. Brand inconsistency can be in the form of visuals and brand voice. It leads to miscommunication, causing confusion that will lead to distrust, ultimately hampering customer experience.
Visually your brand should look the same across platforms, whether it is the logo, images, the colors, or the typography. Consumers will not recognize your unique style if it keeps changing—the brand voice should remain the same, whether it’s an email, social media, or your website. Always aim for consistency, whether it’s the content tone, design, or style of your logos. To have uniformity, create a brand identity guideline. The guide should contain details like but not limited to the primary and secondary colors palettes, logo size, images, and icons.
Neglecting branding opportunity
Internet and, more importantly, social media have opened a plethora of opportunities to promote your brand. Creating your online presence is not enough. You need to observe and learn how audiences are responding to your brand. Invest time and use tools to measure performance to identify opportunities.
Use the power of social media by working with social media influencers. Nurture your relationship with the influencer. The right influencer can get the much-needed spotlight on your brand. It can add more credibility to your brand.
Not evolving your brand identity
Branding is like technology. If you don’t evolve, you fade away. A brand is about strategies to attract and keep consumers. And strategies need to evolve with changes.
You can’t expect your company to grow by selling feature phones in the age of smartphones (remember Nokia?).
Evolving your brand doesn’t necessarily mean changing the logo and message. It’s about listening to your audience and taking incremental steps. A few of the great examples of brand evolution is Apple and Nike. Both companies consistently evolve their products and offer consumers the best in their product categories.
Rebranding the wrong way
There are several reasons why companies want to rebrand. The company explores international markets, new management, entering new product categories, outdated image, or cleaning a lousy perception.
Take, for instance, McDonald’s. It had an image of a restaurant that served unhealthy food. McDonald’s took steps and started rebranding themselves. Right from the logo, restaurant interiors to the menu. It is rebranding itself as more health, consumer, and environment friendly. A few examples of a century-old brand that have rebranded with time are Levi’s and Dairy Milk. These brands have changed with time, from logo, design, to new products relevant to the present day.
The internet is awash with several takes on the difference between Marketing, Branding, and Advertising. And yet, the answers vary from expert to expert, as different people have different take on the subject. Well, we recently tried our hands at differentiating the most talked about subject by defining the terms, and intent of each activity, and here is our analogy to understand the difference better. We hope the below differences will help you understand each segment more clearly and make the maximize use of each tool to develop more focused business initiatives.
Difference between Branding / Marketing / Advertising
Let us help you understand what is “branding” not in a vacuum, but rather in relation to its partners “marketing” and “advertising”. Though different, all three concepts work hand-in-hand to support each other to increase sales and boost revenue. All three efforts work together to produce the best results for businesses and neither is fully effective when used separately. In the below section we will help you understand the difference of all three efforts along with why marketing or advertising cannot exit without branding and vice versa.
When companies are cutting down on “marketing budget” is it really marketing or is it advertising? Is the definition of brand the most popular product of your company?
There is no dearth of people who think marketing, branding, and advertising are the same. With little or no knowledge of these concepts, it can become overwhelming for seasoned professional to differentiate. Leave alone someone setting up or growing a new business.
It is vital for the growth of your business to understand the importance and difference of all three. So, let’s have a look at what are these buzzwords and how can they impact on your business?
Before we discuss branding let’s understand what a brand is. Is it a company, a design or a logo?
Brand is a perception, an image that consumers have in their mind. The perception is more than a company’s logo, color, and themes. How the consumer feels about your products, services or company influences your brand too.
In simple words, brand is how others see you. It’s intangible. Brands are created over long-term as perceptions are built over the time as consumers experience your product or service.
Branding is the process to create and shape the brand or the perception. It is about nurturing a deeper, meaningful relationship with your consumers evolving with your company
To create a brand, you should deep dive to answer,
- Brand definition – What is your brand’s core values and promise?
- How should consumers feel after experiencing your product or service?
- How do you want consumers to remember your brand?
- What makes your business unique from others?
- Brand Identity – It includes the visual aspects of your product or service. The logo, tagline or motto, colors, and designs to name a few.
Branding not only has an impact on your customers, but it also has an impact on your employees. Boasting their moral and confidence in the company. Just like consumers it helps employees associate themselves with the brand in turn motivating to work passionately.
Branding is more than a logo; it’s creating the perception of the brand driving recognition and loyalty. Branding nurtures a relationship, creating a long-term connection.
Marketing is the processes with which you actively promote your product or service. It includes several tools and strategies like but not limited to market research, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, social media engagement, and blogging.
Marketing is how to get and retain the consumers. It is done with the goal to get your consumers buy your products or services and drive sales. There are marketing campaigns designed with specific objective, budget, schedule, and capturing metric.
In marketing knowing your customer is vital. You need to have answers for the questions like,
- Which section of consumers are you targeting?
- What value your brand brings to your consumers?
- Promotion of products and services to consumers
More importantly marketing deals with 4 P’s.
Product – Is this product filling a void or creating a new category in itself
Price – Correct pricing is a significant factor. It not only affects the bottom line but should also consider the perceived value.
Place – how would you like to sell the product? Brick and Mortar or online? What is the distribution strategy?
Promotion – All and any type of communicating including advertisements about the brand to your consumer falls under promotion.
In a nutshell marketing is to know your consumer and drive sales. The right marketing strategies will help to stand out in the crowd of brands.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room. Marketing and Advertising are used synonymously. However, they are different from each other. Advertising is a part of marketing and supports the larger marketing strategy.
Advertising is not just selling your product or service it’s about selling the brand. It creates the curiosity and influence the consumer in favor of your product.
Through marketing you inform the consumers about the product you have that they are looking for. With advertising you introduce and communicate about the product. There are several medium for advertising like but not limited to television, radio, print, mail and billboards. However, with the advent of social media the dynamics of advertising have changed. There are several ways of promoting your brand with and without paying money.
The principal goal of an advertising campaign is to encourage the buying behavior of the consumer by endorsing your products or services.
How Branding, Marketing and Advertising complement each other:
Without the story of who you are and why your company exist it is challenging to clearly communicate with consumers. It hinders in differentiating your brand from others. Branding is about letting know the world who you are.
Marketing is to know who your consumers are? Where are they, what are their preferences and needs. Without knowing these how can a company align itself to consumers interest and advertise and sell their products or service?
Advertising helps in ushering the consumer to buy the product or service.
Branding, Marketing and Advertising each demands its own strategy. Yet, the three converge on several occasions in a business. For instance, to run a successful advertising campaign it is vital to know your consumer. Market research helps you to identify and understand your target consumer. The marketing strategies can help study trends and increase conversion. However, a consumer with a connect to the brand can increase your conversions, generate loyalty and help create a unique brand. Thus, making all three important strategic pillars of your company.
A brand is far more than your logo, name, colors, product or services, website, or quality. Your brand identity consistently communicates your purpose, shapes your corporate culture, product development, and delivers value to your customers that matters the most. But one of the most common questions asked by entrepreneurs is, “how much should I invest in branding? What is the package I should select to make it worth the investment?”
The answer is, you need to ask for a quote from your branding agency, and the pricing ranges from $1,000 to $50,000 or up. It includes everything right from planning and researching and sometimes designing. A high-quality brand-building process involves many steps, including audit, collecting competitor and market insights, research, deciding on a brand name, logo, checking if the trade name exists, buying the domain name, colors, packaging, and the list goes on…
The cost or the package also includes the registration or trademark cost. One should also think of other costs, such as legal search and advisory work, to be included in the package. Website design, visual designers, digital marketers to spread the brand message, brand positioning cost.
Rome was not built in a day! Branding or brand-building process is not a one-day task. It takes years to build a successful brand. The sooner you start the better. To build a widely-recognized brand you need to follow certain best practices listed above in this article.
A branding expert will help analyze the market your brand will operate in and help you position it uniquely. They provide services like competitor analysis, brand strategy, brand positioning, and branding services to ensure your brand stands out in a cluttered market space. You can read more about the extensive services they provide here.
Do you what is common between incredibly successful brands like Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Nike, and Target? Their efficacious branding strategies and meticulously crafted consumer experiences. Their efforts in collaboration with the right branding partner are impeccably reflected throughout their website, social media platforms, advertisements, and other marketing materials.
Branding defines the company’s future, and it takes time, effort, a good strategy, and resources to build a successful brand and generate brand equity. In this stiff competitive market, where all the brands target the same audience, your branding strategies and planning will set you apart from all the rest. And in the end, the investment is worth all the recognition, consumer trust, and repeat business that will result.
While branding may be perceived as one of the lesser factors to put time and effort into by many companies, it is vital to invest in it upfront to don’t make other expenses down the years. Our advice is that companies should start looking at their brand from the outside in, consumers’ perspective, not just inside out. Gen-Z or millennials demand products or services that are customized or personalized is culture-focused. Companies should start looking at the hidden meanings in the everyday changing world, culture branding strategies, and ensuring that their brands see and drive the future to be relevant and fresh.
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Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19, SPINX Digital will continue to deliver the same level of excellence to our clients that they have come to know. We wish you, your colleagues and family safety, wellness and positivity during these challenging times. If you have any questions or needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.