When it comes to brand success, most business owners will choose to hire expert brand consultants instead of working on it on their own. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t trust themselves with their own brand. It only means that they want to ensure the success of the brand.
You see, while entrepreneurs and professionals are authorities in their own industry, it doesn’t automatically make them experts in branding. This is why they wouldn’t trust anyone other than an expert to create a compelling and memorable brand for their company. After all, this brand is their brainchild, and it should be nourished properly.
If you’re among those business owners who are after success for their brand, then choosing the right consultant for the job is a task you must take seriously. While you should definitely look at different branding agency portfolios, there are several other things you must consider to make the right decision.
To help you out, here are seven questions you should remember to ask first before closing a deal with a branding professional:
1. What is branding?
Defining what branding means for you and the consultancy you plan to hire is crucial in building a solid and memorable brand. Generally, you must instill in your mind that a brand is neither the product or service offered by a company, nor is it their logo or website. It is an idea that represents the identity of the business and its founders or — at the very least — how they want the public to perceive the company.
2. What are the branding consultation services offered?
Different branding consultancy services will serve as the stepping stones for your brand’s success, so you must make it a point to ask what they are. Keep in mind that what the consultants offer can help set your business and offerings apart from the competition’s.
An excellent branding agency or brand consultancy should be able to lead with your customers’ emotions. This means that they should be able to leverage the target market’s association with your products or services rather than only focusing on establishing how unique the features are and how useful these can be.
Also, you must determine whether an agency offers complete services or they can only help with one aspect of the brand. For example, some agencies can only perform inbound marketing, which means you will still need to look for other people to work on other aspects of marketing to make a killer brand.
Furthermore, an excellent branding consultant must be able to recognize the value and adjust to the different slants of your company to build a solid branding foundation. They should have a strategic process that can help you tell the world your story across all available mediums and channels for full efficacy.
3. What is the proposed brand strategy?
The process a branding agency proposes to use in establishing your brand is another crucial aspect you must consider. Knowing the strategic process that a branding consultant has for your brand – even if it’s not completely mapped out yet – would allow you to know what you can expect. It would also help you discern whether they are a good fit for your company.
If your priority is to attract more customers, the agency should be able to give you some idea about the path that needs to be taken for your desired result.
4. What’s the timeline?
This question is both for you as the business owner as well as for the branding consultant you plan to hire. Different businesses have varying timelines, and each would depend on where the company already is during the time the brand is created.
Define what your timeline is based on your business goals and share it with the agency you plan to hire. After relaying this information, the branding expert should also be able to give you a ballpark estimate of how long it would take before they can establish a memorable brand for you and your business.
5. Does the branding company work with or have some kind of connection with competitors?
Working with or having any kind of connection with your competitors isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a branding agency. In fact, it can work to your advantage.
Of course, this varies depending on the type of business you have. For example, PR companies are less likely to benefit from this setup, but restaurants have a better chance if they work with the branding agencies their competitors used.
6. What is the expected ROI?
For many businessmen, knowing the expected return on their investment is a vital consideration when choosing a branding consultant to work with.
However, you must understand that ROIs depend on the goals you created with the branding agency or on your own.
It is also imperative that you have estimations and analyses in place to determine whether you’re hitting short-term targets or may need to change your strategy midway to bring you closer to your long-term goals.
7. How well does the branding consultant fit the business?
Knowing how well a branding consultant fits your specific niche or type of business can be like determining your compatibility with another person romantically. In short, you should first decide whether or not you would “date” a branding agency.
You see, choosing a branding agency is akin to going on a blind date. You must go on a first date to see whether you have nothing in common or if the connection is immediately apparent that you can’t wait to start naming your brainchild from your first meeting.
Compatibility between a branding agency and a company is crucial for brand success. There should be an immediate “click,” and you should feel like you’re on the same page from the very beginning.
Like dating, effective and honest communication is a vital consideration when choosing a branding agency that could help you drive your business to success.
Ask to Understand
Being new to running a business is no reason to let just anyone take care of your brainchild. You must make sure that only an expert branding agency handles the creation and marketing of your brand to ensure its success. If you need help, all you need to do is ask the experts.