If you, or your company, is wondering how to develop a brand, it pays to do some research. Reading about how to build a brand online is only part of the battle. If you are new to the marketing game, you will likely spend more money over the long haul through time investment and opportunity cost trying to properly build a brand for your business.
If you’re in the market for hiring a branding expert, you probably fall into one of two categories: 1) You’re preparing for the launch of a new business or product, or 2) You’ve been in business for decades and are competing to retain your relevancy. In any case, you’ve made it to a level where you realize proper branding is essential to the success of your company. Now comes the hard part – how do you know what to look for when you hire a branding firm?
Partnering with the right firm for you
When considering a firm, the obvious questions prevail: What is the firm’s reputation? How much will it cost? What clients has the firm worked with? Certainly, these are important measures to consider. But, as with many things, what looks good on paper doesn’t always feel right in person. You should relate to the brand of the branding expert, as meta as that sounds.
Hire somebody who understands you
It sounds a little cheesy, looking for the right firm. What does that mean? Esoteric though it may be, you need to partner with a firm who understands every aspect of your company – leaders and stakeholders, processes, visions and goals, methods and philosophy – in order to help you develop and define your company’s brand. Remember: A brand isn’t what you think, it’s what they (consumers) think.
Before you set about hiring a firm specializing in brands, make sure you spend some time understanding your company, and being able to articulate those thoughts and emotions. Even seasoned branding experts will appreciate your commitment to clearly communicate why it is your company exists – apart from profits, of course.
Relevant experience and knowledge base
This is, from my experience, the most common misstep in companies hiring brand consultants that end up not working out. Would you go to a podiatrist for a face lift? Would you trust your real estate broker handling the rest of your portfolio? Probably not.
If your company is a start-up with minimal funding, you need a branding expert who knows how to build a brand from scratch, who knows what challenges lie ahead for somebody in your position, who knows your target audience and how to speak directly and effectively to them.
Bigger isn’t always better
Don’t hire a branding firm who has a roster of huge corporate accounts if your employee list has three names on it. A lot of experience in an unrelated field or industry is worse than a smaller client list speaking to your target demographic. Remember, you want a firm who has the right experience in knowing every aspect of your demographic – from what they watch to what they read, from where they get their news to what clothes they wear. It’s more than just understanding data pulled from research – it’s knowing what your audience wants to hear, and delivering it to them so they will receive the right message.
Creative solutions to solve your problems
So you found somebody you can trust, who knows where you stand and what you’re looking to achieve. Now comes the part where the interview often takes a turn for the worse.
Still in the hiring process, you invite the expert to deliver a presentation to you and other decision makers. The expert seems enthusiastic, charming and secure. Then the presentation is delivered, and the room is silent. The presentation was thoughtful, direct, and completely perfect…for another company.
Make sure ideas and Expectations Align
Not to say that it wasn’t a great presentation, and not to say that the firm was without the proper experience, but sometimes what is presented isn’t what you had expected, and not the course you believe you should take. If the firm you’re working with is savvy enough (and it most certainly should be), you can expect educated responses to your concerns. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Your goals are the most important consideration
Oftentimes, if an initial presentation doesn’t fit your expectations, you can work through the problem and be happy with the revised results. But always remember to not concede in pursuing your goals and vision. If you’re preparing for growth (and we hope you are), you have an idea of where you’d like to be in three, five or 10 years. You may not know exactly how you’re going to get there just yet but a proper branding and marketing strategy will certainly guide your course.
The firm you hire should be one who develops plans and strategies around your short- and long-term ambitions. Only after true understanding, through clear communication of such goals, can you foster a creative, sturdy and profitable partnership and realize your goals.
Building a brand is a necessary part of any thorough marketing strategy or plan. If you can’t easily and readily describe, in detail, your marketing strategy, you should probably consider hiring a marketing expert to help you develop one. While a brand identity is crucial to the overall marketing plan, it is by no means the only part.
A brand isn’t what you say a product or service should be. It’s what the consumer says. Hiring a branding firm is a good step toward developing an overall strategy. But with so many so-called “experts” out there, separating the fact from rubbish can be a burdensome task. The information provided here is simply a means to understand part of the larger picture and understand what a branding firm or expert should be able to provide, what questions you should ask, and more information on how to hire an expert.ourreviews