The purpose of a brand agency is to maximize the impact of your marketing investment. It is to make your brand work the hardest it possibly can. This is because your brand is independent of the money you have available to support it. So the greatest single value to be gained from a branding agency is the best brand positioning and communications that your product or service can support on a sustainable basis.
Both you and your competitors have a marketing budget. Your advertising and media agencies are there to make your money work as hard as it can. They can choose different media, or schedule the media differently, or have different advertising and packaging. But no matter how hard they try, their ability to increase the power of your marketing investment is limited. This is because it is your brand that will most determine whether your prospect will choose your product or that of your competitor.
How is the brand so different and so important vis a vis your marketing budget? It’s quite simple, really. You might say that your marketing investment, your advertising and packaging, are all means to deliver your brand into the minds of your prospects. But it is what the brand does in the hearts and minds of your prospects that will determine whether they become your customer, instead of someone else’s.
A brand is the meaning that your product or service can have in the lives of your prospects. The more meaningful, i.e., the more important the meaning it has, the more thoroughly it is entrenched in your prospects hearts and minds. This meaning is what is called positioning in the marketing profession. Positioning is the specific location in the emotional and mental map of the prospects mind. If your brand’s positioning has the highest emotional and mental ground in that map, it is much more likely to endear your product or service to your prospect.
So the brand is what is delivered into your prospects’ hearts and minds, through your budget, through your media, through your advertising and through your other communications like promotions and packaging. These means can deliver a brand that works very hard for you, or it can deliver one that doesn’t. Brand is where the rubber of your efforts meet the road of your prospects hearts and minds, where their preference for your product or service is determined.
So, when evaluating or choosing a brand agency, you really have only one question. How powerful can they make my brand, so that it multiplies the power of everything else I do, like the media I choose, the scheduling pattern I use, the advertising I use, the promotions I use, and the packaging I use? More simply put, how much bang can they give to my marketing buck?
Some of you might be wondering, why do I need a branding agency at all? After all, my advertising agency says they do brand. Good question. But here’s the answer. And it is a very simple one. Because only a branding agency focuses on brand. Your advertising agency must sell you the budget, they must sell you the media, they must sell you the scheduling plan, they must sell you the ad campaign, they must sell you the ads, the promotions and perhaps, even the packaging. And it’s very easy for the brand to get lost among all these things they have to sell you.
We have already seen that the brand is the single point in your entire marketing effort, that determines whether your marketing dollar doesn’t work very hard or whether it is powerful. So it is better to assign this crucial point to people who are best at this – a brand agency.
But you might say, my ad agency doesn’t charge me for any work they do for my brand. They cover it with the money they make from the advertising budget. Good point. Here’s a question to consider. Do you want to risk the most powerful single point in your marketing effort, the only one that can make the difference between your million bucks working as hard as five million bucks – just to save a few hundred thousand bucks? You get the point.