So you’ve decided to invest in an agency to brand your organization. Congrats!
This is a huge step that will most definitely pay off in the long run. Before you begin the branding process with your creative agency, there are a few things you should ask to make sure your business is in good hands.
It helps to create a personal branding questionnaire for your business ahead of time that addresses your specific needs. Is there anything you have concerns about? Topics you want to address?
We can help you get started with a few general questions that are important for every business to know when creating a new brand or revitalizing an existing one. As you’re reading through, we suggest you use these questions as a foundation to create a personal branding questionnaire tailored to your business. A great agency won’t hesitate to give you clear and accurate answers.
1) What’s your branding process?
Ask them to detail their process. If they don’t seem to have a clear, step-by-step process in place, that’s a red flag. If they don’t have a clear process, maybe they don’t have the level of experience you’re looking for.
The process should have a strategic component and, depending on the size and scope of the project, include formal market
research, user-experience-driven design for a website, and it should be overall in sync with your business goals.
If their process seems unclear or doesn’t seem to be a good fit for your goals, odds are the end result won’t be a good fit for you or them.
2) What can I expect from the branding process?
There’s a reason you’re going through an entire process for branding – you want deliverables at the end! What will the agency provide you with once branding is complete?
Answers vary depending on the size and scope of the project, but you should at least have a strategy, color scheme and logo, and messaging. Sometimes branding projects can also include packaging, print advertisements, and digital marketing materials.
Regardless of the deliverables, does their answer for a proposed end result include the items that would most benefit your business? Or do you feel as though you’re investing tons of time and money only to be given a flash drive with a few logos on it at the end of the project? Make sure you’re both clear as to what each party will receive throughout the project timeline.
3) Who is working on this project?
If you have any questions or concerns, you should have a point person you know and trust. Before the project even begins, you should know who your main point of contact is and what to expect from them in communication.
Be sure to also get all contact information, including work phone, cell phone, and email, and find out the best times and methods for contacting each other. This way, you will know where to call if there is an emergency and how to get in touch if you have a few general questions.
This point of contact should be reliable and should get back to you in a timely manner. If they fail to provide that service to you, don’t be afraid to speak up- it’s helpful for both the agency and you.
4) What are you most excited about for the project?
Have you had to pull teeth just to get this agency to call you back, or follow up on receiving a proposal in a timely manner? These might be indications that your project isn’t very important to them.
You want to find a company that values your business and will give you the attention you need to get a final product you’ll love.
Before you begin the project, ask the agency what excites them about your business or potential branding. Do they have a general working understanding of your industry? If not, are they prepared to do the research to get their? *Experience or lack thereof with others in your industry isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They might be able to bring a fresh perspective by not being so ingrained in your industry.
5) Do you have any past work I can see as a sample?
Asking for samples of their work and case studies can help you better assess what you are looking at from a more objective angle. At the end of the day, branding is an investment and you want it to pay off. Seeing these results and having them explain their achievements will help confirm they are legitimate and credible.
Bonus points if they can show you portfolio examples similar or relevant to your business or industry. This further serves to confirm they have the experience you’re looking for.
Once you have these work samples and case studies, feel free to call up their past clients as a reference. Ask these clients what they thought of the agency and if their expectations were met during the process. Determine whether they’re happy with their results and experience. This will help you get an honest sense of how the agency operates.
At the end of the day one of the most important things to think about is if you like them. Do you feel comfortable putting your brand in their hands? Does their personality and energy match yours? Getting a good feeling about an agency is a huge indication that you and they will have a great experience. Just like any work environment the best work comes from being able to be honest and comfortable with your team.
Interested in learning more about the basics of branding? We can help! Click below to download your free Branding 101 eBook!