Whether you're starting out in the agency world, you want to solidify your place in the market, or you feel it's time for a rebrand, you will need to do some serious work on creating the ideal agency brand.
Your agency's brandwill determine which clients will hire you, what you can charge, what is expected of you, and how successful your agency will be. So it's pretty important you get it right. Here are 5 great tips for getting the branding right at your agency:
1. The World Doesn't Need Another Agency
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There are literally thousands of agencies worldwide - more than enough for all the client work which needs doing. The world doesn't need you. So why would you create an agency in the first place? Well, to offer something that clients can't get anywhere else.
Figuring out what you do differently from all the other agencies in the world is the first, and most essential, aspect of your brand-building process. You want to distil this message down to its most basic aspects, because this is the message that all your branding - be it visual, auditory, text or interactive - will need to convey.
2. Branding is More Than Just Your Name
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I've lost track of how many articles about branding I've read where the majority of the piece talks about what name to choose for the company. The name of your company is only a small piece of the wider branding equation.
When creating or refining your brand, you need to look at the big picture. You need to go back to basics and think about what you want your brand to convey. What does your agency look, sound, taste and feel like? What do you want your customers to say about your brand? Brainstorm words and ideas that resonate with you, and come up with a brand strategy that incorporates all your ideas.
In his excellent article on Advertising Age, agency founder Paul Venables advises agency directors to use their name as the name of their company. "Everything you do, every tweet you make, every lame article you stumble through with dubious advice for start-ups, every panel you sit on immediately gives credit back to the agency. It doesn't require two connections. You are a brand. Your agency is a brand. Makes life easier (especially in the beginning) when they're one and the same."
3. Understand Your Client and Their Needs
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Part of branding is understanding how customers will react to a brand. You need to profile and understand your clients - either the clients you have, or the clients you want - in order to learn how they perceive your brand. Different clients will react to a brand in different ways. For example, a very traditional agency branding may appeal to those larger, well-established companies, but ultra-modern tech start-ups may think your brand is outdated and "not edgy enough".
4. Stock Your Branding Toolbox
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There are so many tools out there to help an agency succeed. Part of your branding process is figuring out which of those tools you want to add to your toolbox. These tools come in a variety of different categories, such as:
- Lead Generation: Networking, Website, Mailing List, Keynotes, Articles.
- Social Media: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.
- Creative Tools: Adobe, Pages, fonts, filters and brushes.
- Workflow and Management Tools: Xero, WorkflowMax.
The tools you use influence your brand, in the same way that your brand influences the tools you use. For example, if your brand is all about environmental awareness, you need to choose tools that have a low carbon footprint in their manufacture and use. If your brand is modern, fun and up-to-date, you need to stay on top of the latest software developments.
5. Think Big With Your Brand
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Branding is not the time to sell yourself short. Just because you are a small agency, doesn't mean you have to have small ambitions. Your brand is an essential part of how your business is portrayed to potential clients, and they want to see a company that's just as committed and innovative as the big guys.
Developing a world-leading agency begins with branding. Without a strong brand, your agency will quickly become lost in the market. Take the time to develop and refine your brand and your agency will soon be the talk to the town!