All The Reasons Why You Need A Branding Agency
While most people think that branding is only for big companies like Coca-Cola, the fact is that all companies that have the long-term vision of surviving disasters should consider hiring a branding agency. In this section, we are going to talk more about branding agencies and how they are different from advertising companies.
In order to appreciate the work of the people in that industry, let’s first take a look at Coca-Cola. The soft drink company has been considered for decades the most widely-recognized and most successful brands in the world. According to a survey done by Inter brand, a US-based branding consultancy agency, Coca Cola’s brand equity (more on brand equity in a later part of this article) is valued at $63.5 billion, under half of the true market value of Coca-Cola.
It’s been said that if disaster struck and the company was to lose its assets, it would survive, however, if all of its consumers suddenly get stricken by amnesia and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company will go bankrupt.
Can you see now why branding is important? If you apply it to your business, you could lose all your assets in a disaster, and you would still survive, but if your customers suddenly forget you, you’re out of business.
There are many branding agencies out there, and you should know that they are different advertising agencies. While the former creates your brand, it’s the latter that gets your message across by crafting advertising messages and creating different marketing materials. However, a branding agency can provide advertising support to its clients.
When you are creating your brand, you are crafting an appropriate name for your product, and creating a strong identity and brand message that you are going to deliver to your target customers. What does a brand do? It represents a message to your customers, specifically, what they can expect from using your services or products, and what makes you different from your competitors.
You will be surprised to know that it’s not just businesses that use branding agencies. Many non-profit organizations and even government agencies hire the top firms for branding.
A very important part of branding is brand management. It is really nothing more than managing your customer’s emotional perception of your brand. In general, if people feel good about your brand, they will be loyal to you and forget about your competition. How do you manage your brand? You just fulfill your customer’s expectations and do everything you can to keep them satisfied.
But beyond this, you need to use special techniques that increase the perceived value of your product. The perceived value of your product is called brand equity (remember the paragraph on Coca Cola?). If you can increase your brand equity, you can easily increase the price of your product or service while still maintaining customer loyalty.
But you cannot increase your brand equity without first establishing brand identity. What is brand identity? It is the outward expression of your brand, from its name, visual appearance, trademark, and communications. When working with a brand agency, you should communicate how you want your customers to perceive your brand.
If you are an established business with a less-than-stellar reputation, what you want to do is to bridge the gap between your brand identity and your brand’s image, which refers to your customer’s mental image of your brand.
If you are still in the process of establishing your brand, you use brand identity to establish your product and make it more recognizable to your customers, telling them exactly how you are different from your competitors.
Once you have established your brand and are successfully managing it, the work does not stop there. Over time, your brand’s identity will evolve based on how your customer interacts with it. You will be the last person to know how your brand has evolved if you do not research on your customer’s brand associations.
So, to recap, you need a branding agency to help create your brand. The end goal is to increase brand equity so that you can increase the price on your product or service while still maintaining customer loyalty. But in order to get from here to there, you need to:
(A) know how you want your product or service to be perceived by customers, and
(B) you need to know what your Unique Selling Proposition or USP is.
Once you know A and B, your branding agency will be able to help you.
Now, here comes the question, how much does it cost to hire for branding? Well, that really depends on whether or not you hire a freelancing consultant or you hire an agency. Individual professionals typically work for $50 an hour while agencies cost $200 per hour. In other words, you could be paying $5,000 to $20,000 just to build your brand and have some marketing creatives delivered to you.
No matter who you hire, though, branding is expensive and you may not be able to afford it if you are a small startup. This is the reason why most small businesses design their websites without first analyzing their customers or knowing what their brand strategy is. However, you should know that it’s branding that will yield more sales. If your customers feel good about your brand, they will buy from you over and over again.