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Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring a Branding Agency

May 28, 2023

Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring a Branding Agency

Choosing the right branding agency can be a daunting task. With so many agencies out there, each with its own specialty and approach, it's crucial to ask the right questions before making a decision.

At Strawberry Brand Studio, we believe that transparency and communication are key to a successful partnership with our clients. That's why we've compiled a list of questions to ask any branding agency before hiring them, to ensure that you make an informed decision that best suits your business needs.

Our goal is to help educate businesses looking to create a strong brand identity and guide them through the process of selecting the right branding agency for their unique goals. We've seen first-hand the impact that a well-executed brand can have on a business's success, and we're passionate about helping our clients achieve that success through strategic branding.

Whether you're a startup looking to create a new brand or an established business in need of a rebrand, we encourage you to take the time to ask the right questions and find the right branding agency for your needs.

So before you hire a branding agency, here are some of the most important questions to ask to help you navigate the process and make an informed decision.

Understand Your Branding Needs

Before you hire a branding agency, you need to be clear on your goals and expectations first. A good branding agency will help you define your brand goals and craft a brand strategy that supports your business objectives, so answer these questions yourself.

1. Define Your Branding Goals

Defining your branding goals will help you determine the type of agency you need and the services they should provide.

  • What are your tactical business objectives in the short term? What about strategic objectives in the long run?
  • What do you want to achieve with your brand? Do you want to increase brand awareness, attract the right talent, or improve customer loyalty?

2. Assess Your Budget

Branding is an investment in the long-term reputation of your company, not a quick solution to generate leads and sales.

It can be hard to put a price on something that appears intangible and whose results won’t be immediate. But having a clear budget for your brand project will help you narrow down the agencies you can work with. So to have clear expectations and allocate enough budget to achieve your goals, ask yourself these questions?

  • How much are we willing to invest in branding to reach our business objectives?
  • Is our budget realistic to achieve our branding goals?
  • What agency pricing structure will serve us best? A monthly retainer or project-based pricing?

How to Choose the Right Branding Agency

When it comes to hiring a branding agency, it's crucial to do your research and find the right partner for your business. Here are some steps to take when researching potential agencies:

1. Review Agency Portfolios

One of the first things to look at when researching branding agencies is their portfolio. This will give you an idea of the agency’s work, its creative signature, and the type of companies and industries they have experience working with.

  • Is the agency industry-agnostic or industry-focused? An industry-agnostic agency will bring other experiences into your project which can lead to a more unique branding result within your own industry. Avoiding the more-of-the-same factory mentality.
  • Do they have compelling case studies?
  • Does the agency’s work align with your brand's values and aesthetics?
  • What is the quality of the work like?
  • Do reviews mention any negative experiences?
  • Does the agency’s portfolio contain projects similar to yours?
  • Does the branding firm offer the services you need?

2. Ask for Referrals and Recommendations

Another way to find potential branding agencies is to ask for referrals and recommendations from colleagues, industry contacts, and other business owners. This can be a great way to find agencies that have a proven track record of success.

3. Evaluate Agency Capabilities and Approach

Once you have a list of potential branding agencies, it’s time to evaluate their capabilities and approach to ensure they are the right fit for your business.

Agency's Branding Process

An agency’s branding process includes its approach to branding, methodology, and the deliverables it provides.

Make sure the branding process aligns with your goals, time commitment, and values. Review the Statement of Work (SOW) carefully to understand what each agency under consideration will deliver, and how they will approach the project:

  • What is your approach to branding?
  • How do you conduct research and gather insights?
  • What deliverables can we expect from your branding process?

Agency's Creative Process

While design in itself can be subjective, the agency you hire should have a well-structured creative process that will result in high-quality, objective creative work that serves a purpose:

  • What is your approach to design?
  • How do you ensure that the creative work aligns with our brand and goals?
  • What deliverables can we expect from your creative process?

Agency’s Capabilities

The best agencies specialize in something so you need to consider the services they offer and their capabilities. Ask them if their services include what you’ll need. Here are a few ideas:

  • Brand strategy
  • Brand positioning
  • Market research
  • Logo design
  • Visual identity design
  • Corporate identity design (business cards, letterhead)
  • Website design and search engine optimization
  • Marketing strategy and campaigns
  • Social media strategy
  • Content creation

Communication and Project Management

1. Agency's Communication Style

Communication is key to a successful partnership with a branding agency, so learn their communication style and preferences to avoid any misunderstandings or delays in the project:

  • Who will be the point of contact when the project starts?
  • What is their preferred method of communication? In-person meetings, email, phone calls, or video conferencing?
  • How often they will update us on the project's progress?

2. Agency's Project Management

Your ideal branding agency has a clear process in place for managing projects and has experience managing projects of similar size, scope, and complexity to yours:

  • What are the project timelines, milestones, and deliverables?
  • What is their approach to revisions?
  • How do they handle changes to the project scope?
  • If hourly-based, how do they track the project budget?

3. Timeframe and Expectations

You must have a clear understanding of the timeframe for the project and what you can expect from the agency in terms of deliverables and deadlines: 

  • What is their estimated timeline for the project?
  • How do they plan to manage the project to ensure that it stays on track?
  • What are your expectations for the project? And is the agency able to meet them within the agreed-upon timeframe?

Evaluate Agency Fit and Experience

1. Agency's Experience and Expertise

You want to work with an agency that has a proven track record of success with clients:

  • What types of clients have you worked with?
  • Who are some of your past clients?
  • What industries do you specialize in?
  • What is your experience with companies of our size?
  • Can you provide case studies or examples of successful branding projects?

2. Agency's Fit with Your Business

Your branding agency should understand your core values and can help you communicate them effectively to your target audience:

  • What is their ideal client?
  • How do they approach branding projects?
  • What is the agency's culture like?
  • How do they involve stakeholders in the branding process?

3. Agency's Customer Service

The ideal agency must be responsive, communicative, and committed to your success:

  • What is their process for communicating with clients?
  • How quickly do they respond to client inquiries?
  • Do they offer any guarantees or warranties for your work?
  • How do they measure the success of branding projects?

Key Takeaways

Hiring the right branding agency is crucial for building a strong and successful brand. By asking the right questions and doing your due diligence, you can ensure that you find the right agency that can meet your specific needs and help you achieve your branding goals.

At Strawberry Brand Studio, we pride ourselves on being a bespoke branding agency that can provide our clients with the expertise, creativity, and collaboration needed to create an impactful brand. We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you through the process of finding the right branding agency for your business.

If you're interested in learning more about how Strawberry Brand Studio can help you with your branding needs, book a complimentary discovery call with us—and ask as many questions as you’d like!

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