Because branding and marketing have changed so much in the past few decades, many people are left asking What is a Branding Agency? In the past, an advertising agency took on all tasks associated with marketing, including branding.
Then, branding took on a more important role and the branding agency was born.
Why? Because it was discovered that brand-building and branding are more integral to marketing success than was previously realised. There’s now more specialized work to do in this area. The tide has shifted. Instead of advertising agencies handling everything, branding agencies are taking on brand-building, branding, marketing and advertising.
This change has left a lot of you confused—and for good reason. So let’s clear up the muddied water with some points that may help you to understand the purpose of a branding agency.
The Purpose of a Branding Agency
It can be difficult to build a brand without at least consulting with a branding agency. Many of the principles followed today are relatively new, and have been recently proven to be effective. This is due in large part to a surge in digital communications. It also has to do with a better understanding of consumer behaviour.
Here are some of the main undertakings of a branding agency:
- Strategy Development: In the past, advertising agencies generally operated under the premise of Spray-and-Pray or Toss-and-Stick, putting out pretty general messages to the general public to test the waters and see what would work. There wasn’t as much research conducted into target audiences and ideal client behaviour. Now, however, branding agencies are putting more time in before rather than after. They’re studying markets and using a solid grasp of human psychology to forecast what will work—before putting it to work.
- Brand Building: It can be very difficult for any business to survive without a brand. Your brand is largely what consumers say it is; however, a branding agency will employ a number of tactics in order to affect those perceptions, and to encourage consumers to say what you’d want them to say about your brand. This is accomplished through the targeted use of visuals, the creation of a brand name and tag line, the development of a branded language, the formation of consumer experiences, and more.
- Emotional Influence: It is becoming more and more evident that consumers make decisions based not on facts, but on how a brand makes them feel. Therefore, one of a branding agency’s primary obligations is to elicit the specific emotion that makes a brand’s ideal client act. This is accomplished with a solid grasp of human psychology and a variety of touchpoints that stir up emotion and ensure that the brand is front-and-centre whilst that emotion is being experienced.
- Trust-Building: Traditional advertising agencies have taken quite a hit in the past few decades. This is largely due to the fact that the consuming public has grown tired of listening to “promises” that are nothing more than ad-speak; and as a result, they have become suspicious of anything that looks or smells like an advertising campaign. A branding agency, instead, operates on the premise that when trust is built, there isn’t much need for paid advertising—that loyal customers will do the word-of-mouth advertising instead. A branding agency is different because it will work to put out the type of relevant information that will build perceptions of a brand’s expertise and trustworthiness. It’s a more authentic replacement for blind advertising.
- Cost-Effectiveness: The branding agency has surpassed the advertising agency in importance because it not only gets the messages right the first time (with research instead of experimentation), but because that “getting it right the first time” is more cost effective for the business. Every time an ad campaign doesn’t stick, another one must be tried or another adverting agency hired. To the contrary, the branding agency does the work (or consults) once—and because there’s expertise, social proof and research supporting their decisions and recommendations, there’s no gamble.
- Brand Involvement: A branding agency not only invests more into a brand, it sees all operations through, from inception to goal realisation. The branding agency could almost be considered a constituent of the business itself—it’s that involved. This involvement leads to a deeper understanding of the brand, more vested interest in what happens to the brand and better results (more visibility and profits).
- Brand Positioning: Traditionally, advertising agencies have studied the competition in order to counter or out-do their ad campaigns. Branding agencies are different because they study the market and determine where gaps need to be filled, where consumers are crying out for something more or different, and where a problem exists that either isn’t being solved or that could be solved in a better way. Brand positioning ensures that the brand’s message is unique and all its own—not just a short-term reactionary move.
This is just the beginning of everything a branding agency does; however, it should give you a good idea of how taking your business to the marketplace has changed. A branding agency is more suited to modern-day branding and marketing requirements than the traditional advertising agency model.
If you’re ready to talk to a branding agency about where your brand is headed, contact us. And in the meantime, check out our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, where we’ll teach you to accomplish all of the above-mentioned points (and more) in just one day’s time. Read about it and register here.