Choosing the best brand agency for your business

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Brands are everywhere. No matter where we look, we’re faced with brands.  From Apple to Aldi, they touch pretty much every aspect of our lives.  However, all too often, Scottish tech start-ups miss out on the benefits that branding can bring because they think they’re too small or worse still, too insignificant to invest in a brand.  If you’re thinking this way, it really is time to think again.

Branding needn’t cost a fortune and can really add huge value to your business in the eyes of your potential buyers or investors. Branding is all about getting your strengths and values represented in every piece of marketing collateral you have, and in every action you take. The great thing about branding is that it really helps you to stand out in a busy marketplace.  So, if you’re in agreement that a brand could add real weight to your tech start up elbow, we’d like to help you choose the best brand agency for your business.

Here are our Top Ten Tips for making sure the brand agency you choose will tick all your boxes (and hopefully a whole lot more):

  1. Set out your budget to establish what you can afford. There’s no point in shopping around for a branding agency until you know what you can afford.   Some branding agencies might be charging daily fees that are greater than the sum you have for your whole project, so you need to know what’s possible.  Once you have your budget, get to work sniffing out an agency that will work within that budget and won’t get carried away by charging you for every tweak you ask for.
  2. Choose an agency that has come recommended. The chances are that you have a good network of contacts in either your sector or in the tech industry as a whole.  So one great way of getting a sound recommendation for your brand agency is to ask around in your network.  Make a point of asking about how good their customer service is, how flexible they are on price and how creative and innovative they are.
  3. If possible choose an agency that’s strong in your sector. While it mightn’t always be possible, if you can find an agency with experience, or at least a real interest in your sector, you’ll stand a better chance of achieving a good result quickly and on budget.
  4. Make sure they “get” your business idea quickly. Choosing a branding agency that doesn’t quickly understand your business can make for a really bumpy (and often expensive) ride.  Making sure that they grasp your concept and your target market early on is essential for a smooth ride.
  5. Pick the right people. Once you have a shortlist of agencies, pick the people you get on best with or that you like best.  It’s important that you have a good working relationship right from the start.
  6. Insist on short communication channels. If possible, make sure that the person who is your main point of contact in the agency works directly on your account so there is little or no opportunity for messages getting lost in translation.  It’s also a good idea, where possible, to have direct access to the design team; that way communication is tight and understanding is high.
  7. Make sure the agency has on and offline capabilities. It’s essential today to make sure that any agency you choose to create your brand has the ability to create great looking collateral that works online and off.  You need to be sure that your branding will work on the web and on mobile devices of course, but the agency you choose also needs to know how to manipulate print; because sometimes you’ll need printed material to spread your reach.
  8. Weigh up the pay off between big and small. If you are a small start up you might find it easier to work with a small agency.  The other advantage of a small agency is that you’re likely to get more of their attention.  However, it’s worth remembering that (generally speaking) bigger agencies employ higher paid, more experienced designers, so choosing a smaller agency, unless they’re highly motivated and innovative could result in a compromise.
  9. Make sure your timescales can be met. There’s no point in choosing a great agency that ticks all your boxes and then finding out that they can’t deliver in the timescales you need.  It may be that you are getting your branding ducks in a row early and have all the time in the world, but if not, you can’t afford to miss an important deadline like a product launch, an event or an order because of a branding agency.
  10. Get your branding rights. Whenever you engage an agency to produce branding collateral for you, it’s you that should have the rights to use those branding elements. Make sure before signing any agreements that the agency will sign all rights to your brand over to your business and agree that they won’t replicate your branding with any other business.

If you follow all these Top Tips, you should have a relatively smooth ride to a great looking brand.

If you’d like help getting your Scottish tech start-up off the ground, why not why not REGISTER TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION by emailing advice@innovationcentre.org?  ICS has a team of Commercialisation Advisers ready and waiting to help tech innovators and entrepreneurs like you.

About the Author

Want to chat? Why not get in touch with me at annaanna mariemarie.taylor@innovationcentre.org, link me at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/annamarietaylor1/ or follow me on twitter @anna_mtaylor.

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