The role of a digital branding agency is to transform your business, facilitate growth and help you reach new customers. However, it can be tricky to choose a branding agency, especially if you are starting a business from scratch.

Choosing a branding agency for startup businesses can be tricky, and hiring a branding expert is a serious investment. Your initial choice could influence the future of your business, including creating that ever important good first impression when it comes to the tone, message and image of your brand.

You’re in luck because we’ll help you learn how to choose a branding agency that suits your needs and understands your vision. But first, why are branding agencies necessary?

See also: An Introduction to Branding for your Business

Why do you need a digital branding agency?

As with many other things in startups, it pays off to hire an expert branding agency in South Africa. Regardless of the stage your startup is in; you could benefit from the knowledge that a digital branding agency can offer you, including:

  1. Knowledge and proficiency. Digital branding agencies deal with branding daily, meaning that they know what to look for and can get things done quickly without breaking a sweat. 
  2. You are preserving resources. By outsourcing your branding to a dedicated agency, you will free up more time for your staff members to keep things running smoothly and focus on their other strengths. 
  3. Market expertise. A digital branding agency has many clients across various industries and learns new branding lessons every day. They will have more insightful knowledge about what works for specific industries or company types – because they’re done it before. 
  4. A new vision for your business. Getting a third party involved can help you discover new things about your business that you may have missed, including looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that could affect your business and overall branding strategy

An outside look at your business is always beneficial, but that doesn’t mean that you can just partner with anyone. It’s important to spend time looking for the right branding agency to work with.

See also: Advantages of Branding & Why it’s so Important

How to choose a branding agency

Before selecting a branding agency for startup businesses, there are quite a few things to consider. Most importantly, you’ll need to weigh your prospective digital branding agency’s skills against what your business needs.

Here are the most important things to look out for:

  • Skills and specialities. It’s no doubt that most branding agencies offer a vast range of services, but often they’ll have some core abilities along with some newer skills. Take a look at your branding agency’s portfolio to get a feel for the kind of work they are best at and how this could help your agency. 
  • Price. How does your chosen digital branding agency deal with pricing? You may find that you could be charged a day rate, blended rate or higher rate for more senior staff members’ involvement. Typically, you will be quoted on your branding project before work begins. You might also be charged a fixed fee for a specific package of services. 
  • Business size. How big is your business? You should find a company that will fit your needs, whether you’re a brand new startup or growing at a rapid rate. If you’re still a one-member team, perhaps you’ll feel more comfortable working with a branding freelancer or small agency (like us) than one of the bigger agencies.
  • Level of Communication. First, you’ll need to communicate your business’ vision. Next, examine whether your prospective digital branding agency shares the same vision and commitment to making your dream come to life. And how do you do this? Look at how they communicate their proposal or scope of work to you as a potential client!
  • Chemistry and fit. This one is often overlooked when considering how to choose a branding agency – but it’s super important! You want to find a branding agency where you feel free to ask questions and where a true passion for branding is evident. Consider choosing a branding agency that goes above and beyond and offers suggestions before you’ve signed any contract – they’re likely to have your best interests at heart.

Other things to consider when deciding how to choose a branding agency include:

  1. The agency’s reputation in the industry
  2. A well-defined branding process
  3. Proof of successful branding for other clients, whether these are case studies or a reliable portfolio
  4. A discussion that covers how far your chosen agency can take you during your branding process
  5. The affordability of the branding agency 
  6. How the branding agency will protect your brand throughout the branding process

Presenting your brand to a branding agency 

You may be new to branding and may not know the best way to present your business to your prospective digital branding agency.

Ideally, it would help if you prepared in advance with some information about your brand and questions for the branding agency.

You should: 

  1. Describe and scope your branding challenges (are you starting from scratch or rebranding?)
  2. Ask potential agencies to describe their branding process, together with common problems faced and their chosen solutions to these problems. 
  3. Enquire about branding projects similar to yours in terms of your brand challenge.
  4. Let them explain why they are an excellent match for your brand. 
  5. Don’t forget to discuss how project performance will be measured and assessed during the branding project. 
  6. Discuss various branding ideas.

Don’t be afraid to ask your potential branding agency for their answers to pivotal questions. Having a pointed conversation can help you gain a better insight into their working process, and you’ll be able to assess whether this aligns with your startup or not. 

This is one of the important steps when finding out how to choose a branding agency!

Important things to discuss with a potential branding agency

Whether you’re looking for a branding agency in South Africa or elsewhere, there are a few key elements that you will want to cover. We know it can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time talking to an agency—which is why it’s a good idea to go prepared!

Questions to ask yourself before meeting with your agency include:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • Which pain points does my business solve?
  • What is my brand’s personality?
  • Who is my competition?
  • What is my brand story?
  • What is my brand purpose?
  • Which brands do I admire?
  • What are essential visuals for my brand, such as fonts, logos, colours, images and symbols?
  • How will I ensure to comply with all branding guidelines?

What we’re getting at is that it’s important to arrive with useful  information when discovering how to choose a branding agency. 

It’s wise to note all of these down and present them in an organized manner to your prospective digital marketing agency. You can then use these as talking points, as they will help any branding agency get to know all about your brand, inside and out.

BigToe Creatives: A winning branding agency in South Africa

Are you still stuck on how to choose a branding agency? Look no further than BigToe Creatives – we’d love to help you!

We’re an award-winning agency that crafts unique brand solutions for companies of all sizes, whether they’re startups, SMEs or entrepreneurial endeavours. 

Our core skills lie in brand development, website development and corporate photography, among many others. 

We’ll help with all parts of the branding process. You can think of us as a full service digital creative agency, who will undergo your brand journey with you. 

If you need some inspiration on branding, here are some great examples of South African brands to check out.

Choose a branding agency that matches your brand

We know it can be challenging to learn how to choose a branding agency for your businesses. There are many things to consider, such as brand alignment, having a well-defined branding process, creating a new vision for your business and assessing brand performance before and after your branding process.

Whether you’re a brand new startup or at an advanced growth stage, we hope we’ve made branding a bit easier to understand! Remember that your prospective digital branding agency wants to hear all about your business beforehand, so don’t be shy to give them a lot of information. 

Your insights will help any agency tailor its branding solutions to suit your business and give you the best result during your branding journey. 

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