Exporters and SMEs (small & medium enterprises) who understand the importance of branding continuously seek for the right partner to help them. Unfortunately, many are still unsure as who to look for: Brand consultant? Advertising Agency? Creative Designers? Media house, or Public Relations Agency?
It seems like everyone has “branding” as their offered services on their business cards and websites. So who should you look for and how should you decide?
The answer lies in what you need as opposed to what is being offered. Following are some tips and guidance for you to consider:
|Branding Partner (Different Kinds)||Your Brand and Marketing Needs|
|Brand Consultant – Review the industry, business and brand to offer the blueprint on how your brand should be. Some may even plan & execute your brand communication plan.||You have weak brand identity and positioning. There’s a loss of direction in branding. You need a strategic long-term approach to rejuvenate the brand to meet market challenges.|
|Advertising Agencies – Promote your brand to targeted audience by developing creative ideas, messages and designs.||You know your direction and brand positioning very well but are unsure how to communicate it and which media platform to use.|
|Outsourced Marketing Services – Serve as your extended marketing department by offering strategic & administrative services.||You don’t have time to plan, administer and monitor your brand and marketing activities. You need extra minds and hands that understand your business and brand communications.|
|Creative designers – Translate your message into engaging graphics.||You know your direction and key messages to be communicated but lack of simplicity to spell it out.|
|Media House – Plan & book your advertising space.||You have ready advertisement but are unsure which media channel to use and how best to book the space.|
|Public Relations – Harness the power of media through editorial channel as opposed to advertisement.||You have newsworthy development, which of interest to the general public. You need cost effective and credible communication.|
1. Expertise vs Chemistry
Expertise is expected but chemistry is crucial. There must be chemistry between brand owner and brand partner. Without open communication, you will not be able to maximize their expertise and they will not understand your branding needs.
2. Size vs Budget
4As agencies have their own standards and relatively higher in terms of cost. Small agencies might not be cheap, too, as it depends on strategy. Give them a budget and evaluate who can offer you best value.
3. Industry Experience vs Methodology
Agencies with industry experience relevant to yours might be of advantage but should not be the determining factor. At times, agencies with good methodology can bring new ideas to your industry and brand.
4. Transactional vs Relationship
Does the agency just fulfill their contract or do they take the effort to understand your business? It is important to select agencies that strive to meet your business objectives and just do what you told them to do. Very often, agencies that challenge your thoughts are the one that cares.