It can be easy, when researching branding and marketing strategy, to get down a rabbit hole with all the things that go into making your company grow. Before looking too deeply into PPC ads, SEO-optimized web design, and other highly specific topics, it may be useful to start out from square one: Why hire a branding agency in Orange County in the first place?
Seeing the Big Picture
Branding is a lot more than a logo and a tagline. That’s why at Twelve12, a branding relationship almost always starts with a strategic planning retreat. In strategic planning, we learn as much as possible about who a company is, what they’ve been doing up to this point, and what they intend to do in the future. We create Mission, Vision, and Core Values, and more, depending on the individual needs of the company. It’s easy to ask at first, “What does talking about all this stuff have to do with our Logo?” And the answer is, a lot! Your logo and all other parts of your branding need to reflect who you are. An outsider is able to see the big picture—things that perhaps the company wasn’t able to see about itself. Is it possible to make a logo without this foundational information? Certainly, but It’s close to impossible to successfully make your logo without it.
Make your Money Have Impact
Doing marketing with little to no formal branding is certainly possible. Any freelancer on Craigslist is capable of running a social media campaign or search engine marketing campaign for you. Still, it can’t be compared to a marketing campaign that is rooted in good branding. The marketing dollars of a strategically branded company will go further—possibly 5 or 10 times further—than the same investment of a company who hasn’t put much effort into branding. Most small businesses don’t have a ton of money to throw at marketing and branding, but initial costs of hiring a branding agency will be paid back exponentially over time because you permanently have a brand that communicates.
Maintaining the Brand
Everyone has a brand. If people can see and interact with your company, then they are seeing your brand. The difference between a well-branded company and an “unbranded” company is how clearly and uniformly the brand is expressed. In a sense, this is what an agency does for you—a quality agency doesn’t just give you a brand, like handing you a box of corn flakes off the shelf. They work with you to fully and professionally express the essence of your company, across each and every aspect of your company.
When a company, with the guidance of an agency, puts in the effort to fully express the brand at the beginning, it becomes much easier to maintain the brand as time goes on. This means two different things. First of all, you are more able to ensure that everyone in your organization is functioning “On Brand,” in what is being written, in what visuals are being used, and even how employees interact with customers and clients. No company wants a lone wolf getting creative what they think the company should look like.
The second idea of maintaining the brand is that, as time goes on, you’ll be better equipped to know when the time has come for an update, and how best to go about it. An unavoidable truth of any living, breathing, growing thing, including companies and brands, is that change is inevitable. As your company grows, your brand should too.
Do you need an agency? In the end, it’s not that an agency can do branding and marketing things, and you can’t. The key usefulness of a branding agency is that they are outside of your company. It works for the same reason that you get therapy from a therapist instead of a family member: a branding agency in Orange County, as an outsider, is better equipped to help you evaluate and realize things about your brand, so that you’re ready to take your branding and marketing strategy to the next step.