OK, so your company has proven itself or shows promise that it will. You have a good product and a hungry market. You just need to take things to the next level to get their attention…but how? Many companies will rely on the skills a good branding company to craft their presence into something that drives sales and promotes recognition and loyalty. But finding the right one? That’s not easy.
Branding companies are a dime a dozen–and unfortunately, many really are worth little more than that. But there are some great ones, as well as some just okay ones while others are more specialized to certain types of businesses. When finding the right Branding Company for you, here’s some things to remember:
1. First, know your own needs and have an idea about how you’d like them met. This will allow you to better gauge the portfolios of the branding agencies you find and help you determine whether their style fits your company and your market. Also, if you admire a certain company’s branding efforts, call around to find out who did the work.
2. If possible, don’t hire blindly. Ask your contacts if they know someone who’s good. It’s always better to find someone via referral than by a cold call. If a company has been able to create at least one satisfied customer, chances are it’s a trend and you have a great shot at being another.
3. If you must hire blindly, start on the search engines. Conduct searches for the types of branding projects you’ll have like “naming,” “corporate identity” or “logo design” along with your locale if proximity is an issue for you.
4. Once you’re ready to make contact, do so with several companies and make note of how responsive they are to your inquiry. If they seem motivated to get your business, you can bet they’ll be just as motivated to deliver great work at a good value. Rely on your instincts here, too. If the work’s good, but you just don’t “click” personality-wise, your relationship could be a struggle. Also, find out who’ll actually be doing your work (senior talent or newly-minted college grads?) and how they intend to proceed with it.
5. At the initial meeting, DO discuss money. It doesn’t matter who brings it up first…they may with the simple question, “What’s your budget?” That’s OK. Give them a number if you have one in mind, but be confident that number is an educated estimate. Don’t just pull it of the sky (or the bargain basement). Too low, and you run the risk of appearing amateurish. Too high, and you’ll just be hurting yourself because they won’t likely want to talk you down. Know what’s fair before ever going into a meeting and show them you know. If you inquire first, ask for a range, or you can point to specific projects in their portfolio and ask how much that cost to produce.