flux branding

7 Branding Agency Services That Will Give Your Business an Edge

Branding agency services aren’t one-size-fits-all, so what do they include? And what should you look for when you’re starting your branding or rebranding project? When you’re unfamiliar with the process, branding can feel so intangible that measuring sticks seem useless.

But branding isn’t intangible.

Color palettes and fonts on the desk of a branding agency

In fact, branding is the tangible representation of who you are as a company. It’s in the things people can see, hear, and even touch – like your packaging.

So is a graphic designer all you need?

Not at all.

The job of your brand is effectively communicating ideas, emotions, and values. Specifically, communicating with your ideal customer.

What tangible things will resonate with them and reflect you?

What colors, taglines, and ideas will ring true outside of the boardroom?

Branding agency services are complex because your brand is complex. That being said, there are a few key touchpoints to look for when working with an agency.

 

Which branding agency services do I need?

Every project is unique. Are you crafting your company’s brand for the very first time and still wondering, “What is branding?” Are you undergoing a light brand refresh or do you need a rebranding agency? Do you have a sense of the direction you want to go in or are you looking for more intense guidance?

These questions (and more) will determine which branding agency services you need. As a branding agency in Los Angeles with more than two decades of industry experience, we recommend booking a call with agencies to get an understanding of how they work.

This gives you a chance to feel each other out and start to understand which services and deliverables the agency can provide for you.

Unsure where to begin? After working with hundreds of brands, we find these 7 services are critical to a successful brand or rebrand.

 

1. Market research

Your brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum. While it would be wonderful if the only people who had to like your new brand were your board of directors, that would also mean they’d be the only people seeing your brand.

Your brand is a reflection of who you are, and it’s as much for your customers as it is for you. Here are some questions about your customers that get answered with thorough market research (the first step of our branding agency services):

    • What do they want, need, and expect from you?
    • What do they associate with your brand?
    • What do they love?
    • What do they hate?
    • How do they feel about your competitors?

Deeply researching your competitors’ brands and marketing is just as important as researching your customers. What are they doing? How can you differentiate yourself from them?

Before your agency begins crafting your own unique brand, they’ll stop, look, and listen to everything happening with your industry, customers, and competitors. Truly excellent branding agencies will also do an audit of your existing brand as part of their brand strategy process. This includes how your employees see the brand and a complete picture of your industry – not just your direct competitors.

At Flux, we call this the spirit of your business. And it’s not to be overlooked.

Branding agency services that don’t begin with research are missing a crucial part of making your brand successful. They might craft a brand that you like, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a brand that delivers your message to your customers well.

 

2. Strategy

Team brainstorming brand strategies for a new project

The next piece of the puzzle is strategy, and this goes hand in hand with research. If you’re considering a firm that doesn’t offer strategic branding agency services and is just focused on design, re-consider.

Brand strategy services are helpful and relevant to every branding project. Without them, you’re inviting room for inconsistencies in your messaging and visuals. Consistency is key in branding. An inconsistent brand is an unrecognizable brand, and an unrecognizable brand will erode your relationship with your customers.

Without a strategy, how will you know your bases are all covered?

The simplest form of a brand strategy is a rebranding checklist. But while a rebranding checklist is fine for DIY-ing a rebrand or gathering information, it isn’t enough to guarantee a successful brand launch.

To set yourself up for success, make sure that the branding agency services you choose include deep strategy. There needs to be a clear “why” for everything that is being done – and your agency will be happy to make that reasoning crystal clear. They will also help guide the timing and comprehensiveness of your new brand’s launch so it goes off without a hitch.

 

3. Brand Position

This may not be one of the branding agency services you typically find on a rate card. But having a trusted person or team to turn to is important to starting and completing a branding effort.

But what will you do after your contract with your branding agency is up? While they’re working with you, they can help you learn all the ins and outs of how your new brand presents itself, but they won’t be around forever.

A great branding agency will not only create your brand today, but set you up for future success.

Here’s how we do that at Flux: All our branding agency services include an internal-facing document that you can use as a guiding light in the future. It’s called the Brand Position. It’s designed to be read and used by your own team as well as external collaborators, to ensure the brand is always aligned. We mindfully craft it to ensure clarity even after our branding campaign is over.

It includes things like your audience persona(s), creative concepts, and visual tone. You’ll carry these things with you through the life of your brand. This document is going to be totally unique to you, and at Flux, we consider it one of our most important deliverables.

When you’re exploring agencies, ask them about this document. When you’re asking, remember that it’s different from a style manual, which we’ll talk about next.

You should also ask any prospective agencies about how they measure the success of a branding campaign – and if they have any follow-up services. Our work as an agency doesn’t end when the new brand identity goes live. In many ways, the work is just beginning.

 

4. Logo, language, and visuals

Redesigned Genicook packaging by a branding agency

Genicook Brand Positioning

This is where many people’s minds jump when they think of  “branding”. Sadly, there are some agencies out there that take advantage of this. They skip over the research, strategy, and guidance required to help companies craft truly great brands. Their core deliverables are tangible visuals, and not much else.

While there aren’t many agencies that do this (fortunately!), the ones that do can leave you with a brand that has little to no traction.

Branding agencies worth working with will understand that the logo, language, and visuals are always informed by careful research.

These branding agency services may seem simple, but they aren’t easy.

For example, the logo is the most recognizable visual part of your brand. People will connect a well-crafted logo with a brand even when the name is removed.

Meanwhile, language is a powerful cornerstone of your brand. It’s your “personality.” It can help your customers decide what kind of company you are.

    • Is your voice formal or casual?
    • Do you crack jokes or keep things serious?
    • What kinds of slang or abbreviations will you use?

All of these tell your customers something about who you are as a brand, humanizing your company.

These visual elements are arguably the most important part of your brand – a picture is worth a thousand words, after all. And your branding agency will help with photos and guidelines for future photos, as well as graphics, where needed.

It isn’t hard to find a branding agency that will help you with your logo, language, and visuals. But it is very hard to find an agency that does those things expertly and excellently.

 

5. Practical style manual

Shimahara Visual brand identity guidelines

Shimahara Visual Brand Identity Guidelines

While the brand position document will help you answer big-picture questions about your brand, the style manual is more day-to-day. The practical style manual collects all the assets of your brand in one place. It answers questions like:

    • “Should we use “and”, +, or & here?”
    • “Which font is our subheader in, and should we use that elsewhere, too?”
    • “What are the hex code names of our brand’s colors?”

These questions will absolutely come up in the future, as you continue to use your brand across different mediums. Without an answer to them, you’ll be left guessing. Guessing often leads to the worst thing you can do to your brand – inconsistency.

Branding agency services that only create a logo and a tagline are in some sense leaving you in the dark. Small details are just as crucial as the big picture when it comes to creating a strong, consistent, memorable brand. Keeping all the assets in one place means you can easily bring your brand across platforms, as well as bring in external collaborators.

 

6. Collateral

Musicians wearing Spotify Studios branded merchandise

Spotify Studios Merchandise Branding

Collateral is another example of fairly straightforward branding agency services.

This category can cover all kinds of things. Professional and internal collateral can include things like business cards, stationary, and branded templates. Customer-facing print collateral may include signage, packaging, and websites.

And, of course, there’s “swag”. T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, pens, pencils, bags… merchandising of every shape and size.

It’s an important method of bringing your brand to life. Customers want to be able to touch, feel, wear, and experience your brand. It helps forge a connection deeper than a transaction. Your agency can help you strategically determine which kinds of collateral will make an impression.

 

7. Launch campaigns

Last on our list of branding agency services is also the most important. Your brand wasn’t made to sit in folders – physical or digital. It was made to go out into the world, to make a difference.

Put simply, branding agencies that don’t help you launch are doing you a huge disservice.

Like a product launch, a brand launch requires a lot of time, effort, and care. Executing that carefully crafted strategy isn’t something you should be left to do on your own. Your brand needs to show up as a united front – both physically and digitally.

This might include trade shows or guerilla marketing campaigns. You’ll likely need traditional advertising and direct response, including digital ads. A great branding agency will be with you all the way through your successful launch. They’ll help reduce your workload and guide you through any sticky spots. While not all branding agencies do marketing in-house, they can work with your marketing team to ensure that all campaigns are on brand.

 

Choosing a branding agency

Branding is an intimate process. You’ll be communicating everything that makes your brand unique, its very heart and soul. The weight of choosing someone as your branding agency should always be evident to that agency.

Flux is a branding agency in Los Angeles who serves customers all over the US with care and pride. We don’t just “do branding”. We craft brands – intentionally, strategically, and beautifully. We help you tell your story to the world.

Reach out and see how we can help your business discover its new identity or refine its existing one.

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