Perhaps more than any other field, communications has felt the impact of technology with tremendous force. It’s empowering to have so many options, with easier ability for companies to build communications themselves. Digital design tools have never been more powerful and seemingly easy to use.
Why hire an agency to do what you can do yourself?
Consider photography. It’s never been easier to shoot using a digital camera, or even with your iPhone. But a great photographer does more than operate a camera – there’s framing, lens selection, point of view and lighting. And when it comes to a finished product, you get more than a disc of raw image files: each photo is selected, cropped, adjusted, retouched and processed. Working with an expert almost always improves the results. After all, these could be your wedding photos.
> Experts understand the full depth of what’s really required to ensure success.
As an indie agency owner for more than a dozen years, I’ve distilled the top 5 reasons that it makes sense to rethink doing branding yourself:
1. Accuracy. Process cannot be underappreciated in communications and can prevent mistakes that can be costly. Unless you have an established procedure for managing quality, it can be risky to attempt doing it alone.
2. Convenience.We’re all stretched thin, so taking on more responsibility and less support personnel adds major risk. By delegating it out, you free up your own resources to focus on your core competency, while letting someone else focus on theirs. This increases the chance of success for everyone involved.
3. Assurance. The agency you hire bears the burden to deliver, shifting the risk off your own shoulders. That’s the natural equation that results from fee for service.
4. Talent. Learning to use tools to craft amazing results might seem easy, but it typically takes a lot of dedication, time and practice to perfect. Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule is a great example: talent takes focused, dedicated effort. It’s seldom merely innate.
5. Intelligence. Ultimately, few things can influence your business more than smart branding. It takes a smart approach because your customers are savvy, meeting their intelligence with equally compelling marketing isn’t so simple.
In the final analysis, finding the right balance is key. For certain projects it makes sense to handle it yourself, but be sure to assess the time, quality and other load factors that come with it.
With branding, it’s critical to consider the potential equity opportunity too. For many companies, the value of a brand can exceed the total book value of all their tangible assets. Since it’s clearly best practice to have an expert manage your assets, then it follows that a serious assessment of who’s handling your branding is worth the effort as well. There’s tremendous long-term upside in branding for a relatively small capital expenditure.
I like to leverage my strengths, and hire out when I’m not an expert. That’s just smart business. And with my strong suit in creative talent, I’m lucky to help other smart businesses become better brands.