With so many branding and design agencies around, how do you choose the right partner to work with?
Establish your search criteria
The way you look for a partner will determine the kind of organisation you will find. Most of the larger branding agencies don't advertise, and rely on word of mouth and recommendations. If this is your preferred route, then ask around, speak to your peers and find out who they have worked with.
Putting your branding contract out for tender will bring some of the biggest and best agencies directly to you. A concise, well written tender will yield the best results, so be as specific as possible about your needs and desires.
Set the brief
A detailed brief will pay dividends to the outcome of your search for the right agency. Be as specific as possible, and don't be afraid be put over your requirements, you may exclude some agencies, but perk the interest of the right ones. You don't need to know exactly how you want your branding to look, but you do need to be specific about the amount of work that you are willing to commit to.
Understand your audience
It's importance to understand your target demographic, and being able to identify an agency who is experienced in your market will make your decision much easier to make. If you understand your audience, you can ensure that a branding agency can do so too. A good branding agency will be able to create an image that will communicate effectively with your audience.
Once you have a shortlist of agencies that you'd like to work with, it's a great idea to compare them with each other. This way you'll find that some have certain strengths in certain areas, some weaknesses in others, and unique skill sets that will help you reach your branding goal. If pricing is your main criteria, this is a good point to identify who is the most cost effective, and who are out of your price range.
It's now down to the agencies to impress you with their proposals. A good proposal should be detailed, with information about the project, the agency, their staff and their clients. A schedule of work including research, initial draft artworking, brain storming and ideas gathering, as well as the actual technical aspect of the branding exercise should all be detailed.
A full costing break down will also be included at this stage, allowing you to see exactly what you're paying for, from the research stage to the final artwork and file handover.
Search engine optimisation or ‘SEO’ is vital to any online business. Ranking well on Google can mean the difference between the success or the failure of your business. Our SEO experts have compiled their top tips for helping your website reach the top search results of Google:
1. Find the best keywords
The fist thing to do before performing any SEO work is to carry out your research, and ascertain the keyword terms that you need to be found for. As a Google Certified Partner, we have access to tools such as Key Word Planner - this allows us to work out the most effective keywords for your business. We also conduct a full competitor analysis which shows what your rivals are doing, and how we can achieve better results.
2. On-site SEO
This is the practice of optimising the back-end of your website. There is a whole host of steps to take including meta tag creation, page titles and pages descriptions to name just a few. You must ensure that there is a cohesion to each page's keywords, and that there is no repetition throughout the site. Keyword density within your content must be carefully considered, and a structured strategy throughout the site is vital.
3. Off-site SEO
Off-site SEO refers to any practices that are performed outside of your website, specifically backlinks and external work like article writing and blog submissions. Having a link to your domain from another site that holds good credibility gives your site a huge advantage over your competitors. We hold a database of thousands of high authority websites that provide us and our clients with exclusive backlinks.
4. Quality content
One of the most important aspects of your website when it comes to effective SEO is to have quality content. Thorough and concise descriptions of your products and services is essential, as well as lots if information about who you are and what you do. We have a team of highly skilled copywriters who can populate your site with quality content with high relevancy and balanced keyword density.
5. Mobile responsiveness
With the latest update of Google’s search algorithms, mobile responsiveness is now prioritised above all other aspects of your website. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it simply will not rank well. Over 70% of Google searches are now conducted on smartphones and tablets, meaning the vast majority of people looking at your website will be doing so on a smaller screen. All websites that we build for our clients are fully mobile responsive and retina display optimised.
When it comes to your company, visually effective branding can make a huge difference to your profile. A strong, evocative logo is just the start. Branding includes your corporate colours, image styles, and fonts. These will all be put together as part of your company's visual guidelines - a hand book for your brand, and the journey to reach that stage can be an exciting one of discovery and creativity.
To create an effective brand, we must fully understand your company. This is achieved through in-depth research and a full immersion into your business. We can do this with site visits, brain storming sessions with CEOs, creative meetings with marketing teams, and even interviews with your employees to give our team the very best insight into your organisation. Reaching this level of insight will give us a more rounded understanding of your core values, your market and your target audience.
To gain maximum appeal in your sector, we must also understand your customer base, their aspirations, their wants and needs. We can look at your client profile, the intended demographic reach and find the best way to appeal to them.
This unique approach has allowed us to create a host of successful and visually impacting brands. Our creative design work has helped our clients to grow and thrive in their sectors, gaining a wider reach amongst their sector, and giving their existing customers confidence in their products and services.
If you would like a branding consultation, get in touch with the team today. Our Manchester based offices are perfectly located to host branding meetings and visual exercises. We can re-brand your existing company profile, or create something completely new for start up organisations.