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.