Great branding is mostly about finding solutions to business challenges. At least, that’s how some of the world’s best branding agencies approach their work. The truth is that when many people hear the word “branding”, they automatically think about company logos, taglines and corporate identity guidelines. For some people, the very sound of the word “branding” conjures up images of graphic designers, copywriters and other “creatives” huddled around a table, drinking coffee and talking about the client’s corporate fonts and brand colours. This image, of course, is only partially true.
It’s likely that at some point in time, those same “creatives” will also be huddled over the table reviewing the client’s strategy documents, poring over industry research and engaging in vigorous debates about the best ways to reach the client’s ideal customers. Why? Because today’s branding agencies have to be able to think not only in terms of visual aesthetics, but also in terms of business. The reason is simple. CEOs, marketing managers and other decision-makers in the Caribbean business community have become less accepting of creativity for the sake of being creative. Having an advertising campaign that “looks pretty” simply isn’t enough. These decision-makers, of course, still want their agencies to produce work that looks good. But increasingly, the client/agency conversation is based on the need to achieve some very specific business goals and solve “real-life” business challenges. In other words, business professionals want their agencies to produce creativity with a purpose. They want their agencies to use their creativity to find workable solutions to real-life business challenges.
Chances are, that if you are in a leadership position at your company, and you’re working with a creative team, you too want that team to help you find solutions to business challenges. Here are a few areas where branding agencies can use their creativity to help you improve your competitiveness.
- Brand Visibility
The adage that “people do business with those they know, like and trust” is still very relevant in today’s fast-paced business environment. If you’re going to be successful, your customers need to be familiar with your brand. After all, your customers can’t get to like you or trust you if they don’t even know who you are. A good branding agency can use its design, strategy and communications skills to help raise your brand visibility so you can get to work building relationships with potential customers.
- Brand Credibility
Having great brand visibility is awesome, but in a crowded marketplace, sometimes it simply isn’t enough for your brand to be visible to potential customers. Your brand also needs to be credible. A number of studies have shown that today’s consumers are influenced not only by factors such as price and the quality of a company’s products and services, but also by that company’s reputation and values. For instance, a Neilsen study reported that “55%of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact”. If your brand has an interesting story that can help improve your credibility in the eyes of the public, your branding agency can help get the word out and entice more customers to your brand.
“We just want the campaign to look pretty. We don’t really care about sales!” Said no results-driven CEO ever. Now more than ever, companies want their branding agencies to help drive sales. A proactive branding agency that has been asked to develop a sales campaign will likely open up a conversation with you about your sales targets. But if this doesn’t happen, you should definitely feel free to bring up the topic. By sharing your sales goals with your branding agency, and by being uber-specific about the types of customers you are trying to entice, you and your agency can work together to find a solution to the real-life challenge of improving your sales figures.
If your company is going to outsmart, out-manoeuvre and outperform your competitors, you’re going to need to build a great team that is committed to your organisation and its business goals. And that means attracting your industry’s best, brightest and most talented. There is a growing body of research which suggests that when choosing an employer, many high-performance workers aren’t only interested in what salary they’ll be getting if they accept a job offer. They’re also interested in factors such as career growth, training opportunities and company culture. If you’ve got a lot to offer potential employees, but you need help getting the word out about your great company culture and your employee benefits, your branding agency can definitely lend a hand. Your agency can help by developing a communications strategy that positions your company as a great place to work and lets potential employees know about the benefits of working at your organisation.
- Internal Communications
If you’re serious about keeping your employees inspired and committed to the goals of your organisation, you absolutely must have an internal communications programme that allows for the efficient sharing of information between employers, employees and colleagues. In today’s high-tech world, internal communication shouldn’t be limited to internal company newsletters and the occasional departmental meeting. A proactive branding agency can guide you towards technological solutions that can help you improve the way you communicate with your team.
Of course, there are many other business challenges that branding agencies can help solve, but if you’re looking to get the most out of your branding agency, these five areas are a good place to start. The takeaway is that the conversation between client and agency shouldn’t only be about fonts, colours schemes and images. It should also be about business strategy, growth opportunities and finding solutions to business challenges. Because the best client/ agency relationships occur when both parties are working towards achieving the same business goals.
Blueprint Creative is an award-winning Branding Agency specialising in Brand Strategy, Communications, Design, Employee Brand Engagement and Customer Experience. We work with CEOs, marketing teams and other business leaders to help their organisations build stronger, more competitive brands. We’ve won a number of ADDY awards for our design work, and two Barbados Best Employer Awards for our HR practices and working environment.