Core Capabilities to Look for in a Branding Agency

Use this criteria to select an agency that will be your perfect partner.

May 24, 2024



Core Capabilities to Look for in a Branding Agency

We, of all people, get it: Branding can be daunting. The processes and choices are overwhelming. Crafting and maintaining a brand identity requires expertise across marketing disciplines, a well-vetted playbook and a deep understanding of how to stay consistent while keeping your brand fresh and interesting.

This is where a branding agency comes into play. With the right agency partner, the work isn’t any less hard or any less important. But the process itself can be painless for you and your organization — and perhaps even enjoyable.

With so many branding agency options (we know it’s a crowded field), how do you decide which one is right for your business? Here are two core capabilities that we think are critically important.

01 Brand Development

Brand development is the framework upon which all marketing communications are built. By establishing clear and compelling brand elements, you can competitively differentiate your organization, build trust and credibility with your audiences, and create a cohesive brand experience across touch points.

Any branding agency you work with should have deep expertise in these strategic offerings:

  • Brand audits and competitive analyses
  • Persona documentation
  • Brand foundation development
  • Brand and product architecture
  • Brand and product naming
  • Brand messaging frameworks
  • Verbal and visual brand identity systems

02 Brand Amplification

Once your brand is built, what’s the best way to then bring it to market? And how can you keep it top of mind with your target audiences? You have two main courses of action — which aren’t mutually exclusive — to take with your agency partner: A) Establish a creative retainer, and B) collaborate on brand-driven campaigns. (Or as we like to say, a little of column A, a little of column B.)

Column A: Nurturing Your Brand With Ongoing Support

Through a longer term partnership, an agency will develop a deeper understanding of your brand from the inside out — identifying new ways to push it forward. With a retainer agreement, you’ll also yield greater efficiencies, both in terms of costs and timing, compared to one-off projects.

Below are some of the materials that can best be executed through a creative retainer:

  • Branded apparel and swag
  • Branded templates and assets
  • Blog articles and contributed bylines
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Research reports
  • Sales enablement
  • Slide decks
  • Social media graphics
  • Trade show booths
  • White papers

... and so much more.

Column B: Going Big With Cross-Channel Campaigns

For an even bigger push, consider holistic campaigns that can’t be ignored. Brand-driven campaigns should be informed by key audience insights that map to your organization’s solutions. An agency partner should help align your marketing efforts to boost brand awareness, drive prospect engagement and ultimately accelerate purchasing decisions — all while retaining and rewarding your current customers.

Essential brand campaign capabilities include:

  • Research and insights gathering
  • Creative brief development
  • Concept exploration
  • Activation planning
  • Asset production

Identify Your Needs & Choose Your Partner

By checking for the capabilities above, you’ll not only know what projects make the most sense for your organization, you’ll also get a sense of what support to expect from a partner. Of course, a checklist of capabilities and potential projects is just one piece that goes into selecting an agency partner — but it’s still a crucial one. 

Whatever your organization ultimately needs, there’s an agency partner out there who can make your life easier and your brand more successful. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out today to get a free audit of your brand that could help narrow your search.

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