How to Choose a Brand Activation Agency
It’s time to brand your new product or service. Maybe, you have an old design that no longer does what you want it to do. That’s an important question to ask yourself. What do you want your brand to say? Are you aiming for funny or serious? Casual or professional? Do you need to appeal to all ages or a specific generation? To find the best company to partner with for your branding or rebranding, you need to understand how to choose a brand activation agency.
Why bother hiring an agency? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use your marketing staff to activate their brand. Sure, they know what your company does or sells, but do they understand the intricacies of your brand? Can they relay that message to the public? It’s often hard to think objectively when you have a personal connection.
Instead, start your search for a branding agency that aligns with your beliefs. You want to partner with an agency that wants to make you the best. Think of some of the brand identities that stick out in your head. They took the step you’re about to take, and that’s precisely what makes them unforgettable.
Narrow Your Search of Brand Activation Companies
How do you start finding the right firms to work with? Start by finding products and services that have brand designs you admire or enjoy looking at. You might like the typography, the color palette, or the message it gets across. You might not even know what it is that appeals to you, but something about it does. Either way, note the brand activation company’s name. It’s worth talking to them about your design needs.
To find these brand designs:
- Search your company’s competitors to view their brand activations.
- Explore ads and posts on social media that businesses similar to yours make and look at their designs and logos.
- Do an image search for color palettes you like and expand from there.
- Jot down your company’s philosophy and find companies with a similar one and look at their designs.
- See what stands out as memorable and unlikeable to you, as you’ll use that information to create a list of pros and cons.
You also want to research the companies on your list. Learn more about them. What are their company philosophies? Does that align with your ideals? If you have vastly different opinions to the design and marketing firm, you have to decide if those differences could lead to personality clashes.
Go through the companies’ portfolios to view their other brand activations. Do you still like what you see? Read their blog to see if they post frequently. If they do, do you like the message they share? Are they active at conferences and presentations, signaling that they’re experts in their field? Have they won awards? That’s even better. What do their current or former clients have to say about them? If you still like what you see, it’s time to take the next step. Put them on your short-list.
What other services can the company do? Partnering brand activation with participation at a tradeshow or exhibition may be the best way to launch your new business. It’s easier to have one company to really get to know all aspects of your marketing plan to pull off a well-rounded campaign.
Eventually, you’ll have a small list of companies to consider for your branding project. Now, it’s time to talk to the brand activation experts at each company and start a conversation. You want to tell them about your pros and cons list. Some may ask if you’ve created a mood board or similar. This means you clip images of things you like (think Pinterest) that bring about the design ideas you have for your brand.
Tell them what your budget is. If you absolutely cannot go over $10,000, tell the brand activation company that upfront. If your budget is unrealistic for the work they need to do, it’s better to find out early in the process. At that point, you can decide if there’s wiggle room for a higher budget or if you need to scale down your project.
This information helps them understand the things you like and dislike, which can help them decide if their design firm can bring your vision to life. You wouldn’t want to be weeks into the partnership to discover they cannot do what you want.
Things to Keep In Mind During Interviews and Proposals
During the proposals and interviews, if you ask a question, what happens? Do they have answers or respond by saying they’ll get an answer to you? If they need time to get the answer, give it a day and see if that answer comes within the expected time, or are there unusually long delays?
How is their presentation? Quality branding is a very structured, organized process. If they’re all over the place during their presentation, and you’re struggling to keep up, ask questions and see if they’ll slow down.
How big is the company? You might like the idea of working with a large company that has a lot of experience divided among all of the designers. You may also want a more hands-on approach from a smaller firm with availability to make you the only project they’re focusing on. Maybe, you prefer somewhere that meets in the middle. Whichever best fits your brand activation, you need to ensure their team of designers and marketers will do the required research. They’ll have to look at things from the consumer’s point of view while also paying close attention to the message the colors, designs, and photos send.
Right now, the pandemic has led to an increase in telecommuters. Some brand activation and marketing experts are working from home offices, and those home offices may not be in the area you imagine. They may outsource some of the work that’s needed. You need to know that up front, too. If the company has workers staying with family in another state while working remotely, some of the staff may be in time zones that aren’t compatible with your needs. However, the different time zones can work to your benefit as they may have staff working long after others have signed off for the day. If you work during similar hours, it’s a huge benefit to have a firm with off-hour availability.
Of the companies that you interviewed, which presentations stood out? Trust your gut instinct. If you felt a strong connection with one of the design teams and the presentation had ideas you loved, hire that firm that wowed you.
You need that “wow” factor. You’re looking for a brand activation expert who can take your company’s message, one that gets people talking. That’s where Factory 360 comes in. Our philosophy is People, Design, and Culture. If your brand activation alienates even one group, it could destroy your relationship with customers. We also strive to match a client’s digital, social, and content needs. Talk to us about your goals, and let our design team put our expertise to bring your brand alive.