Perhaps it’s the number of branding projects I currently have in the works or the fact that I’m a whiz in the “Brand" category of Trivia Crack, but I freaking love the creative process of helping a new brand come to life.
It goes far beyond the name and logo and color selection. It’s the mood and the personality of each customer touch, the words and phrases that translate into tone and a unique writing style, the imagery used to convey a message and how the mashup of images and words make you, the consumer, feel in response. Then, as you start to layer in the possible channels and formats… yeesh… I’m like a kid in a candy store and absolutely love every minute of it.
However, and I think this is where most analytical and creative minds bash, a business could go broke exploring all the possible options and prioritizing “beauty” and perfection over “results” and good enough. There’s always a spectrum and you get to decide how far left or right you want to go. My only advice is to keep the bigger picture in mind.
When it comes to getting “brand” help, ask yourself these questions:
How competitive is the industry you’re entering?
What “sophistication” level does the industry your business is in demand?
How peeved will your “Brand Team” be if you go rogue with this new business, product line, or initiative?
Compared to competitors, do you want your brand to be priced higher or lower?
Is your budget on the low or high end?
If you answered “very,” “highly” or “high” to any of these questions, then I’d definitely recommend going with a designer that someone in your immediate network recommends or enlist a branding agency. I know an AMAZING resource at M Consulting Group (Hey, Melinda!) who can hook you up with the right agency. (Just tell her “Heather sent you.”
If you’re less inclined to answer “high,” then here are some alternate resources you can consider along with some anecdotal commentary from my personal experience.
99Designs.com This company turned branding into a SAAS platform where you can pitch your design needs to hundreds of designers at once. They “enter” your contest by submitting some logos for consideration and you almost instantly start to see your vision come to life. You ultimately select a winner and get the assets delivered pretty quickly.
Average Cost: $599 for a logo, business card, letterhead and social media (Facebook) cover image
Design Quality: It ranges from extremely rudimentary to “pretty good.”
Upwork connects freelancers and businesses to the gig economy to get help with almost every aspect of business you can think of. The catch is sorting through the applications to select the right talent, which can take some trial and error despite the myriad of ratings and filtering tools made available via the Upwork platform.
Average Cost: Varies by designer but you can set an hourly rate of a project rate and see what happens.
Design Quality: Again it varies and depends on how much time you put into the vetting process. Most applicants provide a portfolio, so be sure to look thorugh the links to match on style before proceeding.
Branding Agencies - Contact M Consulting Group for connections, and ask for Melinda
There’s quite a spectrum of agency options to consider, which can be hella overwhelming. Take the guesswork out of the selection process and allow Melinda to do her magic. She knows a LOT of agencies (and the brilliant people who run them), especially in the St. Louis area, and can help match you to one from a culture and personality perspective versus straight up capabilities. Isn’t that neat?
Before you contact her though, I’d strongly recommend that you take the following questions into consideration.
When people see your brand, what do you want them to think or feel?
What does your brand stand for? (i.e. What’s important to you?)
Who are your customers and what do they care about?
Who do you view as your biggest competitors and how are you different?
What problem does your product(s) and/or service(s) solve?
When someone describes an interaction with your brand, what would be the best response?
What brands do you like/admire, and why? List a few.
Are there brands that you strongly dislike, and why? List a few.
How much are you willing to spend?
Which resources would you add? I know there are plenty more resources out there so be sure to comment if there’s one that you’ve had recent success using.
And, as always, if you want someone to take a look at your existing program, make recommendations or help you improve marketing effectiveness, I’d love to chat.