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  • Roycroft

    Building brands through smart, creative and strategic design solutions.
    Roycroft Design is a Boston-based graphic design firm. We specialize in branding for the web and print. We partner with our clients to find the best creative solutions that come from a blend of  [... view the full profile of Roycroft]
    Boston, Massachusetts
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Branding Agency Hiring Guide

What is a branding agency?

A branding agency is a service provider specializing in developing, maintaining, measuring, and improving brands through the strategic use of creativity, design, and marketing. It builds and launches brands from scratch to help generate brand awareness and visibility among target audiences.  

Branding agencies may also assist with rebranding to refresh a brand’s overall image, help it stand out from the crowd, and improve its reputation. These experts can help your business by supporting your brand, understanding your goals, and communicating them to the right audience. 

What does a branding company do?

A branding company combines business savvy, behavioral psychology, and communication strategy to define their clients’ brand values and positioning. It maintains, monitors, and evolves brands within ever-changing market conditions. 

A branding agency's core service offers include:  

  • Researching your target market: It performs market research to get valuable data on your audience and your competitors. It observes the market and industry trends to create brand strategies that are both highly relevant and sustainable in the long run.  
  • Defining your brand: It helps you define your brand’s purpose, mission, vision, and values to effectively communicate your brand story.  
  • Developing your brand identity: It develops a holistic brand identity. This includes creating a name, voice, and logo that are in tune with your business, target market, and industry.  
  • Refining your brand positioning: It differentiates your brand from the rest of the market while maximizing relevance and authenticity.  
  • Crafting an actionable marketing plan for brand promotion: It sets strategies that go well beyond running ads and inspects the different stages of the sales funnel. Its campaigns are tailored to push your leads from awareness to brand loyalty. 

How much do branding services cost?

Professional branding services cost anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000+ depending on project scope and your brand's needs. A typical service package that includes logo design, brand strategy and messaging, and a new website design ranges between $30,000 to $100,000. [Courtney Bozigian, Brand Strategy Director at Digital Silk]

The top 50 branding agencies on DesignRush charge an average of $119/hour. Roughly 12.7% of the branding companies on DesignRush work with a minimum budget of $1,000, while 2.4% require a $50,000+ minimum budget. 

The easiest way to determine the cost of your branding project is to ask for a quote from a few qualified providers. Upon listing your needs, they should be able to estimate the project hours as well as an approximate total cost. 

Selecting a less expensive branding firm may not always be the right move. Don’t base your decisions solely on costs. Instead, thoroughly weigh the teams’ backgrounds, niche expertise, and client feedback against your requirements. 

What services are typically included in a branding proposal?

A branding proposal typically includes the following services: 

  • Brand strategy: A foundation that guides businesses on how to portray their unique image to customers, distinguishing themselves from competitors 
  • Logo design: A crucial component of a brand's visual identity that conveys its values and heritage 
  • Logo refresh: Updates and adjustments to color palettes, fonts, taglines, and shapes 
  • Brand book and style guide: A set of precise guidelines defining a brand's visual identity, including the color palette, typography, logo usage, and more 
  • Brand architecture: A valuable framework and portfolio to help customers identify, understand, and connect with your brand 
  • Brand naming: The research and brainstorming that go into identifying a suitable name for a company, product, or service, in compliance with trademark regulations 
  • Brand statement: A concise yet strong statement that communicates a brand's unique value proposition, key differentiators, principles, target audience, and product positioning 
  • Brand voice: The personality and tone of the brand’s messaging 
  • Brand positioning: The process of differentiating a brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) from its competitors 
  • Social media strategy: A valuable tool for engaging users and promoting a brand by leveraging the capabilities of social networking platforms 

These key services can help you launch a new brand or grow an existing one, boost brand awareness and increase presence in the marketplace, improve brand consistency, and contribute to your overall reputation.  

What is the difference between a branding agency and a creative agency?

The difference between a branding agency and a creative agency lies in their focus, scope of work, and organizational structure. 

A branding agency specializes in developing and managing a company's overall brand identity from strategy to execution. To establish consistency and foster positive audience engagement, branding companies create the: 

  • Name
  • Logo 
  • Tone of voice 
  • Design look and feel 
  • Messaging 

Meanwhile, a creative agency primarily focuses on content production and execution for: 

  • Print 
  • TV 
  • Digital ads 
  • Social media campaigns 
  • Videos 
  • And more 

Why should I hire a branding agency?

The main reasons to hire a branding agency are to: 

  • Generate brand recognition: When it comes to increasing your brand recognition and improving its credibility, creative branding agencies conduct branding research to highlight the key elements attached to your brand. This process will improve brand recall and perception – two important factors that will influence your customer’s purchasing decisions when choosing between you and your competitors.  
  • Improve brand loyalty: While a brand strategy agency is often focused on reaching new markets, its primary goals include nurturing existing clients, gaining their loyalty, and developing long-term relationships. It understands your existing customer base and knows what keeps them coming back. They serve as a connector between you and your customer and they help increase client retention significantly.  
  • Boost sales: 43% of shoppers spend more money on brands they are loyal to. An important factor to consider here is brand equity. Shoppers very often make a purchasing decision based on their perception of a brand. The more familiar they are with a brand, the more they trust it. Branding companies will help you improve brand profitability by being consistent and keeping your clients engaged with your business and your brand. 

Additional reasons to partner with professional branding companies are to: 

  • Save time and resources by letting experts handle strategic planning and implementation  
  • Gain access to branding experts with extensive experience and dedicated skills in growing brands  
  • Improve your market positioning through a consultative and collaborative approach, from strategy to execution  
  • Reach your goals and create measurable results by identifying true white space opportunities from an outside perspective 

Branding firm Lounge Lizard’s work for Edge Studio demonstrates these benefits. Edge Studio is a renowned full-service voice-over studio whose outdated websites needed a modern overhaul. 

Lounge Lizard was able to give a fresh look and feel to the newly merged websites by incorporating trendy responsive design elements that retained the brand’s essence. This led to a 40% increase in domain authority, 114% in total organic traffic, and 847% in backlink profile. 

How long does it take branding agencies to create a branding plan?

Developing an initial branding plan can take up to six weeks. This is typically enough time to create a new robust brand strategy, a new company or product name, a custom logo design, and a brand book.  

However, branding plans should continue evolving as long as brands are thriving. They require ongoing work, evaluation, and updates to remain relevant. 

How do I choose a branding company for my project?

Follow these steps to pick the right branding agency partner for your project: 

  1. Define your project requirements: Outline your branding needs and timeline. What problems do you intend to solve with branding? What are your goals and vision for the project? When do you plan to launch the branding project? 
  2. Set a budget: Branding initiatives are an investment. Be sure to allocate a realistic amount while considering the deliverables and the time frame. Understanding how much the prospective partners charge will help you find a branding company that fits your budget. Find the balance between affordability and value of services. Costs should be reasonable and sustainable. 
  3. Gather references: Research top branding agencies on reputable online directories and curated blogs. You can also ask for references and recommendations from industry peers. Based on your research, build a long list of prospective agency partners. 
  4. Browse their portfolios, client roster, and reviews: See if they have worked on similar projects and brands within the same sector. This will give you stronger insight into the actual designs that your prospective partners can create, the campaigns that they can execute, and the results they can deliver. Their reviews also speak volumes about their work quality, transparency, level of trust, and more. 
  5. Research their experience level and industry reputation: Read their own brand story to see how long they have been in the business of branding. Find out their core expertise and the employees’ specializations. Check affiliations, certifications, and industry awards. 
  6. Check for well-defined processes: Investigate their methodologies and strategies for building and conveying authentic brands to varying markets and audiences. To ensure work is high quality, on time, and within budget, you should partner with a branding agency that uses a data-driven and research-based approach. 
  7. Take into account the agency size: Do you prefer to collaborate with a larger branding agency or a smaller, boutique firm? The resources you will need depend on the project scope, its complexity, the overall deliverables, and your assigned budget. 
  8. Shortlist candidates: Based on your research, narrow your list to up to five agencies. Reach out to them and express your intent to partner with them. Send a branding request for proposal (RFP) to each. 
  9. Receive and review proposals: The proposals submitted will speak volumes not only about their technical and creative capabilities. These also display their enthusiasm to research your business and learn more about your brand. 
  10. Arrange interviews: Get to know the shortlisted candidates up close and personal. This is also their opportunity to discuss the proposals in greater detail. 
  11. Understand the potential ROI: When you enlist the best creative branding agency, you’re paying for a strong ROI. Take the time to learn the business growth possibilities each agency can offer. Ask in-depth questions about its pricing tiers, expertise, and past results. 
  12. Make a final decision: Choose the agency partner that can best meet your requirements and budget, following your evaluation of the proposals and the interviews. It should also be aligned with you in terms of culture and work ethic. 

Need assistance in finding the ideal branding agency partner? Go to DesignRush’s Marketplace and tell us more about your project. We’ll connect you with five of the most suitable companies based on your requirements – for free. 

What questions should I ask branding agencies before hiring one?

The top questions you should ask branding agencies before hiring are: 

Its Relevant Background 

  1. Does your agency have experience related to my industry? 
  2. Do you have case studies of similar style projects to what I plan for my brand? 

Company Services and Processes 

  1. What steps will you take to know our brand, business, customers, and competitors? 
  2. What does your branding process look like? 
  3. Can you develop a brand strategy without much input from me? 

The Project 

  1. What type of team would I be working with? Which design styles does your team specialize in? 
  2. What will your proposed brand strategy include? 
  3. How do you evaluate the success of a branding campaign? 
  4. What can we expect our ROI to look like? 
  5. How often should I update my branding? 
  6. How will you ensure this will be a fruitful partnership? 

Getting the answers to these critical questions can help ensure your goals and expectations are met. 

What are the best branding agencies in the U.S.?

Some of the best branding agencies in the U.S. are:

  1. RNO1
    • DesignRush rating: 4.7 (9 reviews)
    • Google rating: 5.0 (1 review)
    • Top clients: Airbnb, LOLIWARE, Spring Labs, Wand  
  2. Propaganda Creative
    • DesignRush rating: 4.8 (7 reviews)
    • Google rating: 5.0 (60 reviews)
    • Top clients: Hoopfest, Elite Construction, HDG Architecture, Canopy Credit Union  
  3. Clay
    • DesignRush rating: 4.9 (21 reviews)
    • Google rating: 4.8 (26 reviews)
    • Top clients: Coca-Cola, Facebook, Amazon, Sony  
  4. Digital Silk
    • DesignRush rating: 4.9 (31 reviews)
    • Google rating: 4.6 (19 reviews)
    • Top clients: IBM, AT&T, Sony, Microsoft  
  5. SmartSites
    • DesignRush rating: 5.0 (52 reviews)
    • Google rating: 4.9 (434 reviews)
    • Top clients: AGA Truck Parts, Flight Courtier, Newark Academy, NJ Institute of Technology 

Scroll up to find listings of both large and boutique branding agencies in the U.S., selected based on industry reputation, successful projects, client testimonials, team expertise, and more. Filter them by reviews, hourly rates, size, and budget to refine your search. 

How legitimate is the content in the hiring guide?

To further provide a reliable and accurate source for branding companies, we reached out to Digital Silk's Brand Strategist, Courtney Bozigian, to answer the above industry-specific insights to guide you in your agency search process. 

Courtney Bozigian is the Director of Brand Strategy at Digital Silk. With over ten years of experience in brand management and marketing, she previously led brands at Hasbro, Inc., where she oversaw digital-first brand storytelling and spearheaded brand creative vision, targeted messaging, product line extension, and package rebranding.  

Branding Expert Insights

Daniel Grossman, Ph.D.
Daniel Grossman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Missouri–St. Louis

How do academic insights into consumer behavior uniquely inform effective branding strategies?

Academic insights into consumer behavior serve as the cornerstone for developing effective branding strategies. Understanding the psychological underpinnings of consumer motivation and decision-making allows brands to craft messages that resonate on a deeper level.

For instance, knowledge of cognitive biases, emotional triggers, and social influences helps [to tailor] branding efforts that align with consumer perceptions and preferences. It allows brands to create a more authentic and relatable narrative, fostering stronger connections with their target audience.

How can businesses measure the success and impact of their branding efforts with an agency?

Measuring the success of branding efforts involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics. Depending on the context, there will likely be 5–15 key performance indicators (KPIs), such as brand awareness, customer engagement, and conversion rates. Moreover, surveys and customer feedback provide qualitative insights into the perception of the brand.

A successful branding agency should be adept at utilizing analytics tools to track these metrics [and at] communicating these metrics to their client. The agency should collaborate closely with the business to align objectives and assess the impact of branding initiatives over time.

What are the differences in branding strategies across various industries?

Branding strategies differ markedly across industries due to varied consumer behaviors, market dynamics, and competitive landscapes. For instance, a technology brand may center its strategy on innovation and cutting-edge features, capitalizing on the fast-paced nature of the sector.

In contrast, a luxury brand in the fashion industry may prioritize exclusivity and craftsmanship to appeal to discerning consumers.

Recognizing these industry-specific nuances is paramount for effective branding. Agencies that succeed in this landscape tailor their strategies to harmonize [...] the distinctive challenges and opportunities within each sector, ensuring a cohesive and resonant brand message that speaks directly to the target audience.
Daniel Grossman, Ph.D. image
Prof. Brian D. Till
Professor of Marketing, Marquette University

What are the differences in branding strategies across various industries?

[...] The strategic fundamentals of branding are consistent across [all] industries. The best brands are unique (differentiated from key competitors), relevant (not to everyone but [to] well-defined target audiences, and simple.

What does vary, though, are the tactics used to bring the brand to life. Business-to-business brands tend to rely more on personal selling, trade shows, [and] PR in industry publications, while larger consumer brands rely more on traditional advertising, robust social media activity, and perhaps packaging.

Smaller brands look for cost-effective ways of communicating their identity via strong reliance on their website, social media posts, sponsorship of smaller local events. Brick-and -mortar retail brands rely heavily on their physical space and in-store personnel.

Where do you see branding in the next 5-10 years?

Brands will be able continue to target consumers at a more granular level, customizing content and promotions more effectively and efficiently. Consumers will be increasingly sensitive to the authenticity of the brands they align with, ensuring that brands [...] “walk the talk.”

Brands will also work to create more immersive experiences that allow consumers to engage deeply with the brand and lead to more of their consumers to be strong advocates for the brand.

How can businesses measure the success and impact of their branding efforts with an agency?

Measuring the effectiveness of branding activities remains a challenge. [Even though] brands have more and more data and metrics available, making causal inferences is still not an exact science. Having expected outcomes that are very specific and logically tied to tactics will help, as will use of control/test conditions and/or very careful longitudinal analysis.

Partnering with the agency to determine appropriate success indicators in advance also helps, as the agency also has an interest in demonstrating the effectiveness of their work. Don’t [...] fall into the trap of focusing on metrics that aren’t that central to the success of the brand but are easy to measure.
Prof. Brian D. Till image
About The Author and Expert Reviewer
Jelena Relić has hundreds of top-ranking articles and a lifestyle & culture magazine she calls The MAN. She gained valuable content and SEO experience working at Digital Circle and Neil Sahota, which she now uses to deliver top-quality B2B content at DesignRush, particularly in the creative industry.
Branko Dimitrijević is a multifaceted creative and a recipient of 33 design awards. Throughout his 12-year career, he has delivered over 165 web design projects, showcasing his expertise in website optimization, UI/UX design, logo design, and video animation. He is now dedicating his talent and skills to being one of the creative geniuses at DesignRush.