How To Brief A Branding Agency – Finer Points

“It’s always nice when somebody knows what Phoenix Wharf does and values the importance of design from the start. In the industry in general there’s a lot of attitude towards how valued the thinking behind the design actually is. People often think that design is just a nice picture or a logo which looks good. Maybe a brand will feature an image of a fox, somebody will have considered the position the fox is in, the colour of the fox and why it is there at all, there will be a reason behind every decision and if there isn’t then the brand probably isn’t very strong. When somebody comes into our office with an understanding of that it’s just brilliant, they trust that you’ve done it all for a reason and they know why.

“Having a budget in mind from the beginning is useful but it might not be essential at the very start. Often people won’t know how much they should invest in the design compared to physical assets. Anybody could go to Ikea and fill a restaurant with furniture which would be perfectly practical, but will that space be somewhere people want to visit? They also have to dress it and consider the brand itself. If they get that wrong people won’t go in there, no matter how nice the furniture is. It is important to consider how much you are willing to pay for the ideas as much as the building itself. Some people don’t think that the design costs very much money but actually most clients are willing to pay for it, as it’s something they can’t do.

“There are always ways of reducing costs but if you are designing with a financial person at the very beginning they don’t look at anything except the figures. You could put a whole presentation together with great images that really sell their brand and they skip right to the last page and want it cheaper. Financially that might not be the right thing for their company. The return on investment might be much greater if they have a stronger brand design and it could end up completely changing their whole business for the better but they’re not willing to see that because it just seems like too much of an outlay.

“We will never suggest something that is unachievable or would put a business in trouble, we obviously want our clients business to be successful and grow. We really do support the brands that we work with and want everybody to feel like they can come back to us. That kind of relationship is so important and we wouldn’t do something too expensive. However in some scenarios there has to be a certain amount of investment upfront and if people aren’t willing to do that and decide that they’re going to do a cheaper version instead they’ll do so much more damage to their brand that way.

“I’d like to say we could work round absolutely anything, but the worst thing is doing something half-hearted – they’ll partially rebrand or redo a space without committing. Not only does that say you’re too scared but it also completely dilutes any of the work that you’ve paid for. If you’re only going to do it in dribs and drabs then don’t do it at all, because it completely confuses the brand message and consumers don’t trust a brand that is a mixture of old and new. In today’s world, unless your brand is really strong with one clear message, you’re not going to survive. You’ve got to fully commit.”


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