How To Brief A Branding Agency – First Thoughts

Knowing when it’s the right time to approach a branding agency can be a difficult decision for any business. It may be that you have an initial idea regarding your brand or you might have a space that you know isn’t functioning as well as it could and are in need of some guidance. Whether at the start of your journey or much further along it’s never too soon, or too late, to speak with a company like Phoenix Wharf about your design requirements.

Our Senior Designer, Emma Gullick, shares her thoughts on what to expect from the initial conversations, things to consider in advance and the huge benefits of having an experienced brand design agency in your corner…

“The biggest thing we need from a client is an actual concept, it doesn’t have to be fully-formed but an initial idea is always helpful. As long as we have that direction, all the other choices can be worked out going forward. In a dream scenario it’s actually better not to have that much more to begin with. We then have the freedom to create something powerful, working together with the client and knowing that every decision has got a reason behind it. You should also give a brand agency as much information as you have at the start and then they can help you do the rest.

“Some clients have strong opinions from the outset about look, feel and colour. They might come to you and say ‘I want it to be red and really punchy’ and then they’ll tell us who they are targeting and it might not match up. It’s then about taking a step back, doing some analysis and explaining why their brand will be more successful if they do things in a certain way. Based on market research and our experience we can determine what their demographic might be after.

“On the other hand, if they have no idea what they want their brand to be it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, working hard to hone down all the excitement to that one thing everyone is equally passionate about. When they’ve already got an idea you can show them how it will become realised.

“We’ve had people come to us with absolutely nothing. We are working on a new cafe and restaurant project at the moment where our client knows he wants it to be an eating space but he doesn’t know specifically what sort. The name, colours, and materials are all open for exploration with no preconceived notion of what they should be. It’s up to us to help discover the answers to these questions and resolve what the space needs to do by looking at the finer detail. It’s one of those ‘anything goes’ projects and it’s really exciting.

“At such an early stage our client is looking at the numbers with a business hat on. He’s looking to us for creative guidance to ascertain what is right for the brand, the space and the customer demographic. It’s about finding the balance between pushing people outside of their comfort zone and giving them something new while doing what is best for the target audience.

“Even though each project is completely different there are always ideas which surprise people, things they thought were too extraordinary that are actually very feasible. People see a space and ask themselves ‘can it really be that different to how it is right now?’ They can’t imagine what would happen if you moved a doorway or shifted a wall or changed the way people entered the space. Some things seem too big but actually might be very cost effective and attainable, simple changes which would completely alter the dynamic. Challenging the ‘traditional’ way of thinking and exploring alternative options is something we know is important in an often saturated market. Be prepared to think ‘what if?’”

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