By Esther Cohen
If you’re in the creative or marketing services business, the one thing you can’t afford to ignore is your brand.
Besides your work, your brand is the only thing separating you from a sea of similar competitors.
In a field where every business offers the same services, how you look, sound and feel – your brand – is the only way to stand out.
But how exactly does a creative agency brand itself? Is it as simple as being creative? Or is there more to a creative agency brand?
In this post, I’ll discuss how the world’s leading creative agencies brand themselves, and how you can do the same.
Start With a Brand Audit
Regardless of the size or age of your agency, your clients, website visitors and social followers already have a perception of your brand.
Far too often, there is a mismatch between this client-side perception vs. how you see (or want to see) yourself.
Branding is essentially aligning this client perception with your self-perception.
Before you dive into a deeper brand resurrection, run a thorough brand audit. Analyze every aspect of your brand, its current perception, the state of individual elements and the cohesiveness of the brand as a whole.
Doing this will help you understand your current positioning and make changes for the future.
Here’s how you can run a brand audit:
1. Question Your Clients
Understanding how your clients, website visitors and social media followers see you as an important part of any brand audit.
There are multiple ways to go about this. You can:
- Create an online poll and offer it to all website visitors, email subscribers and social media followers.
- Interview clients to understand how they perceive you and your brand.
- Listen-in on social media conversations and track keywords to see how people describe you.
In terms of insight, interviews will give you the most data but are also the hardest to arrange. Online polls are easier to run but yield limited data.
A quick and dirty way to get insight is to use a social media monitoring tool to see how people are talking about your brand. Look for keywords that describe positive or negative brand experiences.
If you have a large number of followers, you can use a social listening tool such as SocialMention to see the sentiment and keywords people are using in relation to your brand.
If you take the interview/poll route, some questions you can ask are:
- Do our website or brand experience stand out from others?
- Do our values and philosophy come across clearly in our communication?
- Why did you decide to partner with us? What role did our brand play in this decision?
Track all responses in a separate spreadsheet. We’ll come back to this later when we start building our brand.
2. Evaluate Your Competitors
Your clients will judge your brand in opposition to your competitors. Therefore, it makes sense to make competitor brand evaluation a part of your brand audit.
Start by listing your key competitors. Categorize them on the basis of: