If you don’t really understand what a branding agency is, you’re definitely not alone.
Over the years it became very popular to see agencies that work in specific areas like only with social media, or only with digital marketing, or agencies specialized in web design. Now, when it comes to branding, most people (and even professionals) think that a visual identity (graphic design) agency is a branding agency, but designing a logo is not branding, at all.
‘Logo’ is the abbreviation of ‘logotype’, which comes from the Greek ‘Lógos’ and means “word” or “speech”, while ‘Branding’ comes from the Germanic word ‘Brand’?— that originally meant burning or permanently marking something with a hot iron, and then became “the type of product manufactured by the private company under a particular name”.
The LOGO is the symbol while the BRAND embraces not only the logo but the visual identity, slogan, values, the positioning in the market, much more and, mostly, the customer experience. The BRANDING would be all the strategies and actions to make sure that your brand will work, and also connect to your target audience while it becomes memorable, reliable, or even a reference.
Branding is not something that you literally see, because it’s more about subjective aspects of a brand, like the perception and emotions transmitted, as much as the values that your brand shares.
Ok, so what does a branding agency do?
We work to attract your customers in a way that they perceive your brand as the perfect solution for what they are looking for. That’s very abstract, I know. Professionals have been using the iceberg metaphor to explain branding so let’s use this concept.
On the tip of the iceberg, you have the visual identity, marketing campaigns and strategies. The branding agency can work with that as long as the bottom part is taken care of. And what’s in the bottom part? That’s your fingerprint, or even your company’s soul.
A branding agency will guide you through some tricky questions like: Who are you? What do you offer that it’s unique? How and who are you offering this to? How do you connect with your audience?
And then we start working in whatever you need. Your business plan, your name, your mission, vision and values, your approach, your contribution to society. After we’re done with this foundation, we create the perfect logo to match the brand, the stationery, the website, social media, marketing, advertising, public relations… There are dozens of things to do with a brand but an agency can only be called branding if it acts at the bottom part of the iceberg. That’s what we do and are super passionate about.
I’ll be writing more about this initial stage of branding soon, so I hope we can keep in touch. Until then, you can always write us or comment if you have questions.
Daniela Torres is the founder and Creative Director of KIAI Agency Inc. With over 12 years of experience working as a journalist, press officer and graphic designer, Daniela is a brand strategist that has been leading design and marketing projects for multiple industries. She’s also the author of the book “Build Your Brand – The 10 essential steps before launching your business”.