Branding agency

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A branding agency is a firm that specializes in creating and launching brands, as well as rebranding. The role of a branding agency is to create, plan and manage branding strategies for clients, but can also involve support in terms of advertising and other forms of promotion.

In order to develop a more profound understanding of the function of these organizations it is initially important to capture the idea of branding. In short, branding is the process of developing a company's brand, including a name, identity system and messaging platform. These aspects will develop what is referred to as a brand message, which will then be applied to marketing campaigns to spread that message. A brand represents a promise to your customers, what they can expect from your products/services, and essentially what differentiates your offering from competitors.[1]

It is a vital element across all industries, as it allows organizations to gain competitive advantage, define a coherent brand communication strategy, and to increase and reach the target market.

All organizational sectors, whether it is a business, non-profit organization, or even a government agency, use branding agencies. Most often, organizations look to hire branding agencies in order to produce brand strategy and brand identity.

Branding agencies vs Advertising agencies[edit]

There is generally a misconception regarding the relationship between these two agencies. Often, branding agencies and advertising agencies are seen as being interchangeable entities. This however is not the case, and although they overlap in some respects, their scope and focus is different.

Essentially, the difference between these two agencies is the difference between strategy (branding) and tactics (advertising). Brands play an integral role in a firm's business strategy. In fact, the terms "company" and "brand" are often used synonymously for one another.[2]

On the other hand, advertising is more focussed on the process which firms use to market and communicate to existing and potential customers. A branding agency goes beyond this scope, and whilst commonly performing similar services to a traditional advertising agency, is involved in a larger strategical process.[3]

Leading brands and the role of branding agencies[edit]

In a constantly evolving economy with increasingly competitive markets a greater stress is being placed on developing a brand that is widely recognized by the public. People trust brands; they develop loyalties towards them, buy them and believe in their superiority.[4]

Leading brands: Coca-Cola[edit]

For decades now Coca-Cola has often been considered as the most successful and widely recognized brand in the world. In a survey conducted by Interbrand, an American branding consultancy, it was found that Coca-Cola's brand equity was valued at $63.5 billion, which represents just under half of the company's true market value.[5] An executive at Coca-Cola stated, "If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business." [6]

Coca-Cola has collaborated with a number of branding agencies over the years. More recently, in the light of a new global campaign, Coca-Cola has partnered with ten agencies (including WPP, Wieden+Kennedy and McCann) with the aim, as a Coca-Cola spokesperson stated, "of uncovering the best ideas and marrying those to executional excellence". The spokesperson went on to add, "this approach allows us to harness thinking from some of the best agency minds in the industry and see the great work that comes from collaborating".[7] The statement acknowledges the collaborative and creative process involved in brand management, which is generally an integral concept involved in branding.

It is also important to note that even the most successful brands will seek branding support. Evidently this will generally not come in the form of large rebranding strategies, but will often be more focussed on specific areas, and in particular those related to reaching, attracting and retaining the target market.[8]

Changing trends: Apple[edit]

Apple Logo

Despite having headed Interbrand's list of the 100 most valuable brands for 13 consecutive years, Coca-Cola has now been replaced by Apple, whose surge to the top highlights the dominance of technology in today's society. In fact, three of the top five most valuable brands are technology companies.[9]

This data stresses another key element that must be addressed by branding agencies, which is the value of innovation and the need to exploit trends. With the rise of the technology domain comes the emergence of new channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter, which organizations use to advertise their brand.

With this change in trends comes a different approach to branding. Agencies must be naturally innovative and flexible in order to have any hope of surviving in such a fast-paced environment. Furthermore, with branding becoming an increasingly vital element to a firm's success, many organizations believe it is in their best interest to seek external support.

Interbrand's Ranking of the 5 Most Valuable Brands (2015)[10][edit]

Rank Brand Region/Country Sector Brand Value (in $m) Change in Brand Value (in %)
1 Logo Apple.inc.gif United States Technology 170,276 +43
2 Google-Logo.svg United States Technology 120,314 +12
3 Coca-Cola logo.svg United States Beverages 78,423 -4
4 Microsoft logo (2012).svg United States Technology 67,670 +11
5 IBM logo.svg United States Business Services 65,095 -10

Largest branding agencies[edit]

There are few examples today of large, multinational corporations that focus exclusively on branding. The main drivers in the industry all provide a range of services within the branding, advertising and public relations sectors. The list below shows the three largest agencies that offer branding services.

3 Largest Agencies Offering Branding Services (in terms of revenues in 2014)[11][edit]

  • WPP - $19 billion
  • Omnicom Group - $15.3 billion
  • Publicis Groupe - $9.6 billion

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Basics of Branding". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Branding Agency vs. Ad Agency | Taylor Brand Group". Taylor Brand Group. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  3. ^ "Branding Agency vs. Ad Agency | Taylor Brand Group". Taylor Brand Group. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  4. ^ "ATB Creative | Branding Design & Brand Management | Leeds". www.atbcreative.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  5. ^ "The power of branding". Design Council. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  6. ^ "The power of branding". Design Council. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Coca-Cola selects WPP agency team for global campaign". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Don't Invest in Branding Until You've Done This". About.com Money. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  9. ^ "Rankings - 2015 - Best Global Brands - Best Brands - Interbrand". interbrand.com. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Rankings - 2015 - Best Global Brands - Best Brands - Interbrand". interbrand.com. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  11. ^ "Advertising Age - May 4, 2015". adage.coverleaf.com. Retrieved 2015-11-03.