Branding agency

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A branding agency is a firm that specializes in creating and launching brands, and rebranding. The role of a branding agency is to create, plan and manage branding strategies for clients, including support in advertising and other forms of promotion.

Branding is the process of developing a company's brand, including name, identity system and messaging platform. These aspects will lead to the development of a "brand message", applied to marketing campaigns. A brand represents a promise to the customer, reflecting the expectations they can have from the products and services offered, as well as the offering difference amongst the competitors.[1]

A branding agency allows organizations to gain competitive advantage, define a coherent brand communication strategy, and to reach the target market and expand it.

All organizational sectors, including private businesses, non-profit organizations, or government agencies, use branding agencies. Organizations hire branding agencies to produce brand strategy and brand identity.

Branding agencies vs Advertising agencies

Although branding agencies and advertising agencies overlap in some aspects, they have different scopes and focus.

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

Advertising is focused 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]

Celebrity endorsement benefits both branding and advertising agencies, promoting them on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. 'Firms invest significant monies in juxtaposing brands and organisations with endorser qualities such as attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness. They trust that these qualities operate in a transferable way, and, will generate desirable campaign outcomes' (Journal of marketing management, volume 15 1999). Examples of celebrities that act as ambassadors for obtaining "likes" for Coca-Cola and L'Oreal are Selena Gomez and Cheryl Cole.

Leading brands and the role of branding agencies

The evolving economy with increasingly competitive markets is creating a greater stress on developing brands that aim at being widely recognized by the public. When the public trust brands, loyalties are developed when consuming.[4]

Leading brands: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is globally considered as one of the most successful and recognized brand. A survey conducted by Interbrand, an American branding consultancy, found that Coca-Cola's brand equity was valued at $63.5 billion, representing 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. Most 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 added, "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.

Even the most successful brands will seek branding support. This 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

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 today. 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: the value of innovation and the need to exploit trends. The rise of the technology domain has resulted in the emergence of new channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter.

This change in trends results in new approaches to branding. Agencies must be naturally innovative and flexible in order to survive a fast-paced environment. 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]

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

References

  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.