When to Hire a Branding vs. Marketing Agency 

Grayson Lafrenz
By Grayson Lafrenz

When looking to grow sales many business owners look to improve their overall brand messaging and marketing efforts. While some choose to tackle these projects in-house. The majority of companies form strategic partnerships and outsource certain aspects of the business to work more efficiently and effectively.

Every company sells something – a product, service, or both. There may come the point where you are wondering if you should hire an outside agency to assist in either your branding or marketing strategy. These are two critical strategies that will determine your company’s success.

When determining if a business should hire a branding or marketing agency it is important to determine what your goals are and what you are looking to accomplish. In this article we’ll walk you through the basics of what a branding and marketing agency is, what services they offer, and when it is appropriate to hire each type of agency.

What Is The Difference Between Branding And Marketing?

To know when it is appropriate to hire a branding or marketing agency, it is critical that is an understanding of the fundamental differences between branding and marketing.

Branding

Branding is who you are as a company. It is a combination of tangible and intangible elements and building blocks that determine what makes a business unique. A brand is built on a company’s principles, values, mission statement, brand personality, essences, and vision. These are all the driving factors that help to create a unique internal company culture that will allow you to differentiate from your competition. A brand is symbolic, intangible, and an emotional response and feeling that is delivered to your consumers. It is what you stand for, and what makes your company matter.

Marketing

Marketing is the different tools and processes that are used to drive awareness and communicate a company’s brand, activities, and offerings. Marketing is always changing and evolving with the business, depending on the short-term and long-term goals of the company.

Related: How Does Design Fit Into Your Marketing Efforts?

There are several different marketing channels ranging from traditional television and print advertising, in-person display and trade show promotions, to online digital marketing. The ultimate goal of marketing is to drive awareness, educate, or encourage a future purchase for a target customer segment for either a product or service.

What Is A Branding Agency?

A branding agency specializes in helping businesses identify and define a comprehensive branding strategy. These agencies offer services that help a brand create the tangible and intangible elements and building blocks that will determine what makes your company unique and different from the competition. This type of agency will assist in creating the emotional connections with your customers that lead to long-term success.

There are several different reasons why you may want to consider hiring a branding agency. If you do not have the expertise or resources available internally to create or rebrand your company, it would be of great benefit to consider hiring an outside branding agency. Below are the top services that you can find at a branding agency.

Brand Culture

A branding agency provides help in creating mission and vision statements, core values, and internal company leadership and culture. These are the core building blocks of any business that should be permeated throughout the entire company. A branding agency has experts and authorities with years of experience in creating a successful brand culture that can be communicated out to your current and potential consumers.

Brand Design

This is what people usually think of when they hear the word “branding.”  A branding agency offers services to create the visual identity of your brand. Brand design includes logos, color schemes, brand personality, and brand guidelines to name a few.

Brand Experience

The brand experience incorporates every touch point that consumers will have with your brand and offerings. This includes website and mobile, brick and mortar location, packaging, photography, and video. A branding agency offers services to create a comprehensive approach across all consumer touch points for a cohesive brand experience.

Brand Strategy

One of the core and most important services that a branding agency offers is creating complete branding strategies for companies. This covers the research and insights into the company, competition, and industry. An agency will be able to effectively position your brand and create your brand story and message that you should be communicating to your current and potential consumers.

Why Would You Hire A Branding Agency?

There are typically three main reasons for why you would hire a branding agency.

Launching a New Brand

Startup companies may want to hire a branding agency to assist in developing and designing the branding strategy from the very start. This is a critical first step in establishing a successful business, and hiring an outside agency is one way to ensure that it is done properly by experts. A branding agency will help create a comprehensive strategy that will determine your core visions and values in a way that you can communicate effectively with your target customer segment.

Rebranding an Existing Brand

There are certain times when a company might need to refresh and reposition their brand to evolve and grow. This may be either strategically motivated or just aesthetically. A rebranding may be necessary due to a crisis in the business, new ownership through acquisition, or the branding has become outdated. It is always important for your company to continue to grow with your consumers, and as the generations change it may be necessary to refresh the brand strategy.

Brand Expansions

A company may hire a branding agency when launching new products or services, or when a new business is added to a corporate portfolio.  An agency has experts that can create a branding strategy for the new addition while remaining loyal to the core brand attributes and values.

What Is A Marketing Agency?

A marketing agency has the resources and experts that can help you develop a communication strategy that will drive more traffic, engagement, and leads for your company. There are countless kinds of marketing agencies available ranging from full-service to specialized agencies.

Full-Service

A full-service, or integrated, marketing agency offers comprehensive services and departments that spread across the entire marketing and communication process. This covers all aspects of the strategic planning to the production across both traditional and interactive digital approaches.

Specialized

Specialized marketing agencies have a main focus instead of a complete service offering. For example, there are agencies are solely advertising, digital, public relations and outreach, or social media oriented.

Why Would You Hire A Marketing Agency?

There are numerous reasons for why a business would consider hiring a marketing agency.

Lack of Expertise

With the advancement of technology marketing has become an incredibly strategic process, both through the traditional and digital space. If you do not have the expertise or employee knowledge of how to successfully do market research, develop a strategy, produce the creative content, and ultimately go to production on all marketing channels for your business, it is best to seek outside help from a marketing agency.

You Need Results Fast

Your marketing agency will often be much more results-driven than

Lack of Internal Resources

Even if your company has an established marketing department staffed with employees, you may not have all of the internal resources needed to run strategic, marketing campaigns. There are several software programs and resource requirements to produce and optimize content on all channels based on analytics and data.

Related: How to Balance SEO and Branding

Sometimes it is more time-effective to hire an outside agency to pick up specific channels, such as managing social media accounts, or to handle the full day-to-day tasks associated with marketing. If your company has an internal competitive advantage in a different department than marketing, it may be best to use your internal resources on those and leave the marketing tasks to a professional.

CostEffective Solution

Depending on the company situation, hiring a marketing agency with a talented team of experts is usually cheaper than hiring internal staff members to deliver the same type of results.

As you can see, hiring a branding or a marketing agency is two very different tasks depending on your company’s goal. While the services and goals are different, there are similarities in hiring an outside agency. If you do not have the necessary resources or expertise, in either branding or marketing, it is a smart idea to consult with an agency to ensure you have a well-researched and executed strategic plan. Working with an agency, for either branding or marketing, is an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Whether you are looking into hiring a branding or a marketing agency, it is important that you take the time to select the right agency that understands your company. You are building a strategic partnership and relationship with the agency you choose, and you need to feel confident that they truly understand your pain points, competitive advantages, and what your company stands for. If you take the time to pick the agency that will become a successful extension of your company team, you will have success in your branding or marketing goals.

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Grayson is one of the Co-founders at Power Digital and the CEO. He is born and raised in San Diego and has a wealth of knowledge in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Team Building and Business.