What does it mean to brand or do branding?
What are branding agencies and their work scopes?
Read on for an introduction to branding.
What is Branding
A simple dictionary definition of branding does not reveal much: ‘a distinctive design and text used to identify a specific company.’ Not to worry, the only one you need to remember is how it benefits your enterprise.
Branding is an entirely bespoke service from a branding agency to another enterprise. It ensures that your company receives a cohesive set of strategies and visuals that will either kickstart or realign and upgrade how people perceive your company. Whether a consumer understands your company as empowering or luxurious or trendy or whatever other adjectives, it all comes down to the extensive research and creative decisions made in a branding exercise or project.
How Much Goes into Branding
Here’s an analogy to help you understand how consulting with a brand agency benefits you and your company. Are you able to bring to mind McDonald’s logo right now? How about YouTube’s tagline?
You may be able to elicit the letter ‘M’ coloured in yellow and the phrase “Broadcast Yourself.” Knowing these would be sufficient. But for a brand designer, the cognitive process moves beyond general description. Questions such as “what is the tone of yellow used in McDonald’s golden arches” and “what is the font type of YouTube” would surface in a designer’s working process of observation and critique. It would be a grave mistake to use a muddy yellow, likewise to use a funky, impossible to read font.
Branding ensures that your product and company get designed, packaged, and advertised as they should be to attract the intended audience, traction, and revenue. Accordingly, brand designers do the work of developing specific brand guidelines to achieve this desired end goal.
What Does a Branding Agency Do
When new and existing business founders approach us for a branding exercise, they usually have an idea of what they want; a mental image of their dream branding. Our job as brand consultants is to refine and actualise that vision to achieve the best results.
Depending on the client we’re working with, a branding project will be 1 of these three kinds:
- Branding for a new business or start-up,
- Brand Refresh, or
We slot every branding project we receive into a specific kind because each involves a nuanced set of work deliverables and priorities. A new company with no prior branding guidelines will require a branding exercise that involves extensive research, compared to an established company with an existing brand identity that only needs minor refinements.
With that said, it is okay to be unsure of how much branding work your company needs. Advising you on the steps needed to improve your brand is part of a brand designer’s responsibilities. If you wish to find out more, we recommend first looking at the flowchart below. But having a one-on-one consultation with a branding agency is always preferable. Many companies offer a free consultation, where you are free to ask relevant questions.
We go into more detail explaining the differences in this article.
If you’re a Singaporean enterprise, consulting a branding agency in Singapore to assist in your company’s branding is preferred because we understand the socio-cultural climate of the city. Additionally, if you’re a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owner looking to engage a brand consultant but lacking in funds, check out the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) as your project may be eligible for up to 80% government funding.
Doing Branding the STUDIO DAM Way
STUDIO DAM is a multi-disciplinary branding consultancy based in Singapore. With a background in design and years of first-hand experience in starting businesses, Debby and Matthijs contain a zeal for working collaborations and fellowships with other SME founders. The team passionately accepts projects with unfamiliar or new challenges to maintain the spirit of education that combines design thinking with business sense.
What’s Our Strategy?
“We believe in combining two approaches with every project that comes, which is to physically create, and digitally innovate.”
– Debby Yu, co-founder of STUDIO DAM
Being wowed by the photos of a product online and purchasing it only to find out it is of subpar quality is an experience you’ve probably had. There may have also been situations where you’ve said, “I would have bought this [product] if only it did/didn’t…”
To STUDIO DAM, either scenario counts as a failed branding project and a lesson to learn; when the marketing strategy and visuals do not align with the user experience and product. Our way of preventing such a mistake is to create physical mock-ups of our designs. We ensure that a concept or idea looks, feels, and works as good in real life as it does on a digital screen.
“Every successful branding project will not evoke questions and doubts: it will simply come together like kismet. Consumers will think it effortless, and only designers understand the amount of work that it took.”
– Matthijs Rikken, co-founder of STUDIO DAM
The STUDIO DAM team can craft a successful branding strategy and vision for our clients because we work closely with fellow business founders on our branding projects. We view the process of one-on-one collaboration as insightful and necessary to gain a deep understanding of their thoughts, goals, and personality, all of which contribute to the branding exercise. At the same time, since every branding exercise has the end goal of increasing a company’s value (be it consumers, traction, or revenue), we remain objective, steering our clients toward the right set of decisions and expectations.
The Importance of Branding
You might wonder: “Why can’t I do branding by myself?” Of course, you can. Many entrepreneurs do craft and execute branding strategies personally. With many free online resources to simplify the branding process, doing it solo is not an impossible task.
Yet, many companies continually engage brand consultancies for a list of reasons:
- A company (especially a start-up) might not have the spare time, people, and resources for a branding exercise.
- A company might not possess an internal design (and marketing) department.
- A company needs a fresh perspective from a third party, having exhausted its pool of ideas and strategies.
- Hiring a branding expert is usually more beneficial compared to relying on a freelance or in-house designer.
Companies understand the importance of branding and engaging brand consultancies. They do not subscribe to the common misconception that all brand designers do is create beautiful designs.
It’s not all about aesthetics. At least, it is not the single and foremost priority.
While designing is a significant aspect, it is not the sole component. In actuality, extensive research and detailed strategies get mapped before the designer reaches the drawing board. Branding agencies commonly break down and explain their processes to clients via branding strategies.
Branding is essential for this reason: to create a solid foundation and plan that will successfully see your business through the next few years of activity. If there are errors or steps missed, there’s an increased risk of failure. And while one can start over from failure, doing it once and well is always the preferable scenario.
Below are examples of completed STUDIO DAM branding projects with various brands.
Ready to revamp your brand?
All it takes is a single conversation to get the ball rolling.
Arrange a free no-obligation consultation to discuss your brand with us today!