March 7, 2024

Hiring an agency for brand work shouldn’t be a quick and easy process. It’s a significant investment of time and money for returns that aren’t immediately visible. Since branding is a long game that will matter beyond the budget, how should your company evaluate who to partner with and hire?

To start, define your objectives and what you hope to achieve with the agency. Whether you’re building and shaping customer perceptions, repositioning due to new market conditions, or aligning your brand with a change in business objectives, a clear understanding of your goals will influence your selection.

Understand the relationship you are looking for. Do you want a partner or an executor? How much do you want to be involved in the brand process? Do you believe in quickly completed work or time with an agency that can fully grasp who you are and where you want to go? Do you value cultural fit for a successful relationship?

Research brand agencies. Most creative agencies have beautiful portfolios and a process. Spend time reviewing how they do their work. Does the agency use a one-design-fits-all solution or work individualized to the client and their goals? Does their brand process resonate with you? Do you align with the agency’s method for accomplishing work? Does the design work include a strategy that explains creative decisions?

Interview your shortlist. In the interview, do provide context but let the agency ask questions. The more curious they are, the more thorough they will be in their research. Through a case study, determine how their process can solve your problem. Does their process adapt for service-based versus product-based clients? Does their creative output match the strategy and the overall goals? Workflow-wise, is there a flow to communication and a commitment to timelines?

Gather feedback. For validation, reach out to clients that have used the agency. Ask for insights into the process, relationship, performance, responsiveness, and desired outcomes.

Assess the vibe. If you choose your agency wisely, the partnership will last longer than a few weeks. Your instincts play the ultimate role, so tune into your gut for the final decision. Find an agency you vibe with and get to know the team. Both parties should like one another and have mutual respect.

Before you start hiring, make sure you check off all the boxes.