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No answers without questions.
Outsourcing is easy. It is supposed to be easy, right? Otherwise, why would you spend on getting it done from others instead of doing it yourself, right?
You don't outsource it for the purpose of division of labor. You hire a branding studio for they are professionals, holding expertise at the process of branding.
Because of this approach and the existence of 360º branding and marketing agencies, people delegate and forget it like a task given to interns.
Slangbusters is against that. We want to involve you in the process of branding your own idea- precisely why we took a dejargonized approach and want to bust jargons. Clear communication will not only smoothen the process but also help reflect you in the implementation of your idea.
One way to deflect generic is through asking questions. It is a common industry practice to use heavy jargons taught at B-schools, meant only for internal professional communication.
As a client, if you do not understand what your branding studio is communicating with you, effective communication with your customers is doubtful. Hence, ask questions. One who asks might be a fool for one day; one who doesn't, remains a fool forever.
And this isn't even school.
We live in a world where you can't predict talent based on qualifications or even professional history. Self-taught professionals are usually better at what they do. So your first step towards selecting a branding studio would be going through their website. Glance through their LinkedIn and other social media channels as they usually give you a better overview of the type of work the studio indulges itself in.
If your three minds seem convinced, go ahead and ask these questions before finalizing your branding expert.
There are three types of questions which will help you determine your perfect match.
• Personal questions (avoid jumping to conclusions)
• Strategic and creative questions
• Questions regarding deadlines and deliverables
As much as these three categories overlap, here is how you can have an impeccable branding experience.
Before your imaginary horses go haywire, these set of questions regard you and the branding studio. This phase sets a base layer to the professional relationship you are going to build upon. The branding studio will leave no stones unturned to know you and your idea after shaking the hand. It is advisable for you to do it before finalizing to see if something… clicked.
Do I need branding?
I have a business or just an idea that I want to be implemented, I want to make a dent on the way society functions through my provision, I want to evoke an emotion and connect with my customers beyond the monetary relationship.
If any of the above sentences describe you, you are looking for a good branding service. Also, you landed here on this page. Says a lot.
What was the branding process when you branded your own studio?
The most important part of a branding studio's portfolio is its own brand because that is usually not only their first project but presumably their most passionate one too. If they put even 50% of what they put into their own brand, it is a definite hit.
In case you were wondering, Slangbusters branded themselves this way.
Why do you want to work with my brand?
If they take each and every project that comes their way, they do not value your project more than an earning opportunity. You must work with a group that not only believes and understands your idea enough to actually create a brand out of it.
As far as judging this aspect is concerned, trust your gut.
Is my idea good enough?
No. You don't ask that question. Because if you do, you don't trust your idea enough to pursue it. In an ideal scenario, upon sensing such uncertainty, they should ask you to reconsider, think over and develop your idea until you are confident enough in it. Because a branding studio will brand anything provided it has a clear vision. And if your vision is blurry, your branding studio can also help clarify that with you.
What is branding to you?
Not kidding, branding has evolved and spread up to an extent where every individual out there, leave alone a brand strategist has something to say about branding, their own definition, and a way how to describe a brand.
Upon asking your branding studio, when you have a description that clicks to you, it is a big bonus while comparing it to other agencies you are considering.
How will your branding approach help us?
There are multiple branding studios, agencies, and consultancies that function around the globe. If you are not considering their brand provision, you might as well go for the first one you find on Quora.
Each branding studio would have branded themselves to claim (and ideally adhering) to be providing something that other branding service providers wouldn't.
Slangbusters aim to create timeless brands through clear communication because jargons are those parasites that plague genuine and meaningful interaction, hindering a smooth and inclusive branding process.
Do you give free consultation before we put it on paper?
Most ice cream stores provide a free spoonful of the taste of their flavors before you pick one. This is a sign of confidence in your product and helps the client make an informed decision before they invest in the whole scoop.
Can you provide us with references to your past clients?
A perfect analogy would be talking to other parents before you select a school for your kids. Only here, your idea is your baby. Often, schools provide references to other parents. Ideally, branding studios must do the same on request. You could also head on to their portfolio page to find the brands and contact them on a usually publicly available email address.
How much am I looking at spending on the whole process?
Although there is a reason companies send annual reports to you via post or a channel of personal communication instead of posting their annual income on the internet.
Contact us for a personalized quotation.
Strategic and creative questions
These set of questions will give you an insight into the process of that branding studio so that you can choose better according to your need and industry.
What is your branding process?
Every creative agency has devised its own process of branding which is tweaked according to the industry needs. The process should have an ideal amount of research involved, be it market research, or customer persona. No brand is made without insightful research of the industry and other aspects before the brand launch.
Which are the profiles that will be working on my project?
It is important to know the people and their profiles that will shape your future brand. The more specialized work divided amongst a collective of specialized professionals will add a hint of perfection which a team of allrounders doing everything can't.
What is your work methodology?
Be it agile, kanban or scrum. Asking about methodologies adds credibility to the professional approach of the branding studio.
How will you differentiate my brand from my competitor?
If a brand strategist is able to explain to you their plan of action with your brand, it gives more assurance towards the ambition that both parties share towards your brand.
What after launch?
A good branding agency always has your back in case of any grievances. Otherwise, following the brand book to the T ensures effective and timeless brand building.
Do you brand like, anything?
Just don't come to us for baby names.
We do not provide that service. Yet.
Is it advisable to collaborate with a branding studio overseas?
It is the 21st century. More than half of the world functions on the device you are reading this on. So, do not compromise the quality of your brand for a local studio over the branding studio you liked in India.
Questions regarding deadlines and deliverables
What results are expected for my budget?
A dilemma that troubles every business and client communication, especially when dealing with a service-based provision. Deliverables can't be measured based on budget. Although, the brand delivered to you must be created with the highest quality possible, given the price determined when the contract was signed is adhered to.
But for an MSME, you should consult a branding studio that has its expertise in MSME branding.
How much time do you take for the whole process?
Usually, the studio gives you a stipulated amount of time to launch. Let's call it the due date. But usually, there is no guarantee of this date. The brand might be delivered earlier or slightly later. It is advisable to take regular updates on the development of the project to constantly give feedback and also be a part of the process of branding your own idea.
What are my key takeaways from the branding process?
In a literal and obvious sense, a brand. But in a more detailed sense, the tangibles include a brand book, touchpoints, ephemera, a website, business cards, etc., and intangibles include the identity, brand name, design language, and a whole lot of research insight among many other elements.
Slangbusters bonus includes engagement and a lifelong professional relationship with a bunch of cool, like-minded people who worked on creating your brand.
What do you need from us before you start the branding process?
Ok for reals,
Oh, and we wouldn't mind a box of chocolates or a local treat from our city after the brand launch.
Will you press the red button?
Why is this not on your FAQ page?
Apart from all these questions, while assessing the service provider, you also have to keep an eye for red flags.
Are they reluctant to provide references?
Why must that be?
Is their portfolio weak?
Or are they lying about their work?
Do they speak negatively about their past clientele?
Because they might do the same while talking about you- to their next client.
Does your gut or heart give a negative feeling about them to you?
Do they have zero or too less of questions for you?
These questions might seem paranoid to you, but when you are investing in something that will be determining your identity for the future, you do not want to end up spending a whole lot and getting a generic logo and a questionable website for a brand.
— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio