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How to decide when to hire an agency to help you build your brand

You know that a rebrand will make your job easier. Because once you clarify the brand stories and visuals that most powerfully express who you are, your marketing efforts become more cohesive.

But branding projects are complex. With so many factors to keep in mind (like budget, internal skillsets, project needs, ability to find the right agency fit, and timeline) thinking through the best approach can be overwhelming.

A good place to start is by planning how to most effectively put your resources to use. If you’re deciding between doing your branding work in-house, hiring an agency, or taking a blended approach—check out the five benefits of each.

To make your decision-making process easier, we’re honing in on three key factors: timeline, budget, and length of assignment.


How much time do you have to finish your branding project?

If you need to get to market fast, you’ll want to consider whether your internal team has the space to move at your pace. Short-term deadlines can easily get in the way of long-term branding goals unless you have resources clearly set aside. You’ll need to build a working team and define roles. And you’ll need to develop a schedule to complete deliverables that also takes into account other job responsibilities.

Another element to keep in mind when you’re moving quickly is your team’s skill sets. Will it take them extra time to get up to speed on best practices of brand strategy or story writing? Do they have brand research skills or facilitation expertise? Building all the skills it takes to complete a branding project in-house may take more time, and you’ll expect mistakes along the learning curve. However, it might also be a great investment in learning and growth for the future.

Bringing in an agency partner can be a great investment if speed to market is a key issue. Think of your agency as a temporary expansion of your team. An agency that works specifically in your vertical will be able to work quickly to understand your unique challenges within the market. They’ll have a dedicated project team with a project manager whose main goal it is to keep the project moving forward. The right agency fit for you will have deep expertise in all the skills it takes to complete your project. And hopefully their outside perspective will bring fresh ideas to your brand.


Is keeping costs low your main concern?

If you need to keep costs down, leveraging your internal resources could be best for your budget—if you feel confident in your team’s capacity to take on the work. In this case, your internal investment will be twofold: filling any gaps in skills needed to do the branding work you’re looking for, and a time investment to complete the project (hopefully with a timeline that doesn’t add unnecessary stress).

If your team already has most of the skills your project requires and the brain space to get it done, you might consider hiring one or more freelancers to fill in the gaps. Or making a permanent hire might be the best use of your resources—if it makes sense for both the short-term needs of your project and for the long-term success of your team.

Think about bringing in an agency when the additional cost is cheaper than the amount of time for your internal team to build the skills and complete the project effectively themselves. For example, if you have a small internal creative team, an agency can expand your capabilities to help you complete the project quicker and more effectively. You get access to part-time experts who you might not be in a position or need to hire full-time. Though it might be a larger short-term expense, the time you save may be worth it. Because the faster you achieve clarity around your brand, the faster your team can execute on your marketing goals.

Length of assignment

Do you need to scale the work quickly up and down?

Sometimes you have a campaign on a tight turnaround or a certain time of year where you get swamped. During these moments, it can make sense to bring in an agency to supplement your work. For example, if you’re preparing for a big industry event, your agency partner can dedicate a team to help with everything from messaging strategy to trade show booth design and production. Or if you’re working toward a new product launch, an agency could help develop creative campaign concepts, produce a video, and design sales materials. You can work together to make a big push, and once the project is complete, you can scale the work back down.

I hope this post helps you think through how you can most effectively leverage your resources for your branding project—so you can reap the benefits of brand clarity. If you’re interested in more articles like this, subscribe below to receive our insights in your inbox.

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