What’s one important thing to watch out for — or seek out — in an agency when you are looking to rebrand?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Find Out If They Understand Your Product or Service Category
It’s important to work with agencies that have a track record in your industry or in reaching your desired customer base. That experience will suggest that they know how to better communicate your brand story or message to the right audience. Each product or industry category comes with its own nuances that only somebody with experience in the industry will know to look out for. – Andy Karuza, FenSens
2. Check for Diversity in Their team
Most digital creative agencies seem to suffer from the same disease: Homogeny. It’s impossible to expect extremely original ideas in an echo chamber. If I want an idea that I wouldn’t come up with, I won’t ask those who look and think like me. I want a mixed team of different age groups who understand the thinking of various demographics. They’ll definitely come up with original ideas. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja
3. Study Their Recent Blog Posts
Does the agency practice what they preach? Is their own content branded and consistent? Does it match their homepage and social platforms, or are they just veneers? Are they still pushing the strategies they wrote about years ago, or are they constantly uncovering new data and thought leadership? – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs
4. Check the Strength of Their Own Branding Message
If you look at their website or their social media and you don’t immediately pick up on their brand and the message they’re trying to put out into the world, then you shouldn’t hire them — simple as that. Make sure their branding is unique, something interesting that draws you in. If they can’t do it for themselves, they can’t do it for you. – Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch
5. Research Their Body of Work
Good or bad, you want to know what the agency’s body of work looks like. Having a firm understanding of their successes and failures (and what caused each) will illustrate if they would potentially be a good fit in aiding you in rebranding. It would also be beneficial to know if they have worked with any brands like yours and if so, what their success rate was. – Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co
6. Pay Attention to What Questions They Ask
When you meet with an agency, listen for how much research they did into your customer and your marketplace. Do they ask questions or start talking ideas? Listen for in-depth questions to make sure they are looking to data-driven decisions instead of creative-driven ones. After all, no one rebrands just for fun; it is done to better connect with and support the unique needs of your customers. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)
7. Make Sure There’s a Solid Time Frame
You should always ask the companies you’re looking into what their average time frame is to complete a rebrand, and how often they stick to the timeline they give their clients. I’ve seen time and time again that clients are waiting months and months for their rebrand to go live because of delays from the design team. Find a company that has a solid reputation for completing projects on time. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
8. Seek Someone Who Will Challenge You
The ideal agency-client relationship will be built on a foundation of love, friendship and respect, but the most fruitful collaborations will always involve some conflict and tension. If the agency agrees with everything you say, how can they help you push the brand to that higher plane of greatness? – John Scheer, Herman-Scheer
9. Require a Positive Attitude
It seems simple enough, but working with a negative team can drain you and draw out the rebranding process. You’ll probably get worse results, too. Look for a team that’s enthusiastic about helping you make your rebrand a runaway success. – Erik Bullen, MageMail
10. Watch to See If They Listen
I’ve had agencies come to me brimming with ideas and concepts, but without the slightest idea of who our customers are. Their ideas were all theory and had no relation to the people we wanted to connect with. The best agencies listen, research and build empathy before setting a course. They may challenge you, but from a position of knowledge and understanding, not empty theory. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
11. Do They Understand Your Vision?
Find an agency that understands your vision. Agencies may try to tell you what direction you need to be moving in; however, no one knows your brand better than you. When trying to come up with creative and unique ideas, it is very easy for agencies to lose focus of what your overall mission is. Work closely with your agency to ensure their creativity is constantly pointed in the right direction. – Duran Inci, Optimum7