How to Create a Brand Strategy You Love

How to Master Brand Strategy

In a tech-savvy world, where we make many of our choices based on convenience and social media, businesses have to reflect on and change their methods of marketing and branding.

Trends change…. a company’s branding methods should keep up with the times, as the brand itself endures.

In order to be successful businesses have to be “THE diamond in a pile of pebbles”. So what exactly will make a business stand out amongst its competitors?

Identifying, creating, and developing a mindful brand strategy.

History 101: Branding

Brand strategy, what is it?? Back in the ’50s and ’60s when branding became more mainstream, companies like Tide and Lipton Tea created unforgettable logos that paralleled with a quality product.

During this era quality meant everything. Most companies did not need to have a marketing department to set their business apart from others. They simply needed a unique product, catchy logo, and the quality or addictiveness that would keep customers coming back for more.

It was in the early 1990s that companies realized that if they had a quality product they could maximize their growth by improving their marketing plan.

Fast forward to the present day, a well-known logo simply isn’t enough. According to Forbes, “Branding isn’t about your logo; it is about your message.” A-men!

There are many quality products on the market, each with competitors that are equally as great. Branding is much, much more than just a great logo, slogan, and marketing.

What is a Branding Strategy?

In a world where you have choices; Uber vs. Lyft, Chipotle vs. Qdoba, how do these businesses grab your attention away from those evil competitors? Well, maybe not evil, but you get the idea.

Assuming you have a viable business and product, a successful brand strategy is almost always the difference.

A branding strategy includes determining what kind of product or service you want to market, what kind of goals you envision, and how you will implement a long-term plan to achieve those goals.

Building a branding strategy is essential in the early part of growing your business. If you are stumped on what to think about when building your brand, here is your roadmap to success.

Building a Brand Strategy in 12 Steps

1. Choose an idea, product, or service that you will create into your business.

When developing this idea, ask yourself these three key questions:

  1. Is it something that excites you?
  2. Does it stand out?
  3. Is there a need or desire for this idea?

Can you shout from the mountain tops how great your idea is? You need to be able to believe in your business and the benefits it can provide your targeted audience. Brands that have internal ownership and consumer buy-in will be more successful over time.

2. Choose a name.

This may or may not be an easy task. First, check the availability of your potential names. Is there a product or company that already has it? Think about what you want the name to portray. Keep it simple, avoid unusual spellings, relate the name back to what your company does. You want the consumer to know a little bit about what to expect from your company based off of the name. Avoid unusual spellings or names that will confuse the customer into thinking your company has something else to offer.

3. Think about how you want your company to stand out? How will you make your brand different than your competitors?

This is brand positioning. Positioning your brand can be done by highlighting the product attributes, product benefits, or the company’s beliefs and values. If we use the example of two competing laptop companies Mac vs. Dell.

Product attributes are simply the specifics about each of these products. Perhaps Apple is marketing the thin, sleek look of their Macbook Pro. This is the attributes of the product.

Product benefits are how the product will help the customer. Apple might market that their thin, sleek laptops will benefit the customer by making them more lightweight and easier to carry. While Dell might market that their products are high quality, cheaper in price, and will benefit the customer by saving them money.

Beliefs and Values engage the customer’s feelings. How they perceive a product and how they may be perceived if they are using it.

4. Develop a positioning statement.

Your brand positioning statement should be three to five sentences that really reflect what your brand is telling about your company and its products.

For example, Aveeno’s brand statement is as follows:

“To women who believe nature has the power to enhance health and make life beautiful. We are the brand of skin and hair transformation. That provides naturally healthy hair and skin. So that you feel naturally beautiful. We have/are/do Active Naturals which are selected from nature to deliver safe and effective skin/hair benefits. Proven by scientific testing. Recommended by professionals.”

They identify their target audience as being individuals looking for a natural option for hair and skin. Their statement remains clear, concise, and consistent with their vision. They also portray that their customers should entrust them because professionals back them.

5. What are your objectives? Who do you want to target with your brand?

Choosing a target audience is important when determining what your brand strategy will be. It will help to focus the direction your brand strategy will go.

6. Research. Study your customers.

You will have to really get to know your target audience…really, really well. Making business choices based on your audience is important in being successful. Make decisions that target their interests… target their income…. age. Jobs. What makes them feel alive.

7. Define your market. Who are your competitors?

Determine what makes you different than the others. What makes your brand stand out? Think about what your product is and why it is something that your target audience should want to buy. Find your niche within the industry that your product or service aligns with.

8. Identify what you envision for the future of your brand.

Think about the potential changes that may occur within your industry. Try to use your fortune-teller abilities and think 5-10 years down the road. Can your brand evolve within the industry and to remain unique from your competitors?

9. Identifying keywords within your website and online content can make your company more visible.

Keywords are considered the building blocks of your brand (online and offline), and they can help define your target audience to identify what your specific brand has to offer. 

10. Market your brand.

How are your going to market your product? Increase your visibility and reputation. For example, are there social media sites that align with your marketing strategy? With so many marketing options today it is important to make sure that everything remains consistent, clear, and portray your branding strategy appropriately.

11. Create a website that supplements your marketing strategy.

Choose a website name that is the same or very similar to the name of your brand or logo. Research the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and how the internet can help boost your business. Create your website based on the values and beliefs of your marketing strategy. Make it visually appealing to your targeted audience.

Consider a color system when choosing a website or any other visual marketing tools. A color system is a brand’s master color guide. For example, consumers relate all varieties of green to relate to earth, recycled, or environmentally friendly.

The strategic selection of color, tones, and hues can evoke emotion towards your brand, therefore, it needs to remain consistent throughout.

12. Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Is your company where you want it to be? If not create a timeline with company-specific goals. Strong brands don’t happen by accident. They require focus, coordinated effort, and consistent resources over time.

If you are not reaching your identified goals it may be time to reposition your marketing strategies and position statement.

When Is It Time To Reposition Your Brand?

  1. Your brand no longer fits the category of product you are trying to promote
  2. Your key audience has shifted and you are not targeting your targeted group of people
  3. The market is defining you differently then you envisioned
  4. Your business is no longer aligned with your brand strategy
  5. Your messaging is inconsistent and your company is not reaping the benefits it should be
  6. Growth within your company has stopped
  7. You are being out-branded, out-marketed, or out-sold
  8. Your competitors are winning

Brand Boosters vs. Brand Killers

Booster: One of the key areas of importance that has been identified with successful brand strategy creation is to really decide on your target audience and get to know them.

Killer: A mistake that businesses make with their branding strategy is to attempt to target all audiences. If you direct your money and time towards the general population much of your efforts might be lost.

For example, if a real estate agent decides to create high-quality expensive flyers it is in his best interest to hand these out in a targeted area that may have a lot of homeowners moving. If he doesn’t do his research and choose a targeted consumer majority of his flyers will be thrown into the garbage resulting in lost money and time.

Booster: Creating visibility for your brand.

Killer: Relying on the idea that “our work speaks for itself”. You should not leave it up to the consumers to promote your brand and make your company visible. Quality doesn’t always translate into a strong brand because it lacks visibility.

Booster: Creating a unique brand within your industry that really promotes your niche.

Killer: Developing a branding strategy to fit in with your competitors. Accepting that your brand looks like everyone else’s will not make you stand out. Really highlighting your differences and spinning your brand around those differences and towards your targeted audience will.

Booster: Really ensuring that your brand revolves around something that you believe in or enjoy. If you believe in it and back the business you will likely be able to focus on how to create an authentic brand to show your audience that they should love it too.

Killer: At the risk of stating the obvious. Don’t phone it in. More than ever people know when someone is full of shit or not. There are so many choices at our finger tips. Be you and do it mindfully and intentionally.

 

Key Words to Consider when Creating your Branding Strategy

Brand Ambassador – This is the person or persons recognized to be the face or spokesperson of the brand. This can be the CEO, a loyal customer, employee.. anyone who really believes in the brand. At Marcus Theaters the CEO and former CEO (father/son duo) are well known in branding their own company.

When you are sitting in the theater right before the show starts the current CEO (the Marcus son) gets on the screen and thanks everyone for choosing Marcus Theaters. Then an older man pops up right next to him and includes a sentence about how with Marcus Theaters the sequel is better than the first. Meaning his son has created a better business then he was able to. When you think of Marcus Theaters it is easy to recall the two of them there sitting on the screen. They utilize the fact that it’s a family-owned business to target their audience on values and beliefs.

Brand Attributes – This is how you will better describe how your business or company is unique. It sets the tone-of-voice for all communications/marketing regarding your brand. Is your brand cost effective? Functional? Innovative? Indispensable? These attributes need to be your cornerstones when making decisions for your brand.

Brand Identity- This is the outward expression of a brand within a market. It should be consistent amongst all elements including brand, logo, taglines, tone, and typography.

Brand Positioning – The distinctive space that a brand occupies in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals can recognize and select the brand over others. Brand positioning involves the careful manipulation of all marketing elements in order to claim the brand’s desired market position and clearly establish its unique impression in the customer’s mind.

Brand Management – This is an important piece in your brand strategy. Evaluating the execution of your brand identity. Is your brand identity consistent? It has to remain consistent over time. This means on social media, in blog posts, with customer experiences. All of this has to remain cohesive in order for your brand to continuously be portrayed the way you envisioned. In order to do this someone has to manage and evaluate all of these areas continuously over time.

Key Benefits of a Great Branding Strategy

Get Recognized – Businesses that have a better reputation coupled with a high level of visibility to their target audience have a strong brand. People outside of your target audience may even recognize your brand. A strong brand equal strong consumer game.

The Halo Effect – People tend to view performance as all good or all bad. For example, if a man owned a Dodge truck that broke down prematurely he will likely say something along the lines of “I’m not buying another Dodge vehicle they are made poorly.” Likewise, other people “only” purchase cars from a specific brand that they feel are good quality cars. Honda, for example, is thought to make cars that last well over 100,000 miles. When a business develops a great quality product consumers feel like their other products are just as good.

Employee Satisfaction – Employees enjoy and feel satisfied when working for a reputable, well-known company. A company that develops a strong branding strategy will attract employees that align their beliefs and values with that of the business. Coupled with increased employee satisfaction you will likely have a decreased turnover rate.

What Is A Branding Agency?

So you have come up with a really great business idea. You are so excited, you love your idea, and you believe others will too! … but there is one problem. You don’t have the background or knowledge necessary to successfully create a brand that will portray your idea the way you want it to. Where can you find the help you need to tell the world about your exciting new business adventures?

Or perhaps after reading this blog post, you are still unsure as to how you are going to create your best brand and brand strategy….

Consider using a branding agency. A Branding Agency specializes in the strategic brand building and management of that brand. This is separate from a marketing agency. Marketing is considered just a piece of your brand. It should be consistent and reflect your brand, however, as discussed a brand is much much more.

Branding agencies focus on brand positioning to identify the uniqueness of your business idea, identify and create a target audience, and position your brand effectively amongst competitors within your market. They also focus on identifying with the mind of the consumer rather than focusing on communicating with the customer.

Brand Strategy Summarized

Recapping the important ideas from this article. Brand selection, brand positioning, and brand strategies are all essential pieces to a powerful, well-known business. It will set you apart from others within a saturated market. Make sure that you research your market and target audience. By researching and reading about the importance of brand selection, brand positioning, and creating a brand strategy you may have the key to a successful brand right in the palm of your hands.

Your guides to creating your version of success through intentional business and mindful branding.

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How to Perform Your Own Brand Audit?

As you need a regular health checkup to keep yourself fit and fine, the same way your brand too needs regular audits just to ensure that it is working well. As you would get supplements in case of health issues, the same way you should be able to come with solutions for the weaknesses found after your brand audit.

Hence, the audit is nothing but a routine checkup of your brand for its good health and betterment. Brand audit should majorly cover the areas;

  • Internal: Audits about the values, culture, and mission of the business (internal).
  • External: Audit of the factors that work externally for the business development like email marketing, online advertising, social media activities, public relations, etc.
  • Customer satisfaction: This deals with the audit of the departments that directly deal with the customers like – sales department, customer support services, etc.

Once you are done with a checkup (audit), and in case you find any problem area, then you may take the required actions to eradicate the problem.

Brand auditing is not that simple as it seems to be. You need to follow many steps religiously in order to complete a well-designed audit for your brand. If in case you are a little tight with your budget and do not want to hire a professional auditor, you may then follow the below-detailed steps to carry on a better brand audit by yourself;

  • Gain knowledge: It’s very important for you to first check your marketing plan and then identify your vision, mission, and positioning of the brand. You should be aware of who the targeted customers are, and what services does your brand provide them?
  • Check your external marketing tools: Compare your logo’s, brochures, letterheads, business cards, etc with the soft copies available on your website. Have a thorough check if all the materials are identical. You need to also check on how your materials effectively target your audience.
  • Business website: Audit if your website is gaining the attention of your targeted customers. Is there is effective trafficking in your website and relevantly from the customers of your target area. Check on how user-friendly do customers find your website. The rise or fall of the conversion rate, and so on.
  • Social media review: Social media are on a real hike these days, get a regular check on your social media marketing. Check on what people have to talk about your brand? Negative reviews would be your areas of improvement.
  • Customer surveys: Never let your customers forget about you, even if they want to. Keep in regular touch with them and conduct surveys to check on their opinion about your services. You may choose any method of surveys like – email surveys, phone surveys, social media polls, and so on.
  • Target audiences who are not customers yet: Again, you may go on for a survey to those people whom you want to be your customers. You may ask them to participate in the survey that would ask some probing questions about your brand, like – Have you heard about our brand? Have you ever used our brand? etc. This would act as publishing for your brand.
  • Employee survey: Employees are the most valuable assets for your business. They are the one who directly deals with the customers to promote your brand.

Hence, it’s necessary that they themselves are educated about what work they are handling. You may conduct some surprise surveys to just check on how much they know about your brand.

Questions like – what is the brand’s vision? How does the brand solve customer problems, what change would you suggest to improve the brand further, etc?

  • Competitor brand evaluation: Evaluate your nearest and biggest competitor. Talk to your customers about what they think of the competitor, you may ask your employees too. This would help you know what your perception is among the outer world against your competitors.

Gather knowledge on how the competitor carries out their marketing, advertising, customer services, their social media presence and so on. This would help you to understand your loopholes and work on them.

  • Reviewing the results: This is the action time for you. Once all the areas of the audit are covered, you may note them all and analyze what are the areas that need more improvisation. You may check on the areas that would need some time to improve while there can be some areas that can be improved immediately.

Come up with some great solutions for these affected areas and implement the action plans accordingly.

  • Progress is monitored: Once the action plans are implemented, check out on how progressive your actions proved to be for your business. If in case no considerate changes are seen, you may again brainstorm and emerge with some more great ideas.

Branding is a never-ending job.

Even big brands like Ford, Mercedes, Apple, etc always indulge themselves in branding on a timely basis. Get started and pull up your sock to develop a brand that you have always dreamt about.

What’s Up With the Name Huck Finch?

What’s Up With the Name Huck Finch?

Since you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about the inspiration for our name Huck Finch. (If not, then too bad because that’s what you’re going to get.)

We knew we wanted a name that conjured a story, so we fittingly named our business after two characters from stories we love who capture the spirit of our brand – Huckleberry Finn and Scout Finch (we ain’t got time for Atticus).

When people hear Huck Finch, we want them to think:

DISCOVER, DEFY, DREAM, DISRUPT, and DELIGHT.

But coming up with this name wasn’t easy.

Even though we do it all day for others, it was particularly challenging coming up with the right name for our own brand. We tried every word under the sun and we definitely caused a traffic spike on Thesarus.com as we looked at every possible word, its synonym, and antonym.

But nothing resonated with us. On top of that, it seemed like every .com was taken and we weren’t going to pay some bozo thousands of dollars to own a domain for a name we kinda liked. So, we hit a brick wall and decided to work on building our business hoping inspiration would strike.

As Pablo Picasso once said:
Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.

Boy, was Pablo right!

While working my butt off one day, I received a text from Matt that simply read, Huckleberry Finn. (Boom!) I immediately thought of other characters that inspire me and the first name that came to mind was Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451. Though he embodies some of our brand’s spirit, I knew we could do better. Who else in literature is the personification of adventure, curiosity, rebel, scrappiness, and joy?

Scout Finch.

When I texted Matt this name, I anxiously waited to hear his response. His reply was music to my ears (or is it my eyes since I read his words) as all he wrote back was, YES!

And, to top things off, huckfinch.com was available!

Jokes aside though, we couldn’t be happier with our name. Huck Finch captures the best of these two characters who’ve had a major influence in both of our lives.

We wear this name with pride in knowing we strive every day to live our brand:

  • To always search for the adventure like finding buried treasure in a haunted house.
  • To be constantly curious like Scout as she tried to put herself in Boo Radley’s shoes.
  • To rebel against convention like rocking overalls instead of a dress.Â
  • To be scrappy by pretending to be your best bud, Tom Sawyer, to rescue your other bud, Jim.
  • To find joy in every moment knowing life is just a trip down the river.

With these values in place, we believe Huck Finch is the perfect totem for the spirit we wanted our brand to embody. It’ll be the totem that’ll help us be a contagion for positive change through functional beauty.

When we experience setbacks, failures, or exhaustion, we can look at our name, Huck Finch, and remind ourselves that we can overcome any obstacle using our hearts, our minds, and our spirits.
And a sense of fun!

Say hello if you want to hear more of our story. We’d love to hear yours!

Hien Lam & Matthew Hansen

Small is the New Big: 5 Advantages of Working with a Boutique Branding Agency

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Bigger Isn’t Always BetterWhen deciding on a branding agency, are you considering a boutique creative agency? If not, you should really reconsider. There are many factors a brand has to consider when choosing a branding agency: the agency’s specialties, location, and its past work with other brands. Beyond these things, it’s also worth weighing an agency’s size.

  • Is your prospective agency a boutique with a handful of employees
  • Is it a massive global agency with professionals based out of numerous office?
  • Or an agency that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum?

While at first glance it seems like working with a big agency would be the best option of the 3, more and more people realize going boutique may be the right move.

But what is a boutique branding agency?

What Is A Boutique Branding Agency?

People tend to think of a small clothing store that sells exclusive items, though a boutique describes a business that serves a specialized or sophisticated niche. A boutique branding agency is a specialized branding business. It operates with a small group of professionals and focuses on specialized work for a limited client list.

The biggest limitation of a boutique branding agency is its size – no multiple worldwide locations, huge staff, or portfolios profiling household brands like Nike or Levi’s (though these brands do outsource smaller campaigns to boutique firms.) This limitation affects their reputation as not being well-known.

Although boutique agencies may not have a strong reputation, the quality you receive from them exceeds expectations as they specialize the experience for their customers.

Why Choose A Boutique Branding Agency?

Brands typically hire big creative agencies because they’re “safe” – they have the infrastructure, resources, and pedigree, which give business owners the warm and fuzzies. But boutique agencies offer the same skills as larger firms but have distinct advantages as they can work more closely with you to achieve the goals you want to achieve – at a fraction of the price.

Let’s look at five advantages of working with boutique creative agencies:

1. Budget Friendly

When you think about hiring a creative firm, the first thing that comes to mind is your budget (which is why it’s the first thing we’re talking about.)

There’s a common belief that the more you spend on a marketing or branding campaign, the bigger the outcome. However, this thinking means your success has to cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately, there’s an option that is more affordable than a larger firm, but more efficient than a home-grown solution.

It’s a no-brainer that large agencies require higher overhead and agency fees. They are awash with employees, support staff, high utility costs, and large, swanky offices. These things are all hallmarks of a large agency, but they don’t come cheap. The cost goes somewhere (hint: their client’s invoice), which also means less money spent on your actual campaign.

In other words, your dollar doesn’t go very far with a large firm.

These overhead costs aren’t issues when a company chooses to make use of a boutique firm, which is great news for small businesses who don’t have overwhelming budgets for marketing, web design, or social media strategy. Boutique creative agencies also bring in expertise when it’s needed for a particular project – web developers, writers or strategists – and that means that you pay for only the people used on your job.

Boutique creative agencies also bring in expertise when it’s needed for a specific project – web developers, writers or strategists – and that means that you pay for only the people used on your job.

Another benefit of choosing a boutique firm is control over services used and paid for. With a large company, clients have to choose between predetermined packages offered and end up paying for items they don’t need or sacrificing items they do to save money. Boutique creative agencies provide more flexibility in the selection of services that suit your needs.

Due to lower overhead and fees, boutique firms offer a distinct advantage if you’re trying to get the most bang for your creative buck.

2. Speed

Boutique firms are often pegged as small and therefore unfit to support major campaigns. This thinking may have been true when the world moved at a slower pace. In today’s world, businesses need to adapt and move fast. This is where boutique agencies have a distinct advantage.

For instance, imagine how much faster it’d be to approve and ship out a social media campaign to a client when the marketing team is four people instead of 20. Bigger means more processes, more approvals, more signatures needed, more levels of authority, and more roadblocks. The boost in speed that comes with working with boutique agencies means campaigns can begin quickly and see results faster.

When businesses look for potential agencies to partner with it means they have a campaign in mind that they want to get out to market as quickly as possible. They want a nimble company that can quickly respond to their needs while maintaining creativity and flexibility. They don’t want a partner filled with their internal bureaucracy and red tape.

The boost in speed that comes with working with boutique agencies means campaigns can begin quickly and see results faster.

One reason many business owners state they choose to go with a big agency is they have the necessary resources to assist them. In actuality, these companies are often characterized by inflexibility and inefficiency. When a problem arises, a client may not know who they are supposed to contact because so many people play a role in developing a campaign. Also, receiving an answer to a question or concern can take longer when working with a large agency, as they are dealing with multiple clients simultaneously. The sheer volume of accounts handled by individuals in the firm can lead to delays, which should be of concern to any business owner.

Boutique firms, in contrast, are recognized for their quick turnaround. When fewer people work on any campaign, it’s easier to know who to contact with a question or concern, and campaigns are usually launched in less time, as there aren’t as many individuals working on the campaign.

If you’re trying to steer the Titanic from hitting an iceberg, then you’d want a speedboat, not a cruise liner to guide you.

3. Particular Set of Skills

Specialization is key. If you want specialized skills, then picking a boutique firm will lead to better results.

Small agencies offer specialization and focus that larger agencies often lack. Large companies work with a variety of clients, and, as a result, they tend to have less expertise working with targeted markets. This leads to large firm solutions to be more cookie-cutter.

But imagine working with a company that, from Day 1, has a surgically specific understanding of your situation? This understanding is what you get with a boutique branding agency because they’re staffed with individuals who are subject-matter experts in content, branding, SEO, and offsite marketing.

For instance, when it comes to web design you can seek out a big agency that handles all kinds of web design, or you could look for a boutique firm that specializes in the particular type of design you need for your business and target audience. This gives prospective clients an opportunity to work with a firm that will know more about their wants and needs.

If you want specialized skills, then picking a boutique firm will lead to better results.

An excellent example of a specialized agency is Avalaunch Media, which is a digital marketing agency that specializes in creating infographics for brands like GoPro, Ski Utah, and others. Both a niche market and a niche marketing tool that big agencies may not have the subject matter expertise. Big agencies have a breadth of experience, but to lack the breadth of expertise.

Businesses want to hire the very best – firms that have expertise in a particular service, industry, audience, channel, etc. This specialization means that these boutique agencies will have a better understanding of your particular needs, where a larger agency might not. Plus, small firms can’t afford an employee mix of rock stars, and backup singers — every member of the team has to be top-quality, which ensures every member of your team brings high-level skills to your brand.

Small agencies are called boutique agencies for a reason – they don’t offer a full range of services, but they have a strong specialization in the services they do provide.

Big agencies have a breadth of experience, but to lack the breadth of expertise.

4. Creativity

It’s not the size of the agency that matters most, but how well they understand the needs, objectives, and struggles of your business and market and develop solutions to solve them.

Larger firms tend to use similar if not identical, cookie-cutter methods with each client they take on because they rely on strict, internal procedures. This is great to scale their agency, but not great for their customers. Furthermore, large firms tend to become set in their ways and refuse to try new tactics. The moment a problem arrives, there’s only so many ways to get around it. (See speed issue above.)

Boutique creative agencies don’t offer a one-size-fits-all approach.

While clients often find they have to adapt to the methodology of large agencies, smaller organizations are more likely to adjust to their client. When it comes to successful creative campaigns, creativity, and innovation is the name of the game. And neither of those is limited to agencies with a big staff and a bloated budget. Smaller firms not only are more willing to try new things, but it is also often their bread and butter.

This flexibility means boutique agencies look for the next best way to build your business and aren’t afraid to do things differently. As you build a relationship with your boutique agency, you’ll both work together to develop a personalized creative campaign that best suits your business and grows as your company does.

Smaller agencies not only are more willing to try new things, it is often their bread and butter.

Think of a boutique agency as a custom suit tailor. If you want any off-the-rack suit, a boutique firm isn’t the right choice for you. But if you want a tailored suit that fits you and only you, then suit up with a boutique agency. This custom, out-of-the-box creativity can be of great importance when it comes to catching the eye of your consumer and better connecting your brand with them.

Big agency customers are built on a large assembly line. Considering your brand is likely very different from another brand in an agency’s portfolio, why would you ever place your brand on an assembly line?Smaller firms tend to be made up of a team of people who are tenacious, cross-discipline, and fearless. For your brand, this means a group of folks who are naturally more collaborative, lend fresh perspectives and are “do or die” when it comes to achieving goals. If your business wants to blaze a trail and a bespoke creative experience, then a boutique branding agency will deliver the very best for your brand.

5. Personalized Relationships

Simply put, it’s more direct to work with a small agency. Boutiques bring a level of personalization that could mean the difference between calling and reaching a secretary versus reaching the CEO on the first try.

When you work with a boutique agency, you get a more personable experience. You’ll have the opportunity to develop a healthy working relationship with your creative team, and you’ll also experience better communication since you’re in direct contact with the specialists working throughout the entirety of your project. These things lead to an overall feeling that you’re not just an invoice – you’re a valued client.

Your business is your baby. Like any parent, you know what’s best, so your input and your opinion are essential. Big agencies have a sea of faceless people involved at different stages in your project (account handlers, executives, analysts, creatives, and directors) that change with each meeting you have. Instead of having your voice lost in a sea of faces, you’ll only speak to the people who work on your project when you work with a boutique agency. Rather than third-hand interpretations, your boutique team will hear your voice and your opinions to translate your vision into words, images, and experiences.

You’re not just an invoice – you are a valued client.

Large firms may brag about their big name clients, but this leads them to neglect their smaller accounts. This is hardly the case with boutique firms as each and every client counts. If you want the best results, work with an agency that’s as invested in your results as you are.

A Boutique Branding Agency is the Perfect Size

In your search for the perfect agency, be sure to consider boutique agencies. When looking for the perfect firm to represent your business, you may be drawn to larger organizations. After all, conventional wisdom says that with a big agency, you’d have access to more resources, but what you may not realize, however, is that smaller agencies are just as resourceful as larger organizations. And may even better suit your needs.

Bigger is not always better.

A boutique branding agency is going to be more nimble, more adaptable, more creative, more cost-effective and faster at what they do – improve their client’s brand experience. So why not go small?

Boutique creative agencies do not stand on reputation but rather an ongoing process of building a reputation. Going to a boutique firm means a lot of good things. It means working with people who adapt to fit the needs of its clients. Working with people who work hard to stay ahead of innovation, which maximize resources and listen to what you need versus telling you what their methodologies have proven.

As every brand is unique, every creative campaign must distinguish you from the crowd. A boutique branding agency is going to be more nimble, more adaptable, more innovative, more cost-effective and faster at what they do – improve their client’s brand experience. So why not go small?

Working with boutique creative agencies allows you to grow together. A boutique agency does not exclusively work with small companies either. They are for everybody. Try looking beyond the perceived prestige of a large company and realize that boutique agencies are for everybody. Weigh the flexibility and economic savings of a boutique branding agency. Consider their expertise and their creativity. Consider the relationships you’ll build as you both grow together. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge creative and branding campaign, using a boutique agency can provide you with a strategy that will separate you from your competitors.

So next time you’re looking to get big results with your creative projects, think small –  you’ll see a big difference!

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At Huck Finch, we put together a carefully chosen dedicated team for each job. You always speak to the people who are working on your creative. And you always get the most out of your budget.

Schedule a call to talk about your next brand adventure and how Huck Finch can be your guide.

5 Reasons Why SEO is Critical to the Success of Your Business

5 Reasons Why SEO is Critical to the Success of Your Business

SEO is a Key Ingredient to Your Business’ Online Success

Many business owners recognize SEO as something they should do but never get around to it for various reasons. Higher Visibility surveyed over 500 small businesses and found:

  • 54% of respondents didn’t have an SEO budget
  • 29% said a website should start ranking as soon as a keyword is published
  • 20% didn’t even have a website

These results are troubling because, despite the benefits of SEO, many small businesses are still not understanding its value and ability to promote and grow their business – both online and off. In our digital day and age, small businesses need to understand the importance of investing in their web presence through SEO strategies or else they’ll see their business go in the wrong direction.

Though there are countless benefits to your business, here are five key ones:

5 Reasons Why Local Businesses Should Invest in SEO

1. Cheap Investment

SEO investment is just like investing in real estate. You can get a much more significant outcome than you spent. (And, like real estate, you can lose money if you invest poorly.)

If you budget correctly and invest in SEO, you can help get your website on the first page of Google. And it’s not hard to understand why this is significant since we all know that almost no one makes the effort of clicking beyond page one of Google results.

What’s incredible about this is that it doesn’t require significant investment at all. Compared to the costs of other forms of marketing such as PPC, social media marketing, and email purchasing (never, ever do this), SEO provides incredible ROI for your business’ online presence.

2. Brand awareness

As you know by now, your search engine rankings determine how much online traffic your website drives (as well as the quality of that traffic). SEO lets your website appear on relevant searches on search engines. As your rank improves, your site will show up more frequently at the top of searches. Higher rankings will create awareness among viewers, and more viewers mean a higher chance of conversion. SEO optimized content also appears on social media channels as well to help your audience build a favorable reputation as well as promote brand loyalty.

An increase in your brand awareness will also increase trust in your brand. And trust is the name of the game. For example, if you had to choose between driving a Honda or an unknown car brand like Zotye, you’d pick the Honda 100% of the time. Not necessarily because you think Honda’s are better, but because you know the brand and you’d rather go with a known commodity than something unknown like Zotye. (BTW – Zotye is a real car company.)

It’s important for your consumers to know what goods or services you offer, and you are good at it, to build trust. When you rank highly in Google, you’re getting a stamp of approval making your brand trustworthy, thereby earning people’s trust. Building up your rank takes time, but the investment is worth it if you’re interested in making a name for your brand.

3. More Customers

The main reason a website is needed is that the internet is a source of a whole new market. However, a site alone isn’t enough to get clients. You’ll be on the internet, but it’d be pointless unless people see you.

SEO will put you in the spotlight.

People are more likely to buy your product if they find you online and they prefer to research online before purchasing as research shows 80-90% of customers check online reviews before making a purchase. If you happen to pop up during this search (and have great reviews), you’re more likely to have a higher conversion rate.

Do you want your customers to find your business, or not? Without quality SEO in place, these people will have a hard time finding you and will instead find your competitors.

4. Mobile Friendly

Let’s face it; almost everyone is online on “the cybers.”

With every passing day, mobile users are increasing in comparison to desktop users, so interacting with customers online continues to become more straightforward and more of a critical component of any successful business. Even if your customers need to physically go to a brick-and-mortar location to purchase your product or service, the most crucial place for them to find your business is online.

And this is where SEO comes in.

With the dramatic explosion in mobile usage, a whole new world of SEO techniques, such as local search optimization, have opened up for companies to help your business get in front of our mobile society. By choosing not to embrace SEO as a tool to improve your brand awareness, your business is actively choosing to fall behind and out of the minds of your customers.

5. Everyone’s Doing It

We’re not the types to tell people to do things because others are. But the truth is everyone is using SEO in their business websites content (at least everyone who is successful).

Your competitors are already making use of SEO strategy to get a spot in the top rankings of search engines, and it’s time you jump on the bandwagon too if you don’t want to get left behind. You can’t just sit back and rely on traditional means to run your business when your competitors are fully and smartly employing SEO strategies for their operations.

SEO is Not Dead

But your business will be if you don’t start prioritizing it.

SEO is no going out of style anytime soon. The algorithms may change, and the strategies may evolve, but the core concept of SEO will remain – trying to give online searchers the results they desire.

The bottom line is this – SEO is essential to your business.

Search engine optimization is not an optional tool if your business wants to be competitive and grow. Investing in SEO is more important now than ever before, and if you put in the effort of utilizing SEO as a business tool, you can benefit from it forever. Remember, an investment in SEO doesn’t have to be large or expensive, but its one that needs. SEO can significantly help provide the visibility, traffic, credibility, and branding.

We only mentioned five reason why SEO is key to a business’ success. It has remarkable ROI, and it’d be wise to invest in something that is profitable as SEO as it remains one of the single most important components of any business’ branding efforts and online presence.