On the surface, a marketing agency and a branding agency in Singapore may seem like they do the same things. Technically, they both seek to help brands accomplish communication objectives but how they go about it is where the paths start to diverge. Although creative campaigns for various brands and industries are commonplace for both, there’re more differences than similarities between the two.
Not just in namesake, but the scope of work and the extent of the impact from their work varies as well. Before you go engaging either agency types, it’d be best if you understand how we differ first. Who better to explain it to you than an agency that transformed from a digital marketing agency to a branding agency?
Time Is Money
While a marketing agency often focuses on year-to-year campaigns, a branding agency works on assets and campaigns that have more far-reaching impact. We’re looking at a timeline of a year as compared to at least 3 to 5 years of effectiveness (That may shorten as the years go by).
Hence, you tend to expect a more exorbitant price when you engage a branding agency, as the assets developed by them are going to be used for a much longer time frame. It’s not just the effective time period of their work, but also the amount of time needed to research, strategise, and develop your branding goes far beyond a marketing campaign. While marketing agencies do require time to develop a campaign, the requirements are on a lower scale.
You’re paying for the effectiveness of their work and the amount of time put in by a branding agency. In short, you’re paying more for the quality and quantity of work. (So yes, please pay us our dues).
I Approve This Message
Every communication strategy needs to define a key message and the same goes for marketing and branding campaigns. Pretty visuals and memorable taglines won’t mean anything if there’s no meaning and messaging behind it.
While the messaging will drive both campaigns, the meaning and purpose behind it will vary. A key message within a marketing campaign will usually look to push for products or services within the brand. On the other hand, branding campaigns’ key messages are all about presenting the best of the brand as a whole in a better light. Although marketing campaigns can be used to push brands, branding campaigns do not have the same luxury of focusing on products/services.
The purpose, the extent, and the angle of the key message will differ as a result and it will be wise to know the key message to centre your branding strategy around.
While effective and tasteful visuals are a thing for both agencies, the type of visuals developed is completely different. Since their focus is different to begin with, a branding agency and a marketing agency would naturally have different design outputs.
Marketing campaigns are all about key visuals that sell and when it’s done well, it can leave a lasting impression of the brand within the target audience. On the flip side, branding campaigns are all about creating visuals that define a brand for the long run. We’re talking logos, taglines, colour, palettes, and typically elements found within a corporate identity guide.
If you want something that matches your brand, you go for a marketing agency. But if you want something that represents your brand, then a branding agency is what you’re looking for.
Search & Rescue
Before the start of any campaign to save your brand, an agency has to do a little bit of groundwork to begin. Brainstorming for creative ideas is important, but the crucial step to developing ANY campaign is the research that goes into it.
A cursory search and media scanning into the industry is usually sufficient for most marketing campaigns, especially if you’re looking to develop a low budget one. The same cannot be said for a branding campaign, as comprehensive and targeted research is necessary to identify the weak points and strengths of a brand as well as the necessary insights into the industry.
When neither of those is identified, a branding agency wouldn’t be able to develop a lasting branding strategy and create an effective brand toolkit for you.
Take Centre Stage
It’s important for you to know where your audience is so that you can implement your communication strategy and direct your message to the right platforms for them to see it. Without that information, you’re basically just screaming into the wind and hoping someone hears it.
Marketing can take place on a number of platforms, we’ve got Out-of-Home (OOH) (though there’s less now) bus ads, social media, TV, radio, and even mainstream news media. You can pick one or pick a few that your target audience is at and go crazy on them.
A branding agency does not have that same luxury of choosing. Whether it’s an effective channel or not, as long as the brand is on it, the brand’s visual assets have to be created and tailored for it. The corresponding guidelines would have to be dictated as well. This is to ensure you build a consistent brand across the various channels.
Be The Difference — A Branding Agency’s Helping Hand
Setting brands apart from their competitors is basically what we do here. After all, what’s the point of putting out a campaign that looks just like everyone else’s? It’s more important to get your money’s worth and become a renowned name within your industry.
If that sounds like your cup of bubble tea (or whatever your preferred beverage is), then let’s get this partnership on the road and we’ll grab our thinking hats on for that big idea you need (;