When it comes to finding a Branding Consultant, choose the right tool for the job. Since the term “branding” became so popular, many folks are now calling themselves Branding Consultants. Branding has always been a big part of marketing, but branding without marketing to back it up is just artwork and slogans.
The more specific you can be with your particular requirements, the more likely you will get the Branding Consultant you really need.
So, long before you pull out the checkbook for a Branding Consultant, consider your needs. This will help you get the right consultant in your particular field. If one of your needs is to profit from your branding, use this to assist in identifying the performance requirements for the consulting contract.
Most Branding Consultants expect to be paid whether or not your brand is successful. “There are so many other factors that I have no control over,” they will say. If it works, they’ll take a bow; if it doesn’t, it was beyond their control. Good branding is foundational, but good marketing, packaging, distribution and reputation, ultimately, can make or break even the best branding.
So what’s a business owner to do? How do you select and pay your branding consultant? Here are some key questions that will help you solve this challenge:
1. Are you selling goods or services? Are you selling direct to the consumer or indirect business to business? Is your success dependent on others succeeding? Do you have to go through distribution channels?
2. In how many various places will your brand appear? In a package on the retail shelf? On a billboard? How close will your customers be to your branding image? One foot, or 40 feet? Will they see your brand on a website, in a store, in print, or all of the above? How will it be positioned relative to the competition?
3. What emotions will your customers experience when they use your product or service? Will it be satisfaction, pride, happiness, relief, confidence, frugality or luxury? What values do your customers already subscribe to that your product and company support, identify or resonate with? What groups do your customers already belong to that you can support?
4. What success does the Branding Consultant have in your particular areas? What brands has he or she had success with? Can he give you a comprehensive strategy for why those brands succeeded? Has he had success with your particular type of brand in your particular type of market before, and how?
5. Will the Branding Consultant be willing to base part of his fees on the success of his branding advice? What kind of performance metrics make sense and is fair to both sides?
Choose your Branding Consultant only after you have honestly and thoroughly answered the questions above. Choose the best fit for your particular needs. Pay for performance. And be sober about all the other factors that must be perfected beyond branding.
To find the right tool for the job, first discover exactly what the job is. You can use a hammer to drive a screw, but it’s messy!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders