What does a brand agency do?

A brand agency helps clients with brand strategy, brand identity design, and brand activation. Their full offering may include customer and stakeholder research, naming, brand architecture, 2d/3d digital and motion design services, brand governance and guidelines, and the ongoing creation and delivery of content, communications and campaigns.

Every brand agency approaches this slightly differently with varying levels of scope, sophistication, and success. Regardless of the nuts and bolts of the process, a brand agency should help align your business and brand strategy so that your communications resonate with your employees, stakeholders, and customers. This is more than a new logo or “look and feel”. It is a transformative process which enables your organisation to mean more and achieve more.

Often, clients will come to us when they are facing one or more of these challenges:

  • They are experiencing a change in the marketplace and need to adapt
  • They are facing tougher competition as new players enter the market
  • They are launching a new product or service which requires a change in direction
  • They have recently acquired a new company and need to consolidate brands
  • They don’t have a clear and consistent story
  • They have confusing offers and service identities
  • They are struggling to recruit

Often, it’s a sense that the current brand has run its course and that the organisation needs a fundamental reset to address struggling performance.

Are you in a similar position? You may be considering engaging a brand agency but are unsure of what they do exactly. While we can’t speak for all brand agencies, we can give you an insight into our process, so you can decide whether it’s right for you.

An overview of a strategic brand review

Our approach is to collaborate with you to discover the insight to navigate change, define the ideas to shape your story, design an identity to cut through complexity and deliver the impact to move you forward.

We use this logical, four-stage framework for a comprehensive and in-depth brand review. It flexes to meet your specific needs and is designed to save time, reduce risk, and improve outcomes.

4 stages of a strategic brand review:

Stage 1 – Discover the true health of your current brand and the insight you need to move your brand and your organisation forward.

Services at this stage may include: running customer and employee satisfaction surveys, brand perception analysis, market analysis, stakeholder consultation, and competitor brand audits.

Stage 2 – Define the strategic platform and unique Brand VOICE that will engage your employees, customers, partners, and more.

Services at this stage may include: defining the brand strategy, brand architecture and naming, core messaging and communications planning.

Stage 3 – Design an identity system that cuts through any and every channel, with clarity, consistency and impact.

Services at this stage may include: developing your identity brand look and feel, brand guidelines, core assets and templates, and brand basics.

Stage 4 – Deliver the creative content, campaigns and communications that will change the way people think, feel and act.

Services at this stage may include: launching a new brand, product, or service, strengthening your employer brand, and persuading your audience to buy, give, act or get involved. We also help to embed the values, culture and behaviours into all areas of the organisation.

Want a behind-the-scenes look? We have mapped out our whole process below.

Keep reading for a closer look at each stage of a comprehensive brand review that achieves transformational results.

Stage 1: Discover

Research is the essential first step to a brand audit.

We measure the health of your brand by gathering the views of your senior people, employees, customers, and partners. Only when we fully understand where you are today can we work with you to develop the brand.

First, we review any existing research that you have available. Then we enhance that picture with primary qualitative research, understanding the views and experiences of internal and external stakeholders in an in-depth, broad-ranging, and confidential manner, designed to encourage honesty and openness.

Senior leadership

To deepen our understanding of your priorities and challenges, we engage your senior people in open, confidential conversations, typically conducted as 1:1 interviews. We work with board members, executive leadership teams and senior managers.

Customer research

To deepen our understanding of your customers’ wants and needs, we conduct confidential interviews with a representative sample. This helps us capture a true picture of current brand perceptions and levels of brand engagement. This stage can also be augmented with quantitative data and online surveys.

Involving partners

To gain insight into trends, standards, and motivations within the industry, we consult a varied set of partners and stakeholders who may be important to you.


We capture the views and experiences of your people and the specific issues they face day-in and day-out through a series of 1:1 interviews or group workshops with staff drawn from different areas of the organisation. This increases internal buy-in for the brand programme and ownership of the outcomes.

Understanding the market

We undertake a competitor brand audit, to understand the context in which you operate, the challenges you face, and where the opportunities are for you to differentiate your brand and win.

Key output

All data and analysis from this stage are compiled and presented in an Insight Report. This provides a comprehensive analysis of your brand today and its challenges and opportunities as seen by those who know it best.

It forms the essential tool to ensure all senior participants in the brand programme achieve a common understanding of the brand’s current strengths and weaknesses before moving on to consider the future brand strategy in Stage 2.

Stage 2: Define

With a clear understanding of where you are today, we work with you to create a powerful brand strategy, that builds into a compelling messaging platform fit for the future.

This is often seen as the most critical stage of the entire programme. We will facilitate a highly interactive workshop where you will consider your desired proposition using the Brand VOICE model shown below:

This bespoke model helps organisations debate and define the key elements of their future business and brand strategy. This is the essential story that the organisation needs to tell customers, employees, partners, and stakeholders. This should involve key members of your senior management team.

Our Strategic Brand Consultants are extremely effective communicators who work with clients to challenge their preconceived perceptions. Their refreshingly different approach helps all stakeholders to better understand the needs of their customer base and develop a clear and concise narrative for the brand.

Key output

The output of this stage is a Brand VOICE proposition document. This works on three levels:

  • First, it provides a high-level overview of the business and brand strategy, resolves any architecture or positioning issues, and provides a compelling brand narrative.
  • Second, it provides a detailed messaging platform that will drive a wide range of future communications and allow any member of staff to talk confidently on your behalf.
  • Third, it acts as the strategic brief for all further creative development and as a blueprint for your brand and a host of internal and external expressions.

The Brand VOICE model works because it:

  • is accessible to all participants, not just marketers, and brings together different pillars of organisational activity in a comprehensive framework
  • is rooted in business logic, aligning the business strategy with the brand strategy to create a fully rounded solution
  • relies upon dynamic debate that results in changing attitudes and beliefs within your team
  • is truly collaborative. We co-create with you, involving the right people at every stage
  • allows clients to explore bigger questions around their fundamental organisational ambitions and place in the world
  • provides essential context for the brand by considering the dynamics of the marketplace.

Stage 3: Design

The first output from this stage is a Creative Concept Presentation that provides a range of ‘broad brush’ ideas for you to consider. This presentation is structured to calibrate our creative to your preferences and allows us to quickly learn, adapt and refine based on an agreed direction.

Designing a powerful brand identity system requires insight, ideas, and impact:

Insight – stand out in a crowded marketplace with an identity so true to your vision and reflective of your organisation that it could only be yours.

Ideas – to be memorable, creative needs to add to the cultural conversation and deliver a point-of-view, with a dotted line back to your brand.

Impact – in the current fragmented, multi-channel media landscape your content needs to mark itself out as unique to your brand. This requires a strong graphic language that extends well beyond the logo, adding value to every product, service, touch-point and communication.

Assessing creativity is too often managed subjectively. We apply thinking which takes the subjectivity out and ensures real engagement and impact with your audiences.

Questions we ask of the work:

We assess all our work against these four questions, and only if the answer is ‘yes’ are we satisfied that our work is fit for purpose:

Is it insight-led? Was the central idea developed because we pushed ourselves to see the world through the eyes of the end user and understand the dynamics of the marketplace?

Is it transformative? Is the work going to change the way that people think, feel and act, resulting in real progress or moving them along a journey?

Is it confident? Have we brought clarity, simplicity, and purpose into an otherwise complex world?

Does it have reach? Will our creative solution have reach – beyond us, across many different channels and in the hands of different people?

After we have settled on a creative concept, the design team will look at how the strategy will come to life through a powerful brand presence. This includes:

  • How your basic brand identity (logo) would appear on all essential communications
  • How key messages from the Brand VOICE Proposition would be articulated and used in an appropriate tone-of-voice
  • How images would support these messages, in the form of either photography or illustrations or a mix of both
  • The use of a bespoke colour palette of primary and secondary colours
  • Graphic design standards to create a distinctive, visually appealing style

Stage 4 – Deliver

The first step to bringing your new brand to life through content, communications and campaigns is to make sure the brand maintains consistency. For this reason, we always start with brand guidelines.

Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines, when hurried or overly prescriptive, can become as problematic as they are useful. This is why we wait until after the implementation stage to formalise brands into a set of final guidelines.

We take all the learnings from the implementation stage (what works best? what is the most efficient way to work with the identity system? what are the pitfalls to be avoided?) and condense these into one, set of guidelines. This can be provided as a document or increasingly via an online platform that is easier to update, easier to share, and easier to link to essential brand assets.

These visual brand guidelines are designed not to constrict the use of your brand, but to empower all brand development partners: in-house teams or third-party agencies involved in PR, digital, print, display, exhibition, events, advertising, social, etc.

Guardianship of brand guidelines

Once you understand the spirit of a brand, it becomes much easier to encourage others to buy into that vision, helping them to understand not only how they should interpret the rules and suggestions laid out in the guidelines, but also why this will help them produce the best work possible.

Our team has previously undertaken this role for Save the Children, the Guardian, and Jaguar Land Rover.


We use photography, video and animation to capture your story, and tell it in an authentic, aspirational and accessible way.

This has the potential to shift perceptions of your brand and engage your audience, prompting them to respond. All the original content we create needs to be:


We must reflect the real world and that should involve using your own people and places as the heroes of your story. The creative expression should feel rooted in the reality of your products, processes and people, even if it employs creative techniques to show these in a new, surprising light.

Your audiences need to see themselves reflected in any campaigns and communications. Better still if they are involved both in front of and behind the camera. We always try to use customers and staff to tell the brand story as naturally and authentically as possible. It’s their story after all.


A strong sense of ambition, hope and purpose is important. Persuasion works best when it is a choice rather than a requirement. High-quality photography and video, shot well, edited in exciting ways, and engaging its audience through inspirational storytelling all add to creating an aspirational brand. Finally, people aren’t afraid of big ideas. They are more afraid of mediocrity. So have a point and stand for something.


We employ diverse channels to ensure we provide relevant touchpoints. We also consider the nature and purpose of content designed to inform, engage and inspire at different levels:

  • Hygiene content is always-on ‘pull’ content designed to provide practical information at any stage
  • Hub content is regularly scheduled ‘push’ content designed to reach your primary prospects
  • Hero content is the headline brand campaigns or events that raise awareness and get attention

By capturing a large amount of high-quality content at this stage it will allow us to populate numerous channels quickly and effectively throughout the brand lifecycle.

Campaigns & communications

Brands can be brought to life through campaigns and communications that change the way that people think, feel and act.

We have extensive experience scoping, designing and delivering against a host of marketing and communications requirements.

From creating marketing collateral, websites, physical spaces, internal and external engagement campaigns, major leadership events and brand films, we have the skills to reach audiences with your story.

We believe that the key to success in any campaign is to start with the right proposition, one that targets the ‘sweet spot’, where your objectives overlap with your audiences’ needs and wants.

What does a brand agency do? Sweet spot

We create the messaging, user journeys and platform that will allow your campaign to move your audience from passive ignorance to active advocacy.

Create a brand that moves you

Your brand can empower your people, engage your audience, and bring new vision and energy to your organisation. The strategic brand review not only helps you achieve immediate objectives but often leads to unexpected growth and achievement.

Our clients have said that we changed the way they “show up in the world”. That we helped them create a brand that means more and achieves more. Time and time again, we’ve seen positive sentiment improve, revenue multiply, and share-of-voice increase.

It’s not a quick fix or short-term solution. It requires research, collaboration, and deliberation. But this delivers a strategy which will be effective for the next 10 years, and beyond. Far from cosmetic, this is an investment in the foundation and future of your business.

For examples and inspiration please browse our case studies here.



If you’d like to discuss our process, or have additional questions, please give our Growth Director, Karen Newbold, a call on (+44) 01926 678368 or email her at karen@rblteam.com.

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