‘Heresy’ some would say, but there are some really good reasons why your digital agency should be in charge of your brand.
- Your website is (apart from retail environments) the most public place your brand exists…for many businesses, the website may be one of the only touchpoints a customer/stakeholder may have.
- Your print/graphic design agency generally only create brochures and publications that target specific audiences (Annual Reports, CSR Booklets, Product brochures, Partner channel support etc) – not the multiple audience groups that most websites must cater to….they think mono-channel.
- Print design for brochures can be from a design perspective quite simplistic compared to multichannel websites - a large picture (happy family, cityscape etc) overlaid with a bit of typography. This might look lovely but it really does not define a brand.
- Most digital agencies spend a lot of their time modernizing and adapting logos and identities (colours, typography, ratios etc) which have not been designed appropriately for online usage. Too often traditional graphic design agencies simply do not understand the issues surrounding a digital identity.
- Ultimately your website is the centre of all your communications – Brochures, Posters, Advertising, Social media, Corporate comms etc, and it therefore has to act as the centre point for all your communications, as almost everything leads to the website.
Admittedly many web agencies do not have the traditional design training that print studios/agencies have, but we are not talking about graphic design…we are talking about brand.
An option is to turn to a specialised branding agency but they generally do not think digital. Whilst this should not matter as they are defining an emotional/visual language, without thinking about this in a digital context, this all too often results in a set of brand guidelines that are awkward or un-usable online. Adding a few web page mockups into their deliverables and the hiring a few web designers into their team does not mean they think digital. Here it is important to remember that a brand manual with a page or two assigned to the web really is no longer appropriate, and often is counterproductive for the agency that then needs to use this.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that every web agency should be entrusted with creating your brand (as many do not think brand), however the days of your print/brand agency being the first port of call when thinking about developing your brand needs to be challenged and rethought as their lack of digital thinking (despite what they will claim) means that they are no longer the able to fulfill the role.
With this in mind, it is clear that digital agencies need to do much more than just design websites for their clients – they need to evolve into digital brand guardians, taking ownership of their clients brand and communications.
Digital is at the centre all your communications, so we now need to take a digital first approach to your brand.
Finn is a founding director of Liquid Light, and he still (after 22 years of web design) likes to get involved in projects. When he is not worrying about the clients, he is studying Chinese medicine, working with young criminals and doing spartan challenges.