Good branding has the power to differentiate your brand from the competition, increase awareness and connect: with customers, talent, partners who identify with your brand’s values and attitude.

Studio Helder Meetingraum

Challenge

Outdated or interchangeable branding inevitably reflects on your products, performance, company – as good, innovative, high quality as they may be. This makes it difficult to reach target groups.

Helder Designstudio Besprechung

To help you show what your brand really stands for, Helder translates your brand strategy into brand design and messaging: for consistent communication externally and internally.

CLIENTS

Brands that work with us

„For two years in a row, Helder’s naming and design perfectly translated the themes of sustainability and responsibility into the ASC & MSC Brand Awareness campaign.“

Manuel Maillard
Marketing Manager, MSC

„Helder has the ability to capture the essence of the company’s idea and translate it into one word. We have benefited from this for our own brand as well as our clients.“

Felix Prinz zu Salm-Salm
Owner, Weingut Prinz Salm

„Together with Helder, we developed a narrative that makes complex services and products understandable, accessible and desirable.“

Clemens Reisbeck
Head of Communications, Werter

„In the brand workshop, we experienced the potential of our brand from a new perspective. The process has positively changed external and internal brand perception.“

Nathalie Thomsen
Marketing Manager, DCSO

„With Helder, we have not only developed a brand, but also a lifestyle. Together we created a value strategy and based on it a brand design that I can identify with 100%.“

Wulf Rowek
CEO, entity

„The brand workshop still forms the basis of our communications strategy today. It has made brand management of Weingut Prinz Salm much easier for us, because we now have a clear basis for decision-making.“

Nina Hansen
CEO, Lourie

Three steps to a brand identity that makes a difference

  • Brand Workshop

    We translate your strategic focus into adequate brand design and clear messaging.

  • Brand Design

    We translate your strategic focus into adequate brand design and clear messaging.

  • Brand Launch

    You launch a brand that makes a difference: for customers, partners, talents.

Team

To ensure that strategy and design correspond optimally with each other, we have set up Helder in an interdisciplinary and international way.

  • Dr. Birgit Joest – Strategy Director

    Dr. Birgit Joest

    Strategy Director

  • Maurits den Held

    Creative Director

  • Alica Jörg

    Design Director

  • Designer Kaare Domaas

    Kaare Domaas

    Designer

  • Leonie Ringeler

    Leonie Ringeler

    Designer

  • Catarina Mendes Strategie-Beraterin

    Catarina Mendes

    Project Management

  • Marina Mengis

    Copy

  • Ellen Baierlein

    Ellen Baierlein

Services

Branding

Brand Identity

Over the last 20 years, we have developed the Brand Frame from the best brand building methods. This brand strategy model captures the essence of the brand at a glance.

CASES

Lifestyle, Tech and Community Brands for which we have translated strategy into design.

Generic design and messaging diminish the value of your brand.
We help you get the branding your brand deserves.

  • Good branding is contextually well-founded

    It is always based on the brand’s core, its culture, values and competencies.

  • Good branding creates clarity

    It is so striking that the transmitter is identifiable even without a logo.

  • Good branding differentiates

    Those with the courage to do things differently distinguish themselves from the competition – and show that they have confidence both in themselves and others too.

  • Good branding is aesthetic

    Es setzt eure Marke vom Wettbewerb ab – und zeigt, dass ihr euch und eurem Gegenüber etwas zutraut.

  • Good branding shows attitude

    It uses it to create potential identification points for people: consumers, associates and coworkers. It is self-consistent, comprehensible, modular and can be deployed across all media.

  • Good branding is recognizable

    It is so striking that the transmitter is identifiable even without a logo.

  • Good branding is holistic in thought

    It tangibly reduces cognitive dissonances for coworkers, consumers, associates.

Three steps to a brand identity that makes a difference

  • Brand Workshop

    We translate your strategic focus into adequate brand design and clear messaging.

  • Brand Design

    We translate your strategic focus into adequate brand design and clear messaging.

  • Brand Launch

    You launch a brand that makes a difference: for customers, partners, talents.

Commitment

Beyond brand development, we are committed to raising the value of design through knowledge – so that creatives and brand builders work better together.

What we do not do

  • Work without payment

    We are ready to go the famous extra mile if both partners are committed. Like our clients, we do not work for free. That is why we do not deliver concepts or designs in the context of unpaid pitches. However, we are happy to answer your questions about what we can do for you. Just contact us!

  • Unethical projects

    We do not work with clients whose values we do not share. This includes companies or institutions that do not respect, disregard or intentionally harm people, animals and the environment, e.g. radical, unconstitutional political organizations, arms or mass farming operations.

  • Treat unequally

    We see ourselves as partners of our clients. Mutual respect, appreciation and equality are prerequisites for successful cooperation.
    Of course, this also applies to all applicants and employees, irrespective of their of origin, nationality, age, gender, religious affiliation, sexual identity, physical or mental limitations.

AGENCY SELECTION

When looking for the right agency for a branding project, there are some criteria that help to make the right choice. We present these here.

What is branding?

The word branding originally meant the marking of herd animals with branding irons. Accordingly, a brand is also to be imprinted with a stamp. What is known in German-speaking countries as branding and brand management encompasses the measures that link a company, product or service with a specific image. To this end, specific communicative and visual messages are developed that pay tribute to this image and stick in the minds of the target group. These include BRAND DESIGN and the brand story.

Why is branding important?

Many companies spend huge amounts of money to place brand messages with marketing measures. Their primary purpose is to generate attention. In contrast, branding is the silent brand ambassador. Branding aims to create a certain feeling in contact with the brand. Ideally, the target group understands at first glance what the brand stands for. A successful branding promotes an emotional connection between brand and people.

What is a branding agency?

Branding agencies are agencies that specialize in branding. A team of strategists and designers work hand in hand to form the strategic, communicative and visual identity of a brand and thus position the brand successfully in the market. Branding agencies thus create the basis for all further communicative measures of the brand.

What does a branding agency do?

A branding agency supports companies and organizations in developing a corporate identity or a brand design or in further developing it in the course of a rebranding.

Developing a brand strategy that pays off on the brand.

For this, the first step is to work out the basics of the BRAND STRATEGY together. This usually takes the form of a BRAND WORKSHOP, in which BRAND PURPOSE, BRAND VALUES and the BRAND ARCHITECTURE are reviewed and defined. Based on this and with the help of a competition and target group analysis, the brand identity agency develops the BRAND POSITIONING. In the case of a brand that is already established in the market, a branding agency uses a so-called BRAND AUDIT to review the brand in terms of its positioning. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the branding and looks for drivers for a successful alignment in the market environment. For a start-up or in the course of a rebranding, a brand identity agency develops a suitable BRAND NAME that captures the brand essence and brand promise.

Brand Design

To generate the appropriate visual brand identity for the individual brand strategy, a branding agency creates a brand design that shows at first glance what the brand stands for. The brand design usually includes the LOGO DESIGN, the development of the COLOR SCHEME, the definition of an IMAGE STYLE, the typography and the design of infographics as well as the ICONOGRAPHY. The goal is to develop a consistent design system that contributes to brand recognition. A branding agency summarizes the design in BRAND GUIDELINES so that employees within the company as well as those of external trades can apply the brand design when creating communication materials in a way that conforms to the brand. The Brand Guidelines also contain instructions on how to handle the design elements as well as do’s and don’ts in the applications. Once the visual brand identity is formed, a branding agency creates various applications of the design, such as a website, banners and tiles for social media, stationery, brochures, reports or other communications.

Who can do branding?

Unlike doctors and architects, there are no protected titles or standardized processes in the field of branding. The quality of an agency depends on its own standards and the demands of the clients it wants to satisfy. A list of agencies that offer branding provides guidance on the various options.

In-house team

Larger companies in particular have an independent design department. The idea of commissioning in-house designers with the new branding can be obvious. However, branding is not “only” design, but also requires strategic and communicative expertise. A designer specializing in UX/UI design does not have the expertise needed for branding. One advantage of in-house designers is that they are already very familiar with the brand and its services. However, they sometimes lack the necessary external perspective – the keyword here is operational blindness. It helps to integrate the designers into the branding process – they have to apply the brand design in the end.

Branding agency

A branding agency or brand development agency specializes in brand development. An interdisciplinary team has the necessary strategic and creative skills that play a role in this process. Branding agencies are specialized in the creation of brands. To do this, the brand is viewed as a holistic construct and not from a single perspective such as just website, logo or social media. From the brand identity to the brand name to the design system – here you get a strategically sound brand image from a single source, on which you can build in the long term.

Freelancer

A freelancer can often be less expensive than agencies. They can be a good choice for solopreneurs, associations or non-profit organizations that need branding for a modest budget, for example. Freelance designers, however, are usually skilled in only one discipline, meaning they tend to have primarily design expertise. However, if you are looking for branding support, both strategy and design are essential. When hiring a freelance designer, you should therefore have a concrete idea of the brand personality and the strategic orientation in order to be able to brief correctly, and you should first examine the respective style of the designer to see whether it fits the brand.

Advertising agency

Advertising agencies or so-called full-service agencies often offer an almost unlimited spectrum of communicative services. However, this does not necessarily mean that all disciplines are equally well mastered. Advertising is not branding. Advertising campaigns temporarily highlight a product, a service, an offer. To do this, the brand as sender must be strategically clearly positioned and have an appropriate appearance, and that in turn is the task of branding. Of course, at first glance it is attractive to get all services from a single source, but you should look very carefully to see whether the agency has an understanding of strategic design and can provide appropriate references. When commissioning large advertising agencies or agency networks, it is important to bear in mind that a higher level of staffing on the agency side will be financially calculated accordingly and can prolong coordination processes. In addition, relatively lean budgets do not always receive the same attention as large budgets, i.e., the size of the agency and one’s own company should match. As said before, advertising has above all a different goal than branding. Advertising provides short-term attention, while branding establishes the brand personality in the long term.

When to brand – what are the goals?

The desire or need for branding can have various reasons. It is important to be clear about the goals that are to be achieved with the new or further development of branding. Branding, of course, always has the purpose of differentiating the brand from the competition. A classic situation is, for example, the start-up of a new company or the launch of a new product. Here, the successful establishment of the brand in the market is the number one driver. In the case of existing brands, the further development of the product range, the attraction of talent, the opening up of new markets, a merger with other companies are all reasons for challenging the previous brand presence.

How much does branding cost?

The cost of a branding depends on several variables, of course on the scope of the requested services, but also on the size and reputation of the branding agency.

  • Brand audit: from 1.200 €
  • Brand strategy: from 15.000 €
  • Brand Story: from 5.000 €
  • Naming: from 7.000 €
  • Brand Design: from 12.000 €

The size of the company can also have an influence on process structures and thus on the budget. It is important that the offer specifically addresses the needs and makes clear exactly which services will be provided. A transparent and detailed offer protects against unpleasant surprises. Price alone should never be the deciding factor. A branding or rebranding is a long-term investment in the company, which in the worst case scenario you make twice if the branding is unsuccessful.

Who participates in a branding project?

To develop a branding, companies in most cases resort to the expertise of branding agencies. Strategists and brand designers work together to create an attractive and coherent brand image. In order for a branding project to be successfully implemented, certain people on the company side should also be involved in the development, if these positions exist within the organization. This corresponds to the set-up of a company – if you are a solopreneur or a small organization commissioning a branding project, the set-up is correspondingly smaller:

  • Decision maker: all the work was in vain if in the end the people making the decision are not convinced. Therefore, decision makers should be present at the important milestones from the very beginning.
  • Marketing Manager: These people have (hopefully) already dealt intensively with the brand. They know the challenges of communication and therefore provide relevant insight into the day-to-day business. They are an essential part of brand building – they will also work most intensively with the brand concept.
  • Sales: People in sales have direct contact with (potential) customers. Their needs, wishes and, if necessary, criticism are essential for the brand strategy and communication.
  • Product developer: Branding serves to better communicate a certain performance, i.e. a product or service of a company. Therefore, it is essential to know the characteristics of this product – only then can added value and unique selling points be identified.
  • Designers: A brand design must be implemented and lived. If there are designers in the team, it is helpful to involve them in the development process so that they can gain an understanding of the design and understand creative decisions.
  • Project Manager:in A branding project brings together various stakeholders inside and outside the company. In order to be able to organize processes efficiently and to define a contact person for the agency, it is good to define a person who has an overview of the project.

What is included in a brand briefing?

Before the agency can work on content and visual concepts, it is necessary to define the framework of the project with a brand briefing. A briefing contains the goals of the project, elements to be worked on during the project, a time frame, and provides an overview of what the brand currently stands for and wants to stand for in the future. In addition, the brief includes all relevant documentation the agency needs to fully understand the brand. Elements of a branding brief may include (if applicable):

  • NDA
  • Service description
  • Definition of target groups
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Previous elaboration of brand identity and strategy
  • Goals of the project, budget and time frame
  • List of elements to be elaborated
  • Contact persons

Design Briefing

If the agency has been commissioned for the brand design but not for the brand strategy, a detailed briefing is all the more crucial. The agency has not accompanied the company through the branding process and therefore needs a sound insight into background, target groups, and positioning.

Naming Briefing

If the brand building agency has also been commissioned to create a brand name, further elements are important:

Language that is relevant to the target group
Regions in which the brand name will be used (D, DACH, EU, USA, etc.)
Nice classes for which the brand name is registered

CHECKLIST

This checklist provides an efficient introduction to successful collaboration with a branding agency.

Set goals for the project

It is important to first be clear about your own goals and needs before approaching agencies. Different agencies have different core services and therefore provide solutions to specific problems.

Research

When searching, there are different ways to get in touch with an agency. One way is personal recommendations. The plus point is that someone has already had positive experiences with this agency. Here it is worth looking at the portfolio to see if the references match your own ideas. The alternative is an online search. What counts here is a professional first impression, appropriate references and competencies.

Does the agency have the right expertise?

Branding is not “just” a logo – to create a holistic brand image, expertise in branding is needed. Therefore, an agency should also be able to demonstrate experience and competencies in branding. It’s also not “just” about creating an aesthetically beautiful design – it should also visualize the brand’s services and identity.

Is the size of a branding agency important?

Size ranges from small owner-operated agencies to global agency networks. And here, bigger does not always equal better. Not every company needs the extensive staff capacity or international connections of a network agency. A lot of staff often means complex processes and almost always higher overhead costs. Internal consultant structures often mean that you are not in direct contact with the people who are actually working on your own branding. The right size depends on your own company: As a medium-sized company, it is not necessarily expedient to hire an agency that otherwise works with corporate budgets. Smaller, so-called boutique agencies also ensure direct exchange at executive or managing director level and the operational team.

Is the location relevant for branding?

Most agencies work independently of location. More important than location are the factors of expertise, industry knowledge and personal impression. Getting to know each other in person is definitely recommended, as is an on-site workshop. Intermediate coordination can also take place digitally. Ask about the tools the agency uses. Location may matter if the agency’s own culture places a high value on on-site presence or the project requires it, such as branding a local community or institution.

Does the branding agency have a good reputation?

A simple online search can help expose black sheep. A scandal or disgruntled customers are not a good indicator of a transparent and collegial partnership. Even if the branding is convincing, you should ask yourself whether a future partner represents your own values. Testimonials and reviews are a good indication of satisfied customers.

Does the branding agency have industry experience?

Even though processes and concepts of branding can be applied to the creation of any brand, there are specific aspects in certain niches and industries that can be relevant for a brand concept. References give an impression of the kind of clients the agency has already worked for and whether this matches the agency’s own needs.

Conduct interviews and make a decision

It is essential to have an initial personal interview with agencies that are being considered. The purpose of the meeting is to get to know team members, processes and working methods better and to check whether schedules and budgets are within the bounds of what is possible. It is a good indicator of whether the chemistry between client and agency is right – which should not be underestimated for a successful collaboration.

Is the process understandable and transparent?

In a personal conversation, you should find out which tools or processes an agency uses. Is there a contact person who is responsible for the project? Coordination processes are an important issue, especially for larger companies. The branding process should be transparent and comprehensible in order to be able to assess what future collaboration might look like.

Does the agency make a good personal impression?

The personal impression should also be taken into account in all rational considerations. A longer-term project is on the horizon, and a well-functioning collaboration is a fundamental basis. For all the expertise, attitude, social skills and manners are key to collaborative success. With a pro-con list, there is usually also a gut feeling that steers you in the right direction.

Conclusion

Choosing the right agency can be overwhelming at first. That is understandable: For most clients, branding projects are not part of their daily business, so it can be difficult to judge the quality and competence of the agency. This article is intended to provide an overview and help provide orientation in the selection process. Above all, it is important to take your time when compiling the short list and to get to know these agencies and their services.




    Ansprechpartner Helder Design

    Dr. Birgit Joest

    STRATEGY DIRECTOR

    030 403 664 76

    b.joest@helder.design

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