Deep Thoughts

Design Agency vs. Marketing Communications Firm

Often, the folks we talk to don't really understand what we do as a marketing communications firm. Specifically, they don't really understand the difference between what we do and what a design agency does. [caption id="attachment_126" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Image from"][/caption] And then Digital Synopsis published an article that unknowingly and perfectly illustrates the point. The title? "27 Funny Posters and Charts that Graphic Designers Will Relate To." According to the compiler (not really an author), a graphic designer will relate to the image to the right, presumably the use of the Comic Sans typeface. Is this what makes a design firm cringe? What about a marketing communications firm? Sure, we dislike Comic Sans, too. But we look at the entire message. Our approach is to comprehensively elevate and advance our clients' brands in everything they do, whether the audiences are external or internal.
"Our approach is to comprehensively elevate and advance our clients' brands in everything they do . . . "
First and foremost, if you're a Fortune 500 company, you shouldn't be using copier paper to create signage for your office. Or for the passive-aggressive response to poor signage. Instead have a placard produced advising occupants to keep the door closed. The placard should be consistent with other signage in the building, and if possible, should be consistent with any graphic identity standards the company has adopted. Next, promote the proper use of the English language, including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Empower an appropriate employee to be the brand protector. This Fortune 500 company likely has a marketing communications director, brand manager, or similar position; that individual should see to it that the brand—and everything it represents—is only represented in ways that elevate it. This should be the case not just for external matters, but even internal matters like signage, apparel, and that company coffee mug everyone carries around in the morning. Pride in the brand begins on the individual employee level and creates a culture within any organization. Fostering a culture that values the brand is critical in increasing brand perception by others outside of the organization, including customers, potential customers, industry partners . . . and the competition! So no, your company is not a lemonade stand. Be aware that your brand is an investment and requires care accordingly. You have to consider it. You have to pay for it. You have to protect it. And you have to foster its growth. And the proper care requires someone to look at the brand from all angles. Is a marketing communications firm a good fit for your brand? Can a marketing communications firm provide broader perspective than you already have? Give us a call and let's talk about it!

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