Top Branding Agencies Worldwide
Digital Product Brand Identity Agencies for Startups, B2B, Enterprise, Small business, SMB, SaaS. Branding agencies in San Francisco, CA Bay Area (SF), New York, NY, London, Portland, Los Angeles, CA Greater Area (LA)
Last Updated: February 1, 2023
These days the title Branding Agency has such a broad meaning. It can be a marketing agency who does all types of ads campaigns, or a logo design firm with no experience in outdoor ads or communication strategy. This list is mostly designed to feature the agencies with the most experience in digital branding for products like Uber, AirBnb, Firefox, etc. These all are some of the best digital-first branding companies.
Make sure to check their portfolio, contact them and decide which one would be the best fit for your next product visual identity.
Hire the best branding firm for your next project
Digital brand identity design agency
📍San Francisco, CA 🇺🇸
Mozilla, Salesforce, Xero
Branding and Digital Creative Agency
📍San Francisco, CA 🇺🇸
📍London, UK 🇬🇧
Airbnb, Evernote, Twitter
Motto is an independent, strategic branding agency based in NYC
📍New York, NY 🇺🇸
📍Dallas, TX 🇺🇸
Google, Hershey’s, 20th Century Fox, NCM
Design firm experienced in brand identity, brand strategy and marketing website design company for growing startups.
📍San Francisco, CA 🇺🇸
Volusion, Truebill, Descript
Strategy and brand experience design company
📍New York, NY 🇺🇸
📍San Francisco, CA 🇺🇸
MailChimp, DropBox, Facebook
6. Red Antler (RED ANTLER)
📍Brooklyn, NY 🇺🇸
Casper, Google, Foursquare
Packaging and graphic design and branding company
📍San Francisco, CA 🇺🇸
Venmo, Dolby, PayPal
A company brand consists of several elements: the company’s name, logo, colors, fonts, mission, and values. The concept of branding is a form of marketing that seeks to set your firm apart from competitors. For instance, the majority of people who spend time online are familiar with Google’s colors. Both small and large businesses benefit from strong branding, as it is one of the factors that does attract new customers and keep the regular ones.
A reputable branding firm can assist you to define your brand, develop standards, and effectively translate your brand statement. To assist you in locating and employing a brand branding agency, we prepared this section, dedicated to the popular and frequent questions about branding firms. So, before we get close to the various processes that are happening in such companies, let’s start with the basics.
What is a brand?
A brand is a term that can be considered as a concept or picture that comes to mind when people think of a company’s unique products, services, and activities, both practically and emotionally. Thus, it is not just the physical characteristics of a brand that define it, but also the feelings toward the firm or its product. When exposed to the name, logo, or even the brand statement, this combination of physical and emotional feeling is evoked.
What is a brand design agency?
Branding companies offer a range of various services that are aimed at 2 major goals: creating new or refreshing old company brands and launching them. For new businesses, the branding process may include market research, naming the brand, brand message, and brand book development. This book contains standards for logos, color schemes, fonts, and style guides. Additionally, they may perform language studies to ensure that the new generated content and images will not offend other cultures.
For old companies, branding agencies often do audits to assess whether any changes are necessary. They also conduct various target audience tests to determine the most effective brand statement message. Additionally, a branding firm can perform a brand refresh that retains some of the original brand’s characteristics while introducing new visual elements. It ensures that existing customers maintain their connection to the brand even after the changes take effect.
What does a branding agency do?
Professional branding firms implement a lot of tasks that are very crucial for a business company, which are: brand definition, brand identity, brand positioning, and analyzing your target market with the relevant market competitors. All these components are directly related to behavioral psychology, and communication strategies, which is also a part of a branding agency’s duties. The main reason why they are doing these things is to directly assist clients in defining their company values and their positioning, as well as to maintain, and evolve company brands according to changing conditions of the digital market.
Let’s review each duty that a professional branding company does.
Market and Competitor research
All professional brand agencies research your target market to get critical information about your consumers and competition. They monitor the market and industry trends to develop brand strategies that are both immediately relevant and long-term viable.
Every branding firm is specialized to correctly define the purpose, mission, vision, and values that your company holds to express your brand to your target audience. That way your customers will see what kind of company you are, what kind of feeling you show them, and how you want your customers to treat your business.
Branding companies in the US create an integrated brand identity. It includes a name, voice, and logo that will be applied to your business products/services, target market, and industry. By creating a consistent brand identity, you will increase the chances that your target audience will trust your brand more easily.
A professional brand agency will assist an entrepreneur to gain a competitive advantage over your market rivals. That way your company and your product as well, will stand out among the competition while increasing their relevance and authenticity.
Brand strategy firms are constantly building marketing strategies and plans that cover more than just plain guides that are scattered on the Web. These professionals are constantly analyzing different marketing phrases that are thoroughly analyzed. This is done to develop your customized action plan that will move your active users to loyal clients.
Benefits of branding firm
Apart from the duties and responsibilities that a branding agency will do for their clients, there are also a bunch of hidden benefits that might not be very obvious. Therefore, below we stressed the major benefits of working with a branding agency.
- Lead Generation — Every brand expert undeniably assists in attracting new customers to your digital products. You may produce more leads without increasing the money you spend on marketing, by using the proper design, messaging, and strategy.
- Brand Reputation — Your website is directly representing who you are as a firm. By partnering with a branding firm, you will enhance the quality of your comps image, giving it a more professional visual layout and embedding confidence in your team’s talents.
- Space for other activities — SMB owners already have enough tasks on their hands and sometimes they even worry about learning how to use graphic design tools for website creation. Working with a branding firm, a similar entrepreneur will be freed from such worries by enabling a dedicated team of designers to design successful marketing websites without stopping your current business operations that generate income.
- A reliable partner — If your team lacks considerable expertise in building or redesigning brands, then it’s better to use it in other significant areas and cooperate with a branding firm. By doing so, you can obtain all of the branding aspects that you desired without reducing your business’s reputation.
How much do branding services cost?
The average charge per hour for a professional US branding agency starts from $125 to $200 and may rise even further. The total sum depends on your business requirements and the custom tasks that you want to accomplish with a branding agency. The easiest approach to determine the cost of your project is to contact several providers and seek a quote. After you’ve described your requirements, each branding agency will be able to estimate the number of working hours and a realistic estimate of the total costs.
It might be tempting to choose the cheapest branding agency out there. However, without a proper assessment of their skills and expertise, you are risking wasting your own money. Rather than choosing a branding agency based on price, evaluate services that they offer, industry emphasis, client reviews, and expertise. If you choose just based on pricing, you may discover that the cheapest provider lacks the necessary team size to suit your demands, or that you will need to spend more money elsewhere for other related marketing services or tasks.
To be more precise with the prices, let’s assume that you need a new company name, logo, and distribution across specific channels. For doing tasks like these, a professional branding firm may charge between $23,000 and $250,000 or more.
However, if you require only a new logo, your expenses may be from $3,500 to $150,000. Below, we provided some other common estimates that a business owner can expect from a professional brand design agency.
- Brand Creation: from $10,000 to $75,000
- Website & Marketing: from $10,000 to $250,000
- Brand Promotion & Advertisements: from $10,000 to $1 million
What are the core brand strategy agency services?
There are a lot of services that branding firms do handle and maintain. The major ones are the design of the logo, creation of branding message, brand positioning, branding voice, style guide, and social media marketing. With that being said, they support businesses in the most effective way possible. These six brand strategy services can assist you in strengthening your marketing approach, so let’s review each of them.
1. Logo design
First impressions are very important, and for your potential customers, a logo will provide the earliest sight of your company. A company logo is effectively the face of the firm, and it should tell prospective clients everything they need to know about your business.
Consider practically any brand, what comes to your mind? Almost certainly, it is their logo. For the most recognizable firms, logos surpass cultural and international boundaries, becoming instantly identifiable throughout the world. Take the example of Coca-Cola, as one of the most recognizable brands. This may be an extreme example, but it demonstrates how critical a strong logo is for capturing the attention of buyers in crowded markets.
Without saying a single word, a logo can demonstrate almost everything about your firm to potential clients. The Script for Coca-Cola symbolizes the company’s long history and a core product that has stayed essentially unchanged for more than a century. The owners are aware of the benefit they are receiving. Maintaining a vintage logo year after year helps convey the message that the product has withstood the test of time and that there is no need to fix what isn’t broken.
Branding companies can assist in the creation of logos that constantly attract the eye of the customers. They establish a distinct brand and communicate fundamental business principles. Whether a business wishes to emphasize its historic roots, innovative and disruptive ideas, or unflinching professionalism, logo design services can create an ideal visual depiction of those values.
2. Brand statement
A brand statement should answer the questions that are directly connected with your unique value proposition. The customers should see why exactly it encapsulates everything about your business, from marketing plan to relevant content production. The brand statement does consist of the following parts:
- Unique value proposition
- Key differentiators
- Brand principles
- Target audience
- Product positioning
Everything your business says should have a purpose, and that purpose should always be consistent with your brand messaging. Consider Subway. It operates a fairly successful, fast-food business that could last for decades. Today, it is the country’s largest fast-food chain, accounting for 18.5 percent of the overall market. Subway’s success has been largely attributed to its marketing shift to cater to health-conscious consumers.
Businesses can receive expert help on how to design the proper brand statement for their audience, industry, and organization by partnering with a brand agency. In some circumstances, a minor change to a current technique may suffice, while in others, a complete rebranding is required.
3. Brand positioning
While brand positioning is frequently confused with the brand statement, it is significant to implement it. In a nutshell, brand positioning is the process through which you differentiate yourself from the competitors. If you do not have a clear answer to your unique selling proposition, convincing potential clients to choose your firm over another will be tough.
However, branding agencies can assist with this too. They can evaluate what customers want, what your business can realistically deliver, and how those products compare to those of your competitors through market analysis.
The development process of a branding strategy is all about aligning your capabilities with the expectations and needs of your customers. The purpose of the brand agency is not to overstate their work. They just want to dive deep into what makes your firm distinctive and create an effective strategy for highlighting those assets.
4. Brand voice
Brands have a distinct way of expressing themselves. Some are approachable, some are irreverent, while others are aspirational. It is critical to establish a brand voice and apply it to all marketing activities, and consumer interactions. Having a strong brand voice helps to solidify your company’s identity, and erase any divergence that has the power to hurt your firm.
Numerous businesses want direct assistance during the creation process of brand voice. Again, branding companies conduct in-depth analyses of your target market sector, consumer base, and corporate culture to establish the appropriate approach. For example, a fun, conversational brand voice is unlikely to be appropriate in the financial services industry, where customers seek expert assistance and counsel.
5. Style guide
Style guidelines can be used to precisely define your brand’s voice, statement, design, and more. They demonstrate to your team and business partners how to preserve consistency in various contexts. The appropriate brand color will be applied to design layouts, and the most effective methods of communicating with your primary audience are going to be identified. In a nutshell, it serves as a bible. The brand agency will assist in the development of precise style guides to ensure how to best represent your brand.
6. Social media
Numerous businesses face difficulties with promoting their company through social media. You want your brand to be consistent across all mediums. Businesses must find a way to remain true to their brand statement, voice, and values while leveraging the natural capabilities of social media. It’s a delicate act, and many organizations fail miserably.
That is why partnering with an experienced branding firm may be quite beneficial. They have an in-depth understanding of what content performs well on specific media channels and how to use them without losing brand consistency.
How do I start a branding company?
If you decide to take a path for developing your brand agency, there are quite a lot of things that you should carefully consider. For you to keep ahead of the competition, one has to develop a scalable business plan combined with innovation. However, this point alone won’t bring you close to your great destination. For that reason, there are other 5 important factors that you should always keep in mind.
1. Brand experience
A brand company cannot simply implement projects without having solid experience in them. When you start your first branding company, keep in mind that the first few projects are going to be either free ones or done with some kind of benefit (like mentioning a branding company on a client’s social media channels). You should have a good portfolio and experience to have a pool of active clients.
2. Clear positioning
Your clients should clearly understand what your brand stands for. That is why an established and effective marketing plan should not be abandoned in the name of novelty. When change is necessary, the difficulty is to reinterpret the brand positioning in a way that is culturally and historically relevant.
While innovation is critical to the success of your branding project, it does not restrict the brand’s practical benefits. A brand that creates trends rather than reacts to them is more likely to be perceived as unique and popular. So, keep in mind when you are creating content that depicts what your brand does stand for.
Consumers in industrialized countries nowadays have an acute sense of what is genuine and authentic versus what is superficial and artificial. They continue to gravitate toward brands with a rich heritage. Remember that, when you are building your portfolio and highlighting the most important details in it.
5. Corporate culture
Every consumer nowadays seeks out brands that express their values through their actions. It is vital to have a very strong and solid corporate culture between the design team and their customers. In industries, the people who are connected with a strong customer service component will understand the company’s brand values.
How do I choose a branding agency?
Without a doubt, choosing a branding agency for your own business might sound easy, However, there are certain things that an entrepreneur should always keep in mind. Here are a few of them that can assist you in the choosing process of branding agencies.
1. Analyze their area of expertise
We’ve already mentioned this point above, but it is crucial for you to always understand what kind of business area your potential branding partner excels at. Numerous professional branding firms offer diverse services for specific business industries. So, ensure that they have experience building strategy to create a brand and bring it to life.
2. Ask about experience
Carefully examine the agencies’ portfolio and the list of all satisfied customers, as well as the team members that may get involved with your project. This will provide you with a base understanding of the actual designs that your potential partners are capable of creating, the marketing plans they produce, and the results they are capable of achieving.
3. Ask their quote
While pricing should not be the primary consideration factor of choosing the potential brand partner, you should at least be aware of the fees. This information will assist you in finding a partner you can afford among top branding firms in the United States. Establish a reasonable budget and you will receive exactly what you invest.
4. Ask their branding process
Effective branding or rebranding requires a strategic approach, design techniques, and effective methodologies. Each element is a critical feature that a capable and professional branding firm can do. By partnering with an agency that is capable of providing a data-driven strategy, an entrepreneur can ensure that your work is of high quality and delivered on time and budget.
5. Understand the ROI
As the last point in this list, remember that sometimes it might be difficult to look past a hefty fee that you have to pay all at once or partially. So be very careful and take the time to analyze the potential for business growth before signing a contract. Conduct due diligence, ask detailed questions, become familiar with the pricing levels, and ensure you have a firm grasp on each employee’s competence and work history.
If you have already got a good idea of how you can assess and find a perfect branding agency for your project, we have a few suggestions for you. Instead of looking through tons of different agencies in a global region, why not look for local ones? For that reason, you might be interested in the branding agency San Francisco agencies article or the Los Angeles branding agency list, which all have strong candidates and quite good quotes. OR perhaps you will be more interested in a branding agency New York list, as this is a huge epicenter of all famous branding agencies around the whole globe.
How do I find branding companies?
The searching process of the right branding agency can be a hassle sometimes, but do not let it get you down. We’ve prepared simple step-by-step points that you need to consider when you are trying to find the right brand agency.
When selecting a branding agency, one of the first things to look for is a wide portfolio. While any branding agency will claim to be the greatest in your market segment, a wide portfolio demonstrates the agency’s level of competence, allowing your expectations to be met.
Without these expectations, it’s impossible to establish whether a branding agency’s expertise matches your requirements. It is not commonplace for branding firms to specialize in a particular type of business. Always inquire about particular instances of originality and creativity in their work. Along with that, the branding firm you will select should demonstrate the versatility of different traffic channels and how they are capable of retaining a consistent brand voice across all possible channels.
Always ask prospective agencies whether they possess the necessary competence to execute a branding campaign in your business. Remember, the goal is to locate an agency that can leverage its area of expertise to develop original, usable content that enhances your business’s messaging, design, and appearance. Discard any candidates that demonstrate exceptional competence in a particular field but lack an understanding of the unique elements of your firm and industry.
If an agency meets the criteria for a wide and experienced portfolio, the appropriate experience, and the ability to communicate effectively during the pitching phase, they must also demonstrate their capacity to communicate over time. It may take the shape of regular updates, status calls, or check-ins, but communication should always be collaborative, educational, and proactive.
Additionally, agency communication should include a detailed description of long and short-term goals, as well as a breakdown of how their team intends to accomplish them. The chosen team will not always be the same one that will work on your brand. While this may seem like a minor point, it is just one of several points that can hinder your communication. Your branding partner should closely connect with you to make it look like you have your team.
Successful branding efforts rely on evidence-based approaches for developing a captivating statement and establishing your brand’s authenticity. Without a well-defined methodology, a branding agency will not be able to correctly establish a connection between their client and the team and has no way of replicating previous campaigns’ success.
You’re unlikely to employ a branding agency to do exactly what you say since you are the one who is expecting that from your branding agency partner. By utilizing data, your branding firm should encourage you to solve past strategy errors in your current branding that are impeding your growth. While branding is difficult, a set of definite processes make the work simple to follow through.
Businesses may begin with an original logo design and progress through numerous rounds of logo development before settling on a final logo concept.
A branding agency should be able to demonstrate its accomplishments and explain its skills. Always pay attention to things such as data metrics, analytics, and reporting. Never forget to request case studies that illustrate the return on investment and overall performance of a client’s branding effort.
Additionally, the case studies shed light on which strategies the agency appreciates most in terms of the metrics they track. So, try to leave those branding candidates whose prior work demonstrates an unhealthy obsession with metrics that are strategically unnecessary to your brand.
What people say about this list of branding agencies:
FAQ on how to choose a branding company for a startup or an established business.
Some of the common questions people ask while looking for an agency
Q: How much does branding cost?
A: The price depends on a few factors like a scope of work, the size of the company or a product that’s being rebranded and the size of the agency. For example, some agencies provide communication strategy, set the tone of voice, etc. Others expect to get that from an ad agency that the client will hire prior to visual brand identity design. Also, a brand identity for 10 people startup and 5000 employees enterprise can’t cost the same price. The number of mediums, use cases and the overall legacy of the brand should be considered. Depending on these factors, a brand identity may cost from $20k to $200k+.
Q: What’s included in a branding package?
A: The scope can be different, but here are all the key deliverables of a full-stack branding or rebranding project:
1) Company name development
2) Brand story/positioning/messaging
3) Logo / Visual Identity
4) Marketing Website
Some companies provide just a few of these services and it is totally fine. In our opinion, for digital products, the bare minimum would be a visual identity and marketing website.
Q: What are the main geographical locations of the best branding companies and logo design agencies?
A: The tech world today is getting more and more globalized, and lots of key players are becoming remote-friendly. It is related to both their employees, contractors and external agencies they hire. Location makes a much smaller difference now. However, lots of brand identity design agencies gathered in the main tech hubs and big developed cities of North America (San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Portland, Boston), UK (London, Manchester), Canada (Vancouver, Toronto), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) and Western European cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris.
Q: How long a rebranding or a brand identity design usually take?
A: It all depends on the scope, but a professionally design visual identity in a brand-book with different rules, colors, typefaces will take anywhere from 2 to 12+ months.
Q: How does the brand identity design process look?
A: Whether you are brand new to running brand identity projects or looking for help in managing your clients and work, structure is the answer. Implementing a simple process for your brand identity projects, as with any project, helps manage expectations and keep things on track. A little upfront planning goes a long way toward positive client interactions and reduced stress on you as a designer.
Establish Scope and Deliverables
Before any work is started, make sure that you and your client are crystal clear on expectations. This should include a timeline complete with check-ins and reviews. Perhaps more importantly though, it should establish a list of deliverables that are in-scope and what is out of scope. The list will vary by client depending on their budget, needs, and your skillset. For example, you don’t want to start the project expecting to deliver a basic set of graphics and halfway find out they want their entire website redesigned as well.
Small clients may only need a basic set of assets like a logo design, web assets, and stationary. Bigger organizations may need much more for print and online documents, social media, and other mediums. Once you’ve established a basic scope, here are some of the elements you will want to discuss including/excluding.
- Logo — remember to think about variations like black and white, vertical and horizontal, simplified and detailed.
- Color Palette — agree with your client on what this includes, primary, secondary, and accent colors.
- Type/Font — include logo characters, headlines, body text, and any other variations needed for the type and scope of styles needed.
- Imagery — does the client need standards for things like photography, illustration, and iconography?
- Style Guide — is a style guide needed? What should it include? Consider things like data visualization, hierarchy guidelines, and usage of logos and fonts.
- Design System — does the client need reusable assets for app, web, and product design? Do they need or want interactive elements, video, and motion?
Gather Background and Requirements
Now that you’ve established what you are delivering and when it’s time to get to know the organization you’re branding. Ask for copies of any marketing and branding strategy materials they’ve already developed. You’ll need everything from their mission and values to target market demographics. If your client doesn’t have much of this you can conduct interviews and surveys to suss out what makes them unique. Find out what they like and don’t like. Go beyond simple answers by asking why.
- What brands (inside or outside their sector) do they admire? Which are they opposed to?
- Where does their brand personality land on various personality dimensions like humor, formality, emotion, and reverence? Check out The Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice for an example. You can customize the dimensions to suit your style.
- What adjectives describe them? Are they friendly, approachable, and earthy? Or are they more serious, sensible, and professional?
- What drives them? What are they passionate about?
Research Competitors and Target Market
Building on the previous step, do your own research on the client’s competition and market. They may have provided you with demographic information but the target market may have other important psychographic or geographic treats that will help you with your ideation. Psychographic traits dig deeper into what drives people, rather than basic demographic features. You can find out more in this Shopify video. In this step, you are looking for what’s working in your client’s market, and what’s not working, so you can identify traits you want to mimic, avoid, or use to differentiate the brand.
You may want to start developing parts of a creative brief to present to your client in the later steps. This should summarize your findings and present them with tools like personas and mood boards or idea boards. You’ve got a feel for your client, their company, and their potential customers. These tools help to pull together imagery, typefaces, and words that represent what you’ve learned.
Sketch and Ideate
Finally, the fun part starts. All your research and planning have probably got your mind buzzing with ideas. Sketch everything, this is the brainstorming part. Once you, and your team if you have one, get everything out there on paper or whiteboard you can select a handful to play with and develop further.
This is a good time to touch base with your client for a direction check. Complete and share your creative brief along with your selected handful of early sketches. It’s a good idea to stick to black and white with early options to avoid distractions for your client.
Create Several Concepts
From the several options you’ve selected, narrow it down further to about 3 options and flesh them out. Each concept should be packaged professionally and include refined graphics, typography, and color palettes. These concepts should be unique, impactful, consistent, and scalable.
Your primary client checkpoint happens now. Present each concept and have them select one. You may have to refine the concept further based on their input. Be sure to protect for this in your timeline.
Develop Final Deliverables
Take the final approved concept and run with it. Use your original scope as a checklist to ensure that you are not missing anything. Each and every agreed-upon deliverable can now be created, packaged, and delivered to the client.
Summary on design process in a branding agency
Getting the most out of a structured process doesn’t require a lot of overhead. A simple checklist and timeline will do. However, if you are managing large, complex client projects, high volumes of work, or otherwise need a little extra help, consider a tool to help you. Software like Process Street https://www.process.st/checklist/brand-identity-design/ can help you figure out what to track as well as actually tracking it.
Give a brand identity process a go for your next project and see how it helps!
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” — Ralf Speth