Questions we’re frequently asked

Hali Miller As an Associate Creative Director, I lead a wide variety of different projects—from packaging design to social media strategy. I’ve always got my eye on the next trend and I love pulling inspiration from bathroom wallpapers. You can catch me at the golf course drinking wine.

What is brand experience?

Brand experience is where what a brand stands for—it’s positioning, it’s foundational design components, it’s voice—meets the consumer and the interactions they have with that brand. The foundational work and brand strategy you can own, the other, you have to earn. As Jeff Bezos said “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

What are the best places to start with building my brand?

First off, evaluate what you have either internally or hire a firm to help you see what you have that’s working and where there is room for improvement. Usually the best place to start is in the foundational aspects of your brand, your logo, positioning, voice, story, presentation overall, user experience, packaging, etc. Once you shore up these key tools, you can develop experiential campaigns and extensions that leverage that foundation and grow upon it.

How to determine my company’s visual identity?

Your company’s visual identity is made up of your logo, fonts, color palettes, graphic treatments, photography style, and more. It also involves the way your audience feels when they interact with those things. We can help you look at the competitive set, evaluate the core pieces of what you already have and then super charge them to deliver the right strategic position for your brand.

Your portfolio has both packaging and other marketing materials on it, can you explain why some companies only have one or the other?

There are many different types of branding and packaging firms. While some firms specialize in one or the other, we specialize in both. BRIGADE offers two different types of engagement: Foundational branding and packaging and ongoing brand support. Foundational branding and packaging typically involves building a brand from the ground up, or refreshing an outdated brand, in both their messaging and look and feel. This is something brands often need once or very infrequently. Ongoing brand support involves keeping a brand relevant, and creating marketing materials that pay off the foundational work they have done. This is something that brands need to do regularly.

What is the pricing structure of working with a brand agency?

At BRIGADE we price our projects to reflect the amount of work it takes and the roles required to deliver that work. We, and many other agencies, provide access to a comprehensive and dedicated team made up of an Account Manager, Project Manager, and Creatives. We pride ourselves on quality, fair pricing, and agility — pivoting with you and getting you beautiful, strategic work when you need it. Additionally, there are lots of different ways to get from point A to point B, making sure you have clearly communicated your budget and desired outcome is vital in determining the right approach, and price.

How does social media correlate with my brand strategy?

Social media provides an opportunity to reinforce your brand strategy. How you present yourself across social media should ladder up to how you present yourself across all other areas — your website, over the phone, in person, at retail, etc. You should be presenting a consistent front (in terms of both messaging and look and feel) every place your audience interacts with your brand for maximum impact.

How many people work at BRIGADE?

Our team is about 30 people. We believe that collaboration is one of the keys to a successful work product.

Why does it matter how many people are on a design team?

We have a large enough team to have dedicated resources on certain accounts to ensure expertise and consistency. But more importantly we have a big enough team to really explore creative assignments, with varying points of view, and many unique artistic styles. Many of the brands we work with are in a pivotal stage where they’re looking for a brand refresh and a unique point of view. The size of our team enables us to offer a spectrum of solutions.

How do I choose a design firm?

“Chemistry” Is the age-old answer to this question . There’s been some research done around this topic and researchers have found that “chemistry” actually means thinking the other person was smart, or being impressed by their strategic thinking, or really liking how they solved their business problems. You pick people that you respect, that you like, and that you know you can create great work with.

How will I know what to pay for design work?

The incredibly difficult part of putting a price on an ask is the information imbalance that exists at the onset. Be truthful with your design firm, tell them what you have for a low end budget and tell them what you wish you had. Ask them to show you what you get for your different budgets. Wrap your head around the give and take for different expenditures.

How have I gone to three different firms with the same project and I’ve gotten back three different prices?

Did you have a very tight and clear creative brief that you gave to each one of the firms? Are you really comparing apples to apples? My assumption is that you’re not. And if you haven’t told the firm how much money you had and you didn’t give them a range for what you were looking for then they’re shooting in the dark. As mentioned before there are many different ways to get from point A to point B and different firms would solve the problem different ways . I can assure you almost all of them would be willing to talk about that price so that you really understand what they’re charging you for. Do not be nervous about asking them to really dig into the price. Talking about money should not be a dirty conversation it is absolutely vital to understand what you’re purchasing.

But why would one firm come in so much higher than another?

So how can somebody give an estimate for a $50,000 website and $150,000 website? Easily. I can assure you that both agencies have made some assumptions. And they could be wildly off. One estimate can include coding, custom templates, video and animated infographics and the other could be a stock template and not include coding. Ask to understand why the numbers are so different. I suspect during those conversations with both agencies you’ll be able to clearly suss out which one you want to go with.

So I did compare apples to apples, I know my brief was identical and I still got different prices—now what?

Did you look carefully at the portfolio that the agency put forward? Do you see their savvy and attention to detail? Do you see varying perspectives and varying styles on their site? Or do you see a single person posing as a larger firm? You get what you pay for. Usually what is increasing a price is time put into the design and approach. If you do not value extraordinary design then hire a firm with good-enough design and invest your money elsewhere. Our clients understand it’s an investment in their top line, not a hit to their bottom line. We also have proved for years that our value to work product is unparalleled.


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