Buying branding services can be a difficult task and it is often gone about the wrong way. Part of my job at Matchstic is to handle incoming requests from companies interested in working with us. There are different ways to go about this process, some that work well and some that can be time consuming and frustrating. The classic way to approach a branding company is through sending out a mass RFP (request for proposal). This is a process that is very tiring and cumbersome for all parties involved and often leaves everyone exhausted and the excitement of starting the project has been lost. Because of this, we do not involve ourselves in the traditional RFP process and believe that there are far better approaches when it comes to finding a branding firm that meets your needs.

In my experience, a much more efficient and effective approach is to start with an RFI (request for interview) process. Decide which type of firm you are looking to work with (local, national, small, large, multi-disciplinary, focused, etc) and go searching for them. Make a short list of firms that you'd like to interview in order to understand how they tick and how they will approach solving your problem. In that interview, focus on the following items:
• Understand their philosophies and methodology. This is the most under estimated aspect early on, but at the core of how a firm operates.
• What is their process? Does that seem to sit well with how to solve your problem?
• How do they structure a project team? You want to know who they will be working with and who does the actual work.
• What are typical price ranges and timelines that they are comfortable working with? You want to make sure those will fit with your needs.
• Do you like them? You are about to engage in a long process, so you need to feel out how well you will work together.
• After you have interviewed several firms, you have most of what you need from what you would have received in the RFP process and more. Then you can begin the process of selecting 2-3 companies to dig deeper into understanding the project and they can give you a quote with timelines, etc.

It is tempting to jump to looking at deliverables and pricing, but you must first dig into a company's DNA to see if they are a match there first. Developing a brand requires a strong and connected relationship between a branding firm and the organization that hires them. By making sure that your company’s core beliefs and goals match up with those of the firm you hire, you can save yourself a great deal of heartache and frustration and instead focus on creating a lasting brand that successfully brings your message to consumers and inspires them to take part in whatever product or service you are offering.

Author's Bio: 

Dan is a consultant for Matschtic, a brand identity firm in Atlanta, GA. To learn more about our firm, please visit us at