Brand Consultancy And Advertising Agency Defined

Nicole, a marketer in Montgomery asks: "What is the difference between an advertising agency and a brand consultancy?"
Derrick DayeJanuary 26, 20072 min

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Nicole, a marketer in Montgomery, Alabama who asks this about marketing partners…

What is the difference between an advertising agency and a brand consultancy?

Thanks for asking. Having worked at leading agencies (global and regional) and as part of The Blake Project, a brand consultancy, my experiences lead me to define the two like this:

Advertising Agencies traditionally focus on the execution of creative strategies. That is, they will determine the best marketing vehicle to reach your target audience and will use compelling creative to make a connection and entice a reaction. The best ones are strategic in nature and see tactics as a second step.

A Brand Consultancy traditionally lives by this philosophy: Instead of trying to communicate a brands’ features and benefits, they recommend studying the minds of the target audience first and then try to “position” the brand in the mind, taking advantage of the strengths of the brand and the weaknesses of competing brands. Further, aligning your brand’s unique value with those people most important to its future. This process ensures that your brand has selected the most powerful benefits to own and that it has developed the proof points and reasons to believe for those benefits. Brand consultancies also aid companies in thinking through brand challenges and making strategy-related brand decisions like how to approach brand architecture strategy. Some will also specialize in brand equity measurement and brand licensing and extension.

Advertising Agencies and Brand Consultancies both strive to create brand insistence – creating a ‘category of one’ brand with no substitutes.

From time to time each will work together for the good of the client.

While not part of your question, you should know that the best marketing partner is a specialist. Which means most of the time you should work with several partners, each specializing in a specific discipline. In contrast, if someone tells you they are a ‘one-stop-shop’ that is another way of saying they are a generalist.

Nicole I hope this brings some clarity.

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