Uncovering the Culprits: The 5 Sneaky Obstacles Limiting Branding Agencies to Charge Premiums

May 10, 2023

In today's cut-throat business world, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever, and that's where branding agencies come in. But their job is so much more than just designing a logo or catchy slogan - it's about creating an identity that truly connects with the target audience. Unfortunately, many branding agencies struggle to break free from a vicious cycle that stifles their ability to consistently deliver top-notch work and charge premium rates.

In this blog post, we'll uncover the five sneaky culprits behind this cycle and reveal how research can help these agencies smash through their limitations and achieve greatness.

Inconsistency in the quality of branding results

One of the culprits of this vicious cycle is the tendency for branding agencies to rely too heavily on their own creativity and intuition. While these are undoubtedly important qualities for a branding agency to possess, they can sometimes lead to a lack of consistency in the quality of work produced. Without a solid understanding of what resonates with a particular target audience, branding agencies may struggle to deliver the desired results for their clients, which can lead to frustration and disappointment on both sides.

The root issue here lies in the fact that branding agencies tend to limit themselves to secondary research methods, like poring over market reports, competitor analyses, and customer feedback. While these sources of information are certainly helpful, they don't always offer the depth of understanding needed to truly connect with a target audience.

To really get to the heart of the matter, branding agencies should embrace primary research methods, such as conducting in-depth interviews, organizing focus groups, and diving deep into ethnographic research. By doing so, they'll gain a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of their target audience, which will ultimately lead to more effective branding solutions that resonate with consumers and consistently deliver top-notch results for clients.

Guessing what the market wants to see

All too often, branding agencies make assumptions about what will resonate with their target audience, without taking the time to conduct thorough research. Unfortunately, this guesswork approach can lead to branding solutions that fail to connect with consumers.

To break free from this pattern, branding agencies must prioritize deep research and a granular understanding of the target audience. Relying solely on assumptions about the market won't cut it. Instead, agencies should conduct primary research methods to uncover the needs, wants, and preferences of their target audience. By doing so, they'll be better equipped to craft branding solutions that truly resonate and drive results.

Inability to charge beyond $30k

Another key player in this vicious cycle is the inability of branding agencies to raise their prices. Despite their best efforts, agencies may find themselves stuck charging the same rates because of inconsistent quality across clients. This lack of consistency erodes confidence in the quality of their work, making it difficult to justify charging a premium price.

At the root of this problem lies the same issue as before: a lack of comprehensive research. By relying on assumptions about the market, branding agencies are setting themselves up for inconsistency and an inability to deliver top-quality work every time. To break free from this cycle, agencies need to conduct primary research to truly understand their target audience. Armed with this deeper knowledge, agencies will be able to deliver consistent quality across clients, which will increase confidence and make it easier to charge premium prices.

Hard to prove Branding ROI to the client

The fourth culprit of the vicious cycle is none other than the struggle to prove the ROI of branding to clients. It seems branding agencies just can't catch a break, as they constantly battle to show the value of their work and justify their prices. After all, branding is intangible, and it's tough to measure its impact on the bottom line.

But let's get real here. The underlying cause of this problem is the same old story: a lack of research. Branding agencies focus so much on creating flashy branding solutions that they forget to consider how those solutions will actually impact the client's business. It's time to start tracking the metrics that matter, folks. Brand awareness, customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue growth are just a few examples of the metrics that can help demonstrate the value of branding to clients. With solid research in hand, branding agencies can finally prove their worth and justify those oh-so-steep prices.

Struggle to gain authority over the client

And the final culprit of this never-ending cycle is none other than the struggle to gain authority over clients. Ah, yes, the classic battle between branding agency and client - who will come out on top? It's no secret that gaining the trust and respect of clients is no easy feat, especially when clients are attached to their own ideas and opinions about their brand.

But let's not point fingers too quickly here. The underlying cause of this problem is, you guessed it, a lack of research. Branding agencies must take the time to truly understand the client's business, values, goals, and customers before jumping into the creative process. By doing so, agencies can establish a strong relationship with the client and gain their trust and respect. After all, who doesn't love a little flattery? By showing that they've done their homework and truly understand the client's needs and customers, branding agencies can finally gain the authority they deserve and deliver effective branding solutions.

Breaking the Cycle through Research

To break the vicious cycle that branding agencies often find themselves in, the solution is simple: research. But not just any research – primary research. This involves conducting thorough and detailed studies that give branding agencies a comprehensive understanding of the target audience and the client's business, values, and goals.

Primary research can take various forms, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic research. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, and branding agencies need to choose the one that best suits their research objectives and target audience.

In-depth interviews, for instance, give branding agencies an opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews to gain a deep understanding of individuals' thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Focus groups, on the other hand, are useful in gathering insights into the target audience's attitudes, opinions, and preferences by bringing together a group of individuals to discuss a specific topic or issue.

Surveys are also useful in collecting data from a large sample of individuals through a standardized questionnaire to gain insights into their behaviors, preferences, and demographics. Lastly, ethnographic research involves observing individuals in their natural environment to gain insights into their behaviors and experiences, providing valuable information on the target audience's culture, values, and norms.


To escape the vicious cycle of branding agencies, research is the key. Primary research can equip branding agencies with a thorough understanding of the target audience and the client's business, values, and goals. Armed with these insights, branding agencies can create branding solutions that resonate with the target audience, ensure consistent quality, demonstrate value, and earn the client's trust.

To remain competitive in a rapidly changing business environment, branding agencies must recognize the significance of research. By prioritizing research, branding agencies can unlock their full potential and deliver outstanding branding solutions that boost their clients' business growth. So, let's break the cycle and put research at the forefront of branding agencies' strategies