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How to Build an Internal Team for Your Branding Project and Clear up Confusion

Creating Optimal Teams to Work with Brand Designers and Branding Agencies

We hire what we need help with in order to succeed. It’s the nature of good business, which is why you might be looking for a new brand, new website, or new marketing strategy. Whatever the case may be, without those design services, you’re losing out on new customers, market share, and competitors are pressing ahead. In this environment, it’s important to build the best team possible to work with an outside agency. Here’s what kind of people you need to put in your team, how big it should be, and ways to get started today.

How Big Your Team Should Be

Briefly put, 3–5. Imagine a 45-minute meeting (the most efficient length) with a maximum team size of 5, with 3 designers presenting from the branding agency. If they take just 10 minutes to present all design concepts, then each team member only gets seven minutes to speak, give feedback, share their perspective, and have their questions answered. Many more people than that, and it comes down to just one question and answer per person per meeting!

Whether the meeting is going to be brainstorming, discussion, alignment, action planning, or a decision making meeting, teams of 3–5 are able to work most effectively. 

Team Members to Include

With a roster of 3–5 people, it’s important to utilize different perspectives, use-cases, and establish a soft hierarchy. Let’s look at a quick outline of personnel before breaking down each role:

  1. Strategic Leader/Facilitator
  2. Creative Relator
  3. Logistics Manager
  4. Realist Achiever
  5. Analytical Critic

Strategic Leader/Facilitator

The Strategic Leader/Facilitator is oftentimes the one who identifies and initiates the process for a new brand design. This person is thinking about the investment in the organization’s future, where it’s going or needs to go, and how to get there. At smaller organizations, this is usually the person already at the helm, but in larger organizations, this person can be in the middle of the hierarchy or tasked with strategic projects, not necessarily full-company oversight. 

Creative Relator

The Creative Relator functions as an early adopter and propels the Strategic Leader forward. This person doesn’t need to be an affluent designer, artist, or marketer, but should have the desire to see the change through. This person will be excited for brand design meetings and keep the team going through any obstacles that might come up. If you can imagine an optimist in your organization who has the company's utmost success at heart, this is your person.

Logistics Manager

Logistic Managers are the anchor to the Creative Relator and Strategic Leader. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the business—what it takes to execute, maintain, and keep the business running from the trenches—this person is indispensable in working with the brand design agency. If design isn’t practical, then it’s not functional which means it’s going to be a waste. The Logistics Manager brings their expertise to the table to make sure the design work will be usable and therefore infinitely more valuable to the company.

Bonus Role: Realist Achiever

The Realist Achiever multiplies the voice of the Logistics Manager and the pace of the Strategic Leader. Oftentimes the most brash in meetings, this person speaks clearly in order to avoid confusion and doesn’t hesitate to set clear expectations. Realist Achievers are also the first to want to implement a new brand identity or launch a new website—or they’re at least the first person willing to get to work on it in order to see it finished. 

Bonus Role: Analytical Critic

Similar to the Realistic Achiever and Logistics Manager, the Analytical Critic boosts the strategic output of the Strategic Leader. Because it’s the role of the brand design agency to be creative and offer up visual solutions, the Analytical Critic makes sure to assess the other business outcomes along the brand design journey. Oftentimes, the Analytical Critic is quiet, reserved, and only needs one or two pointed questions answered.

Scaling Your Team for Large Corporations

There are businesses of all shapes and sizes, with some employing thousands of professionals. No matter the company size, however, the team structure should consist of the same core roles: Strategic Leader, Creative Relator, and Logistics Manager. To scale with larger brands, bring in the same core three from each major branch. For a University brand design project, for example, bring these three from the President’s council, the Academic heads, and Athletics. Each group can have each role fulfilled, or to reduce the total number of people involved, pull different roles from different sectors. Just make sure that there’s an equal ratio of each role in the total group!

With even the first three roles, you’ll have a team more than capable of tackling a new brand design project, no matter the scale. For those familiar with their colleagues, some names may even have come to mind when reading about these roles. It’s as simple as that!

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Kaleb Dean
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Building a great team is like building a chain—all the links need to be strong, and each link needs to follow one after the other.
The five roles needed on a team that will work with an outside creative agency like a branding studio, website design agency, or advertising firm.
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