If you’re reading this, you manage the marketing for a business, or perhaps you own a business.

You’re local, perhaps, regional or even nationwide. You have a product or service—possibly several. You have a team of talented employees and you make sure to keep your promises—whatever it takes. You try your best to overdeliver every chance you get because your goal is to go further and forward in your industry, be it real estate, hospitality, service, retail, education, construction or one of many others.

Ultimately, your hard work has led to a level of success. But even though you’ve done well by the standards of others, you believe, or may not realize something is missing. It’s easy to ignore and easier to do what you’ve always done. Finding your true voice or personality, what others think of you and how they perceive your company, is a journey unto itself. A potential yet to be achieved perhaps in your company—And the ability to know how to get there. Developing a true brand.

This is where marketing communications comes in. And leveraging the right company to help get you there.

A marketing agency finds the missing link between your business, your customers and your goals. There can be any number of needed disciplines, big or small, more or less, to help get you there. Whether it’s a new campaign strategy and creative, targeted ad placement, hot-off-the-press public relations, raking in likes on social media, web design and user experience, or more—regardless of the discipline—it always comes back to branding.

Becoming a true brand is no easy feat. It’s one of the most difficult accomplishments of any company. An art-form far beyond what it is you’re selling. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing expansion of your company’s voice, requiring rolled-up sleeves and an obsessed team of experts to push boundaries, inform and influence how consumers can and should feel about you.

If you were to build a brand by yourself, the mountain of hard work would take away the time needed for your true expertise—running the business. This means finding the right-fitting agency is of utmost importance, so you can focus on your daily operations and accomplish company goals.

Entrusting a marketing agency to get you there is filled with expensive risk. How will they know what to do? They couldn’t possibly know and advocate as you can. They haven’t toiled in your business with blood, sweat and tears to know what to do. The right agency will.

They’ll take the time at the onset, mitigating risk by leveraging intelligence over ‘instincts.’ The right agency will ask intensive and seemingly useless questions, or perhaps some you never even thought of, to formulate the most educated and expert guidance. Not generic—Questions customized, specifically related to your business and your industry.

Both our questions and your answers will lead you to a path of discovery. Like who your unspoken competitor is. And, not just who is your customer, but who are your very best customers, and what they expect of your brand—why they’re such raving fans? You may discover threats you didn’t know existed or rather new avenues for growth. You may even discover how technology and innovation can help your customers buy faster and easier, improving their buying experience.

The goal, through this onboarding, is to learn about and to know your business as well as you do. With your answers, the right agency will carve out the best strategies needed to share your company’s true personality you want customers to have an affinity for and aspire to be a part of.

It’s important to note, the right agency has both unteachable talent and expert skill. They develop your precise roadmap to find your brand’s most authentic voice. This combination of tools and expertise provides the most creative solutions, such as messaging and tone, proper color palette, publishing the right newsworthy stories, the use of influencers, engaging strategies, eye-catching imagery, and the list goes on, in setting your brand apart.

There are always new solutions in the making because your brand’s story has no end. It starts with marketing and continues with you, operating as the company you’ve set out to be.

While it’s important for success, marketing is merely the engine of this story. Your business must work in parallel operating to increase customer retention, improve your products, increase quality of service, expand consumer education, reward loyalty, and everything else that makes it tick. Because whatever this new voice promises, your company must deliver.

Often, we find a company’s morale can actually improve just by revealing their true brand voice. They know who they work for and what they stand behind, for the first time ever. Employees feel a new sense of purpose tied to their jobs. You feel it in the air. The entire company, the employees, and the culture—changed for the better. And along the way, you unlock hordes of new customers as your business claims true staying power atop a new share of the market.

Above all, your agency must define what you and your company stand for. And only after, discover the brand voice within your business. Then, by amplifying this message, the magic truly does happen.

We hope you have enjoyed this first article in our Guiding Light series—We’re only scratching the surface. Stay tuned for more as we go deeper into the making of a brand. In our next articles, you will learn the importance of goal setting, budget limitations, and how an agency navigates this through real strategic marketing.