Branding project costs vary drastically. On the extreme ends of the spectrum, you'll find high-profile branding projects that cost millions. While on the other end of the spectrum, you can also find freelance designers who can quote you a few hundred dollars for a logo design.
That's why many new businesses struggle with branding and wonder how to create a quality brand without breaking the bank.
Before you start shopping around for branding experts and agencies, get clear on what you mean by branding.
What does branding mean to you?
Branding can mean one or any of the following elements:
Refers to your overall business strategy, commitment to your market, and how you plan to deliver a consistent and profitable customer experience.
Your brand positioning can include your business plan, market research, key metrics like customer acquisition and business operation costs, and other key elements that you would have in your Pitch Deck.
That's why most designers and marketing agencies offer visual and communication services. Very few will address your business and brand strategy. It is not their job to tell you how to set up and run your business.
Refers to your key message, unique value proposition, and other content that conveys your brand story and what makes you better than the competition. A brand messaging project can include your tagline, mission statement, vision statement, core values, advertising, and other marketing-oriented content. Copywriters will expect you to provide the overall brand strategy and data on your target market and objective. They can help you take your vision and convert it to words that drive action.
Refers to your logo, fonts, colors, and how they appear on your marketing collateral. A visual brand project would include your logo, visual style guide, and templates for your marketing collateral, like your website, presentations, newsletters, emails, business cards, etc. The more items you need, the higher the price will be. Designers will expect you to provide the messaging and approve the final work.
How well do you know your brand?
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to know your market, what they need, and how much they are willing to spend to buy your solutions. You are also responsible for checking patent and trademark databases to ensure that your messaging and design do not infringe on copyrighted and protected material.
You’ll have to provide strategic guidance to the designers and branding agency on your business vision and objectives and give the final approval for any content and design. You’ll also have to contact lawyers to file trademarks and patents related to your brand if needed. Legal filings include all related details of the design process.
That’s why established companies and government organizations will typically go to a high-profile agency and pay hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars for a branding project.
They are willing to pay the extra costs to get more accurate market data, ensure global legal compliance and avoid conflict of interest with other established brands. Additional charges can include related tasks like updating the messaging and design on all media channels.
How much should you spend on your branding project?
How much you spend on branding will depend on your core objective and what type of help you need.
You can get your branding project done on a tight budget if you have the knowledge and expertise to hire and guide a designer and copywriter.
If you need more strategic guidance on your brand strategy and messaging, you will need to engage an agency with experience creating similar solutions in your industry.
Make a list of what you and your team bring to the table, then find an agency that can help you by filling the missing gaps.
There is no such thing as one size fits all branding. Focus on your objective first.
If you have a new business, limited resources, and still don’t have market validation, opt for a starter visual brand that can help you create initial credibility to attract your first few clients.
As your business grows, dedicate a percentage of your revenue towards branding and marketing. Invest that money into creating a more strategic and dynamic brand messaging and advertising that appeals to your target market.
Revisit your brand each year and assess if you need to make updates. Test different messages and see which ones resonate more with your market.
Remember, the market is constantly evolving. You’ll need to make ongoing updates to maintain a relevant brand.
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