Let’s get to the point right now — shall we?
Brand identity costs range as low as $5 to upwards of $5,000:
- You can DIY a logo on Canva for free!
- You can hire an anonymous designer on a service such as Wix.com or fiverr.com for as low as $5.
- Freelance graphic designers with limited experience will charge between $250 to $800.
- Designers with more experience and professional service will charge up to $2,500.
- A design agency with a complete top-to-bottom branding package, guaranteed high quality graphic design and expert advice will charge upwards of $5,000.
The cost of business branding varies depending on whether you want custom, quality design or something templated that looks … OK … on a business card.
When I first started Bragg Media almost 12 years ago, I charged $300 for a logo. Slowly, I raised the price to $600 and then to $1,000 for logo designs packaged with other marketing materials.
Today, our branding services start at $2,000 and go up to $5,000 for advanced packages. That’s a significant jump from $300, right?
I changed the costs of Bragg Media’s brand identity design services because we weren’t seeing any profit. After tracking how much time we spent on logos, it came to about $10 an hour. I could work at Starbucks and take advantage of their 401(k) program for that hourly rate!
What does a marketing agency offer that DIY logo makers or fiverr doesn’t?
Marketing agencies have a brand identity design and awareness process that looks something like this:
- research on your industry
- competitive analysis — because no one wants to copy what others are doing
- back and forth meetings
- edits to samples
- file variations — including vectors, jpgs, transparent pngs, etc.
- logo style variations — because there are times you need a horizontal
- shaped logo and a square shaped logo and an all white logo and an all black logo …
A logo contest or overseas designer price their logo services at such a cheap rate because they don’t take the time to understand your unique business, your location or your audience. They also don’t typically provide all of the files you need for your logo. If you have questions, they likely won’t return emails. Also, there’s a good chance a few other businesses have a very similar — if not the same — logo you just bought.
Branding firms or marketing agencies that also offer brand identity design provide an end product that is professional, eye-catching and one-of-a-kind — a brand identity that you will be proud to show off.
True marketing professionals also keep an eye on trends — not only in their industry but in business as well. This means that they understand your customers’ challenges, needs and wants. They use this knowledge to tell your brand’s unique story in a way that resonates with your audience.
Do marketing agencies offer scalable brand design?
Unfortunately, many first-time business owners do not budget for professional brand identity design services.
No judgment here.
When I launched Bragg Media, I didn’t have a business plan — not even a mental picture outside of “I need to make money.” It has taken a lot of hard work and leaning on business consultants and mentors to grow our agency. Being an entrepreneur is a love/hate relationship (similar to raising a teenager, my mom would say), but I wouldn’t trade what I do for a living for the cushiest job in the world.
Naturally, I love working with small businesses because of my own experiences. I see how hard they work and the passion that goes into their businesses. I want them to succeed.
I carefully considered this desire to help other entrepreneurs while weighing some of the challenges my agency has faced with brand design profitability. Together with business consultants, some fellow creative professionals I trust and even a few clients, my team and I came up with up with Bragg Brand Bootcamps. The primary goal with is to keep budget-conscious clients happy with awesome marketing services while placing value on our time as an agency.
How do we do this? By building in mutual accountability. The client needs to provide timely feedback by being involved in the creative process. Meanwhile, Mike and I will work side-by-side with clients to explain our process, show them samples and tweak as necessary.
- The Bragg Startup Bootcamp is typically for a new business that needs everything from the ground up — typically a logo, business card, letterhead and a one- to two-page website with minimal SEO. This starts at $5,000.
- The Bragg Tune-Up Bootcamp is typically for business owners who need to inject some life into their brand. In most cases, these business owners never had access to native design files for their logo. They’ve been using a degraded .jpg that becomes more pixelated as the months go by. This package could look like this: logo design/enhancement, business card, rack card and brochure and a more robust website. This cost starts at $9,950.
The Bragg Brand Bootcamps are customized for the clients’ unique needs. If they don’t need a website and instead need a lot of traditional branded marketing material we are happy to accommodate. Conversely, if they need a website redesign with added functionality and marketing automation this can be their Bragg Brand Bootcamp!
Before the Bragg Brand Bootcamp process even begins, we go through intensive consultative planning called the Bragg Strategy Session. This includes an interview with the client, research and drafting the Bragg Brand Workup, a written document with strategies, competitive analysis, audience profiling that aligns with business goals.
At the end of a week’s time, clients will have all of their marketing tools they need and a plan they can implement themselves or with us. There is no obligation for a long-term relationship.
Ready to get started with a Bragg Strategy Session?
Schedule your session today
with Heather Bragg!
Are professional branding services for you?
If I ask what your business goal is, I’d bet you’d answer, “to make money.” If I dig a little deeper and ask, “What do you want people to remember about your business?” what would you say?
Brand identity design is so much more than a logo. Yes, branding is the visual representation of how your business stands out from the competition with “a graphic mark, emblem or symbol” — so says Wikipedia.
Branding also is about the conversation people have about your company. Identity design connects the dots from point A (when someone has a need) to point B (your business solves those needs). Brand identity design brings points A and B together by creating a mental picture.
So, is professional branding for you?
If you have a budget that does not include marketing, then you should go the DIY route or an online logo contest. The free design resources and limited online graphic design services are great solutions for businesses who have the time and creative talent.
However, one word of caution. I hear a lot of chicken-and-egg stories from business owners. They need marketing to make money, but they need money to pay for the marketing. Want to know what a lot of these business owners who don’t prioritize marketing have in common? Some aren’t in business anymore and the others struggle to meet their goals.
According to the Small Business Administration, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Topping the reason for small business failure is inadequate business planning including workforce needs, analysis of competitors, sales and expense forecasts and marketing budgets.
How much does ongoing branding and marketing cost?
For business owners who don’t have the time or patience to train themselves how to create branded marketing materials, hiring an experienced and professional marketing agency will save money down the road.
If you hire an in-house marketing administrator, the salary will likely start at $36,000 per year — not including benefits, payroll taxes and insurance. The in-house marketing staff member also might not have the expertise, knowledge or training to handle advanced digital marketing efforts. You’ll also have the added costs of outsourcing those services as needed.
A retainer with a marketing agency, on the other hand, typically starts at $24,000 per year. No payroll taxes. No benefits. No insurance. You also receive the expertise and talent of a multi-person team for less than the price of an employee’s salary.
In the end, marketing agencies will save you money, especially when you establish a relationship at the beginning brand identity design phase.
Because marketing agencies do it right the first time. They provide all of the logo variations and files you need for successful marketing. They also have relationships with printers for high-quality turnkey marketing materials — from brochures and rack cards to direct mail, menus and signage.
How does branding work with a marketing retainer?
Many marketing agencies that provide branding services are poised to take over your ongoing marketing because they already know your business.
If clients purchase a Bragg Brand Bootcamp, there is no obligation for a marketing retainer relationship. Don’t get me wrong. We love long-term relationships. From a business point of view, that means consistent cash flow. From a creative perspective, that means we get to see the fruits of our labor grow into other aspects of your business.
Mike and I decided this year to change how we do marketing retainers. Instead of adding a 6-month commitment for ongoing marketing, we give you an easy out. We don’t want companies to feel like we’re strong-arming them into a long-term commitment when they aren’t ready for it.
That said, ongoing brand marketing typically looks like this:
- social media management, monitoring and reputation management
- email marketing including monthly e-newsletters or drip email campaigns
- content marketing such as blogging
- inbound marketing campaigns including ebooks with landing pages and automated workflows
- media buys and graphic design
- monthly analytics reporting and strategizing, etc.
How do you know which marketing agency is a good fit for your brand?
At Bragg Media, we turn away potential clients if they don’t match our mission and vision:
- If the client does not have a firm grasp of their own business
- If they don’t have goals
- If they don’t have a marketing budget
- If they don’t want to be involved with their own marketing process (feedback)
How can we help someone if they can’t help themselves?
Good marketing agencies will take the time to understand your goals, align marketing to meet those goals, test that marketing, analyze the results and reconfigure as necessary. They also provide project updates and other communications without the client asking for an update.
I have heard horror stories over the years from business owners who have spent thousands of dollars for a website only to have it held hostage by the web developer for not paying a surprise fee with a blank description. I also have seen businesses stuck with bad branding that repels customers instead of attracting them.
A relationship with a marketing agency is a business partnership because each party’s success is closely tied together. Just like a restaurant strives for delicious food and an amazing experience, marketing agencies should want their customers to sing their praises online and offline.
Brand identity design and awareness should be second nature for marketing agencies. After all, this is what they do day in and day out. They should have experience working with other businesses and possibly similar businesses to yours.
They will know when your marketing strategy needs a little tweaking or if it needs a complete facelift. Marketing agencies also love to raise eyebrows. They are always looking for ways to create a buzz about their clients.
What should you expect from a good marketing agency versus a DIY logo service?
More leads. More customers. More brand storytellers.
About this Blogger: Heather Bragg
Before Heather entered the world of marketing, she was a newspaper journalist. Today, she is best known for developing well-rounded marketing plans that focus on the long-term.
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