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.
The average small- to medium- sized marketing agency charges $100-$200 per hour. You can learn more about our logo design process here.
Brand Starter Kit
Logo design and branded marketing materials starting at $1,500
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.
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.
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. Do you know what happens when you don’t prioritize marketing? In my experience, businesses like this aren’t in business any more or they struggle to meet their goals.
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 you want a logo or even a one-time graphic design project, we don’t require an ongoing marketing retainer. Our marketing programs do not include time contingencies — you can cancel at any time. We don’t want companies to feel like we’re strong-arming them 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?
In any business relationship, it can be a struggle to know when you’re a good fit to work with each other.
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 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.
RELATED: Six signs your agency isn’t that into you.
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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