How much should you invest in branding your business?
How much to invest in branding your business entirely depends on your financial circumstances and what stage you are at in your business. There’s no doubt about it that branding or a new website is an investment for any business and that’s exactly what it should be seen as, an investment. Investing in your business on any level is a sure fire way to see growth and therefore it shouldn’t be something that you shy away from. I am a firm believer in the old adage “you get what you pay for” but ultimately if you are new to branding a business how much should you pay?
First things first what can you invest?
When trying to decide what to invest first you need to understand what different freelancers and agencies mean by the term ‘branding’ and what your ultimate business goal is with the branding project.
Breifly (you can read more in Brand Vs Branding here) branding encompasses three different elements. First, there is the visual brand that aesthetically represents what you’re all about: the design of your logo, website, and materials (Graphic Design). Then there is the messaging that communicates what you do and why you’re different, which includes all of the copy and your tagline (PR). Finally, there is the positioning of your brand, which trickles into your business plan and structure (Marketing and PR). Each of these is a seperate skilled discipline and different freelancers and agenicies will offer one or all of the above. As a rule I prefer to work with an expert in each of these fields – A jack of all trades and all that.
So when trying to decide what to invest I would reccommend you start by assigning a percentage of your overall yearly turnover (projected or known) to Design, Marketing and PR. What this perecentage is, is purely down to how much you feel your business can afford but I would suggest you start small, say 10-15% then you can always increase this at a later date. So, for example if your business turnsover £25,000 in it’s first year your budget for Design, Marketing and PR would be £2500 – £3750.
It is unlikely that you will need a new logo, stationery, product labels, website etc every year so in your first year I think it’s safe to say Graphic Design is your first point of call with any remaining budget being allocated to Marketing and PR. Then in year two splitting your budget three ways which will give you the most from your investment.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
Compare like for like
When you start looking for an agency or freelancer it’s worth comparing like for like, you need to look at what you get when comparing packages and pricing. For example, some packages will only include a logo whereas some will include logos, font choices, colour palettes, stationery and more. When it comes to websites, there are a variety of different platforms available WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix or good old fashioned programmed from the bottom up website. This alone may determine why some designers charge more than others.
Also look at the type of work they are creating, how does this compare with your vision for your brand?
Agency Vs Freelancer
It goes without saying that agencies are more expensive than freelancers. Studio rent, bills, wages, day-to-day overheads are all more expensive for an agency and whilst some clients like the ultra-cool, minalmistic studio space with a foosball table in the middle this experience generally comes at a price. Freelancers on the other hand generally work from home and their running costs are generally lower which means associated costs that are usually built into an hourly fee are lower. That aside just like anything quality from one to another can vary greatly so it’s always best to look around.