I’m not writing this article with the intention to give you a dollar amount that you should expect to spend on branding. I’m writing this article with the intention to help you understand branding cost. By helping you avoid what mistakes are easy to make, and telling you why you should avoid them, my goal is to help you make better branding decisions for your business. Branding is the key to bringing everything together and having a clear, consistent message everywhere where your customers, and potential customers, could possibly find you. That brand consistency is what will lead to better quality customers, more repeat business, and higher margins in your company.
A common question I get asked often is “how much should my branding cost?” Well, I can’t answer that without knowing a LOT about your business to know what you really need, and don’t need. Branding is the way people perceive your brand. Everything your business does should be a part of that branding. Your website, logos, printed collateral, social media, marketing ads, commercials, etc. Everything sends a message about your brand.
“If you think your branding is expensive now, wait until you see how much it costs to fix it in the future” – Crystal D. Smith; President / Marketing Consultant, Shine Consulting, LLC.
It is imperative that you make the right financial and branding investments as early as possible. The best way to save money long-term is to spend more money short-term. You absolutely get what you pay for so be hesitate of options that are “cheap”. If there are packages, website, SEO, etc. that seem significantly less then the cost of a majority of the other quotes you received, be leery. Firms and providers will often charge more based on experience, their longevity in business, and their skill sets. What you are getting for that extra cost is almost always worth that extra cost. ALWAYS! Your branding cost budget will always determine what you get and how your customers will see you. This is absolutely the foundation of business success.
“Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms.” – Simon Mainwaring; Founder, at Simon Mainwaring Consulting
Here’s a short list of what entities are, in my opinion, most important to budget for and get right the first time! They are in no particular order & are all critical.
- Website Design – your website is often the first reflection of your brand and your only 24/7 sales force. Do not cheap out on a website! Your customers can see the difference between cheap design and high-quality design. Your website should scream your brand & brand message. That brand message should be STELLAR.
- Logo / Graphic Design – your logo’s job is to send a message to your audience about “who” and “what” you are. A poorly design logo with a bad color choice will send a negative message. Invest in sending the right message to promote your audience to do business with you.
- Collateral / Materials – I don’t care whether this is business cards, brochures, embroidered polos, tchotchke’s, banners, magazine ads, etc. That brand consistency must be in place and that message must be strong. These materials need to share the brand message in a way that connects with the audience either viewing or holding, those items. Remember, not only should you be consistent, but your message must ‘speak’ in the right way to connect with the audience. What ‘speaks’ from a website won’t speak from a business card so working with the right people and making the right investment is so important.
“You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place. “ – David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising.”
- Digital Marketing – it is business suicide to go the cheapest route for search engine optimization, search engine marketing, pay per click, etc. Digital marketing & branding ensures that your message is sent to the right audience. Getting in front of the right audience is what makes you more money. Significantly more money.
- Social Media Pages – I see a lot of mistakes when it comes to social media pages & marketing strategy. I see even more for branding. It should be clear that your message is the same, though communicated differently, on your SM pages. Your Facebook message is spoken differently than from LinkedIn, or Pinterest, but they all should clearly reflect your brand.
- Content Marketing – this is what will make or break you. Good content marketing can successfully wrap all your branding together and market it effectively. Many businesses miss content marketing altogether. Don’t make this critical mistake! Invest in content marketing early and often.
No matter where your audience finds you, it should be clear and consistent “who” you are, “what” you are, “why” you are there, and “how” you can help your audience!