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How much does branding cost?

Branding is an umbrella term covering a wide range of services so it’s not surprising that costs vary widely. Why do some agencies offer branding for a few hundred pounds while others charge £50,000 and more? This article will make things that bit clearer for you.

Here's what we will cover...

The cake analogy

If you imagine your business as a cake, then branding is everything that is done to that cake to make it yours.

The easiest way to make that cake look unique is to focus on the icing. You can spend time choosing the colours you want to use and perhaps applying some decorative touches. This is what companies do when they have someone design a logo, choose a colour palette, select a typeface, etc.

Since this is purely a design exercise, costs are often affordable and you may even get change from a grand for a reasonably decent job.

But what happens if people aren’t buying your cake or don’t enjoy the experience? No matter how much you play with the icing, you are not going to enjoy long-term success.

 

From presentation to process

A more comprehensive branding service will look at your cake-selling process as a whole.

Agencies offering this level of service will also be interested in how your cakes look but as part of a larger whole. They will ask many more questions about your cakes. Who are you making them for? Do you create formal, multi-tiered wedding cakes; indulgent chocolate gateaux for your family restaurant or maybe simple sponges designed to fly off the supermarket shelves?

The answers to these questions will determine which ingredients you should use and the recipes you should follow. They will determine how and where you market your cakes, the words you use to describe them and the thoughts and feelings you want your cakes to stimulate in your buyer.

With this level of branding, we are moving from visuals to brand identity and you can expect to pay an agency anywhere from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds for this.

 

When branding meets strategy

Now you could have a cake that tastes as good as it looks and is popular with its intended buyer but is still failing to generate a profit.

This calls for some serious data-driven work in order to assess the marketplace and find a way to differentiate your product from the dozens or even hundreds of other cakes out there.

This focus on brand positioning will usually overlap with business strategy as you will need to combine the cake’s quality and appearance with efficient business processes.

An agency capable of working with your business at all three of these levels will likely charge tens of thousands of pounds and upwards (market research alone can cost many thousands of pounds). These branding agencies will tend to work in industry niches, using their in-depth expertise to add value.

 

Breaking it down: branding services

So far, we have looked at overall costs for a branding project but how might these numbers break down into specific services?

Here we are straying into ‘ballpark’ territory as there is a lot of variation in these costs. Some branding services (e.g. social media branding) are incorporated into more comprehensive digital marketing services so getting precise figures is never easy.

However, some of the typical branding services you might come across include:

  • Creating a logo – £500 – £4,000
  • Editorial style guide – £1,000 – £3,500
  • Visual style guide – £1,500 – £4,000
  • Brand book (combined style guides) – £2,000 – £3,500
  • Market research – £750 – £6,000

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