Getting started

Budgeting for branding

by Bence Bilekov — Last updated: 26 March 2019

Budgeting for a branding project for the first time can be a daunting task. The abundance of options and possibilities raise a range of questions. Where to begin? What to look out for? What are the realistic costs? How can I make sure I’m getting good value for money?

From an infinite number of logo revisions costing pennies to the billion pound rebrands of global corporations, the spectrum seems so wide that it is more confusing than helpful for small businesses and start-ups. If your company falls into one of those two categories, you can expect a good quality branding project to be priced in the realm of £10,000 – £40,000. In this article we’re going to break down those costs and highlight some tips and pitfalls to consider when planning your budget.

One of the difficulties in formulating a budget for a branding project is defining its contents or scope.

For us, the branding process consists of four inseparable phases: research, strategy, design and implementation.

Others may label these differently, but nonetheless these steps are integral to creating an effective brand. If a company is only delivering a logo and the visual identity, they are not providing a complete branding service.

If you are a tiny start-up, some basic graphic artwork may be exactly what you need before you invest in professional branding help. However, as a new business you might decide that making a great impression on your potential customers right at the start is important. In that scenario, you will need to hire a branding expert even if the cost appears high relative to your business size at that stage. Spending £10,000 – 15,000 on a new brand may feel slightly rash at first, but if you are committed and believe in your idea, that seemingly large upfront investment will pay off over the next couple of years as you grow your business — you just need to take that leap of faith!

Naming

Once you know that you need more than just some visual elements and you are ready for a full scale branding project, one of the first areas that will need assessment is your business’ name. The name is one of the most sensitive areas of any brand, because it carries so much emotional weight and people can be very attached to it. If the solution to your naming problem is not a simple one, you might need to dedicate serious efforts to it, which can mean an additional £5,000 – £10,000 in your budget. This figure will need to cover finding available domain names and social media handles, and of course the new name has to be trademarked as well.

Visual brand identity

You’ve created your brand strategy, you’ve defined your brand positioning and you have a business name, so now it is time to evaluate your visual identity needs.

The cornerstone of the identity is the logo, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Your digital, printed and spatial presence all needs to be tied together in a coherent system. This visual identity system varies so much from business to business that it is impossible to give an estimate without knowing the specifics. Every brand needs stationery items such as business cards, photographic or illustrative assets and a website. The design of high quality stationery will start at £1000 – £1500, photography and illustrations will likely cost between £2,000 and £5,000, and you can earmark anything from £4,000 upwards for a good website, depending on the complexity required.

Would you like to know more about the visual identity? We break it down in this article.

Brand guidelines

An often overlooked segment of branding projects is the brand guidelines document. Most people looking to get their branding done focus on their immediate needs, such as decorating their shop, or getting the website up and running. This is very sensible and the emphasis should be on the highest priorities, however long term planning is an essential ingredient of successful branding too.

Brand guidelines are necessary for maintaining a coherent brand identity for years to come.

Your sales team needs to know how their presentations should look, your interior designer needs to know what colours and materials fit your brand and so on. As your company grows, more people will work with your brand identity and they will all need guidance to do so. Brand guidelines can start as some simple rules for how to use your logo and extend to the far reaches of your visual identity, ultimately providing a toolkit to any designer or marketing team working with it. The fairly comprehensive document will start at £5,000, but the sky's the limit.

Tailored to your needs

Branding should always be tailored to your specific challenges and business needs. A good branding partner will be there for you to advise and help you shape your budget to make sure it is spent effectively, so that your investment in your brand will deliver value to your business.

Are you looking for a branding partner? Read our article about how to choose the right one for your business.

Are you ready to develop your organisation's branding? Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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