A brand is all about the ‘feeling’ it creates on people’s minds. That feeling is built with the help of (1) strategy and (2) design.
A perfectly crafted strategy may not work if paired with wrong design. Gorgeous design, on the other hand, may fail with the lack of a strong brand strategy. Therefore, you need to have both. But how? Will you be able to afford it?
1. Brand Strategy
Don’t Let The Term Scare You
The term ‘Branding Strategy’ may sound a bit too big, technical or scary. You may not want to deal with things like ‘value proposition’, ‘brand architecture’, ‘brand ambassador’, etc. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t think of big corporations or cold PowerPoint slides when you think about branding. Almost everything in your daily life can be evaluated with the ‘branding mindset’. Even yourself!
If a survey is conducted about you, among the people who know you well, there would be some common adjectives put on the table. The sum of those is your brand.
A brand is neither a logo, a slogan, or an advertising campaign. It is what people think about it.
Is It Really Necessary?
No matter what your company does or which industry it serves, brand strategy is mandatory for every entity that offers a product or service, to be able to stand out and stay strong.
Ask yourself these five questions:
- Who is my brand?
- Who needs to know?
- Why should they care?
- How will they find out?
- What do I want them to do?
If you have clear answers, you are a member of the lucky minority who has a strong brand with which people fall in love. However, if you’re not so confident about your answers, your brand may be undermining your business success instead of fully contributing to its growth.
How Much Does Brand Strategy Cost?
Brand strategy has many different components. Your strategist (or agency) can help you define your needs and give you a quote accordingly.
Depending on your situation, you may only need name development, or you may need multiple elements such as competitive analysis, trend analysis, positioning, brand story, communication plan and more.
If you are a start-up company or a small business, a solid brand strategy package may cost you around $5,000–$15,000. If you have a larger scaled operation like a multinational corporation, or if you are responsible for a touristic destination, then you may need some serious research to be made, and the overall strategy project can cost you a lot more.
The branding design should be formed with the lead of the insights provided by strategy. If the brand doesn’t clearly know who it is and what it stands for, then it’s almost impossible for its visual identity to make sense. It can definitely be beautiful, but that is far from being sufficient.
Why Is Logo So Important? Or Is It?
Before I started my own design business, I was one of the partners and the creative directors of a branding agency. In a meeting, we sat down with the CEO of one of the leading TV networks in his country, and we told him that their brand identity was outdated, and needed to be redesigned. He paused for a moment and said; “I don’t care if our logo is pink or black, outdated or modern. What counts is the content we provide”.
If we were talking about a small, local hotdog stand, his thinking could have been partially valid. If you open your stand in the middle of the busiest street, and your $2 hotdogs are really, truly delicious, then it’s likely that it becomes popular, regardless of the quality of your brand identity. But if you open a restaurant, it’s a whole different story. You have to give people a reason to open your door and get in. Your place has to stand out and give a message to the people on the street. The right logo is the first step to do that.
Your logo isn’t supposed to reveal ‘what’ you do. It hints ‘who’ you are.
In the brand experience, the most important moment is the first time the customer meets with it. In just a few seconds, he/she gets the first impression and already forms an opinion about the brand. At that very moment, your logo’s performance is vitally important. No matter if the person is familiar with logos, design, marketing, branding or anything along those lines, he/she ‘feels’ the value of the logo, and his perception is managed by it, which then affects his final decision.
A logo is not only an image you put on your business card, or in the corner of some packaging material. It leads to an identity system, which can create the entire visual world of your product or service. The Coca Cola logo has been the only and the most iconic visual element of one of the most valuable brands in the world. If you subtract it from that bottle, there is nothing left.
Your logo can also help your brand adopt a shape, an object, and/or a color for even more awareness. Think about National Geographic… That simple yellow rectangle on its logo is one of the most memorable graphic elements of our time.
To look strong and professional, to be recognized easily and effectively, to stand out in the competition, and to be prepared for the future, you need a professionally designed logo for your brand.
How Much Does Logo Design Cost?
It all depends on how much you value your brand, how much money you can spend, and what kind of service(s) you really need.
There are some brand owners who order an amateur logo online for as low as $5. On the other hand, BBC spent 1.8 million dollars for its rebranding project.
If you care for your brand, you shouldn’t go with the $5 option for sure, but don’t worry, you don’t need to go with the BBC route either. For roughly about $5,000-$15,000, you can get a perfectly professional, well-thought-out, long-lasting, world-class brand identity design.
Remember that those numbers can significantly change depending on what you really need. You may only need a single logo, or a system like FedEx’s:
In addition to the logo, you may need business cards, letterheads, envelopes, invoices, logo animations, presentation templates, ad layouts, etc. Don’t think that BBC paid 1.8 million dollars only for the logo itself.
With good branding;
- You make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Good brands are better remembered, known, and trusted. That is why buying becomes automatic.
- You make it easy for your sales force to sell it. If you have a compelling value proposition and communicate in a coherent way, then selling your product or service becomes trouble-free.
- You make it easy to build value. Whether you are a non-profit or a publicly-traded company, your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. A strong brand creates loyalty, which means repeat business, which means more revenues.
Long story short, good branding makes you earn more customers and more money.
Your brand is like your child. If you want it to grow healthy and become successful, you have to take good care of it.