There's something I hear a lot that I’ve never been brave enough to tackle head on…. until now.
It’s a common question: “Why is branding so expensive? Can’t I get the same thing from Fiverr?”
In short, no. You can’t.
There’s a HUGE difference between what you get when you hire someone from Fiverr and what you get when working with a brand strategist.
Let’s tackle this one question at a time.
"Why is branding so expensive?”
Many see branding as an expense. They see it as something expensive that's just for show—that you buy to make yourself look better but it doesn't actually impact the growth or income of your business.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. Branding falls under the category of an investment.
You have to understand the difference between an investment (meaning, it will actually help you make MORE money) and an expense (which costs you money with nothing in return).
A strategic brand will help you make more money. Our clients have seen huge results in their business after launching their brand.
One client saw a 30% increase in their business from the previous year AND had to hire 4 new people to help handle the extravagant boom in business. Oh yeah, and this all happened DURING a global pandemic.
A coffee shop in tiny town in Ohio put their logo on a mug and sold 255 units in just two weeks.
Another client saw the number of client inquiries increase by 200% after launching their new website.
A skin care company in a small town in Oregon was able to land their product in MORE stores (nationwide!) AND was given more prominent displays in those stores once she launched her new branding. (Think right next to the cash register instead of tucked in a corner near knee level.)
Do you think those clients are concerned about spending a few thousand dollars on branding? No way! Because they were able to recoup their investment (AND THEN SOME) in a really short period of time after launching their new brands.
It would be different if spending money on a new brand was just a thing you did that cost money, like buying a car. When you buy a car, it immediately starts depreciating in value, meaning you'll never be able to sell it for more than you bought it. But when you buy a brand, you’re increasing the value of your business. You’re able to make more money, attract more customers, which in turn allows your to grow your business, continue making more money and gaining more customers. Your business is worth more because of the value a strategic brand injects into it. Basically, investing in your brand is the way you’re going to reach your dreams.
Notice I said investing in your brand. I didn’t say your logo. Your brand is so much more than just your logo. A strategic brand is the foundation you build your business on, and your logo is a stone in that foundation. A logo built on nothing is an expense for your business that may last you a few months. But a strategic brand specifically designed for your business is an investment that’s going to last you decades.
“Can’t I get the same thing from Fiverr?”
Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, DesignCrowd, and 99Designs are problematic for a number of reasons. I hesitate to even draw attention to them for fear of accidentally presenting them as resources but I want to address them directly. While each site operates a bit differently, the reasons they’re problematic are all the same.
These sites don’t just under value design as a whole but they don’t care about you, your business, your brand, or even the project you’re asking for.
Sure, maybe your brother’s friend had a fine experience with someone they found on Fiverr that one time but the vast majority of experiences aren’t like that. I’ve heard countless stories of clients getting ghosted after paying the money upfront, or being left with work that's unusable, or getting completely taken advantage of.
The experiences are typically frustrating, the turnarounds are slow, and the person you’re working with couldn’t care less about what goals you’re trying to achieve with your business. You’re simply an item on their to do list that they’re not getting paid enough to care about. They’re just interested in crossing you off the list.
Clients have come to us after spending hundreds of dollars on design work from one of these sites, none of which is actually usable. Or they've wasted 10 months trying to get a project completed that should have only taken a few weeks.
I understand the premise of these sites is intriguing. You can get logos for next to nothing, photo editing for $5, or maybe even get hundreds of designers to send you logos for free and then you only pay for the one you select.
But do you see the problem with that? Paying $5 for a logo means you’re likely paying someone $.25 per hour. TWENTY-FIVE CENTS. It’s impossible for a designer to make a living wage at prices like that. Or let's say you participate in the model that allows hundreds of designers to send you logos for free and you only pay for the one you select. In that case you’re not only allowing people to work for you without paying them anything at all, but you’re creating hours of work for yourself as you have to sift through hundreds of logo designs that are mediocre at best, don’t represent you or your business, and come with no guarantee that they weren't stolen from somewhere else.
It's about more than just saving money. It's about the type of business you want to have. Is this really how you want to build your brand? What are the core values of your business? Are these types of design sourcing sites in alignment with them?
Budgeting for the brand you want
So now let’s talk about what kind of budget to expect when booking a strategic brand.
Your brand isn’t something you should change often. Sure, you need to maintain it and perhaps make small adjustments as your business grows, but the overall core pillars of your brand aren't something you change once you have them set.
A good brand will last you decades. It's possible you may want to consider a slight logo refresh around the 10 year mark, but your core brand can last you at least 20 years, if not more! (<— This is exactly why you can’t build your business on trends!) Look at some of the major corporate brands. Coca-cola, Pepsi, Target—They may make slight adjustments to their logo every so often but their core brand never changes.
The longevity provided by a strong strategic brand is part of what contributes to its value. Sure you may be investing quite a bit upfront, but let’s look at the big picture here—that’s not an investment you’re having to make every year or even every few years.
An appropriate budget will allow you to take all aspects of your brand into consideration. Everything from copywriting and brand story, to the visual brand and website. This core work is what provides a strong foundation for your to build your business and allows your brand to live for years.
You probably get a new phone every year, a new computer every 2-3 years, a new car every 5-10 years, but your brand is going to outlive all those things.
If you take a $10,000 brand investment and spread it over the course of 20 years, it’s really only costing you $500 per year. Or another way of saying that is it’s just over $40 per month — less than your cable bill.
Your business is what is making it possible for you to live the life you dream of. Making and investment in the future of your business means you're making an investment in the future life you want to be living. I won't pretend like it's a small investment, and it's only one you should make when you're ready. But hopefully you're able to see it as the true investment it is, rather that just something that's pretty and expensive. Once we’re clear on the difference between an investment and an expense we’re able to finally see the value in something. And, trust me, a good brand shouldn’t be under valued.