Breakdown of Branding Process

By Blo Creative

August 4, 2022

In our previous post, Disclosing Agencies Pricing Models, we covered how marketing, advertising, and design agencies price their services. In this chapter, we’ll cover prices for projects.

One of the many reasons why agencies don’t like to publicly state their prices is because:

  • They don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver.
  • It’s hard to find one-size-fits-all solutions, since every client and every business is unique, and thus deliverables are different.

To overcome this problem agencies tend to scope the work and create a tailored quote that fits the client's needs. Remember how we talked about Discovery sessions in our previous chapter?

So this in mind, a Complete Brand Architecture will cost anything from 10K€ to 250K€, or more. You don’t need a fancy education to understand that this is a huge price range. But to understand why the range is so vast, you probably must read this article through.

What variables pump up the price?

A lot of the costs are generated from the research phase. Another factor is the risk. When thinking in a strategic context, you have to deeply understand the business and its variables to be able to design a brand that truly fits for every stakeholder. The research phase alone consists of at least four elements:

Internal Brand Audit:

Interviewing leaders, employees, and stakeholders

External Brand Audit:

Interviewing current and potential customer base

Communications Audit:

What kind of message is currently put out? Is it effective? Are there any changes coming up?

Competitive Audit:

What are competitors doing? Who they are? How does your business differentiate?

Let’s put this into perspective. We can all agree that this process and the time & effort involved are vastly different for a small business owner with four employees than it is for a multi-national corporation like PepsiCo. On the latter, there’s also greater risk involved. The more complex the brand, the more data you require (qualitative and quantitative), The more you have employees, the more interviews need to be done. And so on.

Imagine that the Pepsi brand wanted a new logo. It would have to be printed out to millions and millions of products, daily. Not to mention all other merchandise, sponsorships, etc. The agency has to get it right. Because there is so much risk involved, even more time is being used on research and testing with a live audience. And because of this level of risk, companies like PepsiCo are willing to pay a whopping 1 million for a logo design that anyone could draw. It’s not the design skill they end up paying for, it’s the amount of risk involved.

Breakdown of project costs with a Design Agency

Complete Brand Architecture (10K€ to +250K€)
  • Consists of: research, audits, concepting, clarifying, creating, delivering, managing
  • Cost drives: brand complexity, process type(s), business size, type of research
Website Design (5K€ to +150K€)
  • Consists of: research, planning, and execution (UX, UI, prototype, backend, frontend, QA, launch).
  • Cost drives: Size of the website, integration needs, design, hosting, content
Miscellaneous Design that follows a pre-built brand guideline (250€ to 5K€)
  • Consists of: interview, design process, deliverables
  • Cost drives: the number of design assets needed, timeline

Congratulations! You’ve completed first step of the branding process.

Research is just the beginning. Now we need to bring the brand into life. This is the part of the process where designers start to come out of their caves.

Below is an infographic of complete branding process.

Preparing for a discussion

It’s not unusual to be afraid of talking about money. But in the end, the budget has to be addressed at some point in the journey. Just remember that no agency is there to judge your budget. And if for some reason is, maybe that’s an agency you shouldn’t be working with in the first place. But, generally speaking, if your budget is too small for the agency you are talking with, they usually help you to find a more suitable agency for your budget and needs. So don’t sweat it!

When starting a discussion with an agency:

Have an estimate of your budget in mind

Not everyone knows the exact budget at the beginning of a discussion. More often than not it turns out to be the agency that tells you what the budget should be to achieve the results and goals you want to have. Having a rough estimate is far better than not being sure if you’re going to invest 5.000€, 200.000€, or 1 000.000€.

Have an estimate of the timeline in mind

This helps the agency to determine what kind of resources are needed to complete the project within the proposed timeline, or if it’s even possible without exceeding the deadline.

Identify and separate “nice-to-haves” from necessities

Understanding what change actually might benefit your business is crucial. Agencies love to do cool stuff but even more, we love to help the customer to prosper. Your agency will also help you to identify what should be done in order to achieve your goals, however, you are the expert of your business.