Have you been asking yourself questions like these?
- I already have a logo, isn’t that my brand?
- What the eff is a brand, anyway?
- I’m a just small biz, do I need a brand?
- Is it going to cost me a gazillion dollars? How do I pick a company? Or should I pick an agency? Or should I call my cousin’s step-sister, Sheila, who used to make logos in her free time in exchange for a case of Bud Light Lime?
That’s a lot of questions y’all. Let’s start out by debunking some common myths.
#1: Your BRAND is NOT the same thing as your LOGO
Your logo is a pretty little symbol of your business. It tells people your name, gives them an idea of your style & personality, and a sense of your place in the market.
Obviously, a logo IS important. But is NOT the same thing as a BRAND. A brand goes much deeper than the physical appearance of your marketing materials.
#2: Your brand defines your strategy
Branding is all about clarity.
The best brands stand for (or against) something. They live and die for their purpose, their values, their goals, and especially their ideal customers. They are super clear on exactly WHAT they provide, and WHO they are providing it for.
It is soooo much easier to design a logo, website, urinal cake with your face, etc. once you know exactly where your brand needs to be positioned. Before you ever start on the design, make sure you know these things:
- Your why. Your reason for existence. Why did you start the business in the first place? Do you really love what you do? Or did you start because you hated the way everyone else was doing it? Keep that energy and passion present in your brand.
- Your niche. Find an area that you LOVE to work in, and then ONLY DO THAT. If you’re a photographer, pick your favorite thing and target that market. If you love babies, be a baby photographer. Dogs? Do puppy portraits. Even if it’s something weird, there are lots of other weirdos out there that will probably pay for it.
- Your target market. Meaning your ideal clients, the ones you would be pumped to work with every single day. All of your messaging should speak directly to them (and only them).
- Your voice. How are you going to talk to your potential customers? Are you hip & funny, or are you corporate & professional? Just make sure it fits your target market. You probably shouldn’t make fart jokes in your ads to upper-class soccer moms. Probably.
- Your service. And it’s pricing. If you’re providing a luxury service, price it that way. If your target market is 22 year old hipsters that wear suspenders and bowties, price it for them. They’re probably poor and live in their dad’s basement.
Once you know all of these answers, it will be much easier to design your logo.
#3: You need a brand
You should have already known I was going to say that.
So, now that you’re convinced…how much is it?
#4: Bottom line – you can pay however much you want
The options are endless. You can call cousin Sheila and pay in beer, you can go to a branding agency and pay anywhere from $20-60,000, or any number in between.
So what is right for your business?
It depends where you place your values? Remember the old Venn diagram from school? You can only pick 2.
If we generalize it, you basically have 3 options:
- The “Service Provider” ~$2,000
This would be your freelancers, students, Fiverr-ers, online shops, Sheila the Bud Light Lime-er, etc.
[Pros] You can get all of the pieces you need this way. And sometimes you can get really lucky with the quality (especially with the students).
[Cons] You aren’t going to get any of the strategic advice or recommendations. You will be on your own in a lot of areas. These options are your basic level service providers – you tell them what you want, and they do it. Even if you’re wrong. Or if you don’t know what you’re doing. The quality usually lands somewhere between amazing and “what the hell is that?”
- The Best Choice for Small Business ~$2,000 – $15,000
These are your more experienced designers and small design studios.
[Pros] The designers are seasoned professionals and know exactly what they’re doing. You can get great work for your logo, website, identity materials, etc.
[Cons] You still won’t get the strategic branding advice. You have to trust that you have done all of your homework in branding and marketing. With the higher price point, this can make it a bit of a gamble if you aren’t sure what you need. **Filament Branding fits here. Learn more about how it works here.
- The Big Boys ~$15,000 – $60,000+
[Pros] These guys go all out. They do strategic marketing research, competitor analyses, and provide great work.
[Cons] Because branding agencies typically cater to large corporations, you wouldn’t get the same level of personal attention as with other options. Also, the turnaround time for these projects is usually around 6-8 months to complete all of the research and design.
I know branding and design can sometimes get confusing for small business owners, so hopefully this cleared a few things up. And if you want my advice… don’t pay for your brand in beer.
If you think this would be helpful to any of your small business besties, please share it with them!
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