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How much should you spend on branding?

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Written by Flying Saucer Studio

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Our last article focused on how much does branding cost, and now we’re here to help you decide how much YOU should be spending on branding (yes, you!). Need a brush up on all things branding before we dive in? No problem, we have your back. Take a look at The Ultimate Start-Up Guide To Brand Awareness and then once you’re up to speed let’s dive straight into the nitty gritties of branding.

As you now know, branding is one of the most fundamental investments in your business. But knowing exactly the sweet spot of how much to spend is no easy feat. As a base, we recommend that brands set aside at least $7500 to get started and more if you’re looking for additional support. We at Flying Saucer Studio are here to help you create a brand that you’re proud of, we’re talking jumping up and down on the rooftops proud of, that understands who your company is to the very core.

So without further delay, let’s get down to it - how much should you be spending on branding.

 

Bootstrapped, Pre-Seed Round Start-Ups

At this stage, dumping $15k into developing your brand identity and strategy might take away critical resources you may need to grow your business. There are a lot of “rules” out there, but a rule of thumb that we’re fond of is to devote 5-15% of your total start-up budget to a branding project. That means if you’re investing $10,000 into your start-up then you shouldn’t be spending more than $500-$1,500 on your branding strategy. If you’re investing $0 into your start-up, then you don’t need to be a math wiz to know that your branding strategy should cost you precisely $0.

Whether it’s 5% or 15% depends on a lot on what exactly you’ll need your agency to do for you. If you want us to develop your brand identity, as well as the strategy for the brand and how those two play together – that’s going to be a bigger investment; definitely closer to the 15% side of the spectrum, and we would say approximately $15,000. 

This may not make sense for a bootstrapped start-up – you’ll need to take a look at your own numbers and decide how important being strongly branded from the start is in your industry! If you’re severely cash strapped – check out our resources on branding.

If all you’re looking for is a refresh in your brand identity – something that’s a bit more future-proof for your five- or ten-year business plan, that’s going to be a bit more cost-effective. You’ll be looking at a cost of closer to 5k than 15K. It’s not a one size fits all model, it totally depends on the needs of your business. 

 

The Middle Ground, Seed Funded Start-Ups

For the most part, many suggestions from above will still apply to you. Sure, you have more funding but you’ll still need to be strategic to get the most bang for your buck! 

We still highly recommend that you spend no more than 5-15% on your total start-up budget on a branding project. Thankfully though, since your total investment is higher, you’ll have a bit more budget at your fingertips to use on branding related projects. Maybe it’s time to contact a branding firm or even hire external freelancers for the job. Keep in mind, you usually get what you pay for so aim for the highest quality that your hard earned dollars can buy.

The Big Players, Venture Funded Start-Ups

If you’re a venture funded start-up your experience is going to be completely different from a pre-seed round start-up. We’re not saying size matters, but in the case of $1,000,000 plus budgets - you need to approach things differently. It might be time to look for a little help from your friends, also known as a professional firm. 

Now it’s less of a question of size and more of a question of who will be the right fit for your business or organisation. Look for a firm that has experience in your field and work with them to create the best branding possible. Don’t be shy to shop around and see different portfolios. Are you a lifestyle brand? Cool! Find a professional firm that has worked with brands like yours. Experts in the eCommerce world? AWESOME! Take a look at a firm’s past clients to see what they can do for you.

Now to the big question: money. How much will venture funded start-ups spend on branding? This depends, but it’s not uncommon to spend between $70,000 to $200,000 on the right branding. Obviously, the figure will depend on needs and deliverables, but you get the idea. Just a website could range from anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 depending on the scope of the project. Remember, like we said- nothing is one size fits all model. It’s about your business at the end of the day.

 

How would someone figure out what they’d want an agency to do?

Honestly? Book a call! Our Client Success Specialists are primarily focused on helping you narrow down the scope of what you need done right now, what can afford to wait, and how much you can afford to do yourselves. Come prepared to answer questions about the bandwidth of your current team members, the budget you have in mind to spend on a branding process, and what kind of timeline you’re working on – and let them ask the right questions to help you figure it out.

Well – there you have it. A breakdown of the branding process, and how you should budget for your specific needs as a business. Whether you’re bootstrapped, or a well established start-up with a couple of rounds of fundraising under your belt, branding is an excellent place to start when thinking about where to go next. Onwards and upwards!

 

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