Imagine you had to choose one of the following to develop a brand name and logo for your company:
- Your brother’s best friend’s niece who needs to do a branding project for her college marketing class
- An expert design firm that charges $100,000 for a brand package
A lot of good brand work can happen in between those two extremes. The secret to getting a price tag closer to the niece with quality that’s more in line with the expert lies in what you bring to the table.
Any prep work you can do before you meet with your agency will help you both get to the finish line faster—and faster usually means cheaper. Consider putting together a project brief (or ask your agency for a blank brief that you can fill in) that includes the following types of information:
- Project summary
- Target audience
- High level messaging
- Competitor information
- Brands you like/don’t like (and why)
- Colors you like/don’t like (and why)
If you’re rebranding an established company, be sure to share any existing marketing materials with your agency as well.
- Participate in brainstorming sessions with your agency. Being in the room during this process will gives you the opportunity to provide input and direction early in the process.
- If you can, try to be there for an in-person review of concepts, too. This allows you to hear first-hand why certain design choices were made, and helps ensure that everyone is on the same page with regard to fine tuning.
- Keep an open mind—communicate your feedback as clearly as possible, and then trust your agency’s expertise.
There’s a saying that goes, “a camel is a horse designed by committee.” Getting feedback from others is a good idea, but trying to incorporate the opinions and preferences of too many people will result in a watered-down outcome (or worse, the niece’s quality with the expert’s price tag). It will also add time and money to your project. Gather opinions, but be selective about the changes you ask your agency to make.
Keep in mind that with a smaller budget comes a finite number of rounds of editing. The clearer and more decisive you can be, the fewer rounds of edits will be required.
Remember that your brand is more than just your logo. If you’re not paying for a $100,000 branding package, you can’t expect to get all the “bells and whistles” that would go along with it. You can expect to get some combination of the following:
- A name (for new businesses or companies that are renaming)
- A logo
- Brand colors
- A tagline or other high-level messaging
Depending on how well you’ve adhered to the other tips above, you may even have enough budget left for your agency to create a simple brand guide, or possibly design a business card or stationery.
The bottom line is, you can get some great branding work without making a huge financial investment. Don’t settle for being an undergraduate’s school project!