Welcome to another helpful dose of marketing insights.
Today we are talking about branding and the costs associated with it.
The cost of branding in London
Typically, in London for a sliding scale of agency outfit, you’ll be looking to pay between £20,000 all the way up to £150,000+. £20,000 being your smaller, less well-known agency and £150,000+ for the biggest agencies out there, global brand experts.
The cost of branding outside of London
Outside of London, the costs can vary wildly. There are still a number of world-beating brand agencies across the country, in Bristol, Taxi Studio, Birmingham, Purpose, and Manchester, Robot and Love, but generally, costs are lower than you would expect to pay in London.
Why are branding costs much higher in London?
The main answer is talent. Don’t get me wrong, rent and costs of running a business are generally higher in cities as a whole but a brand agency is only as good as the talent that creates the ideas and executes them with real energy and intelligence.
Depending on which brand agency in London you commission, you will be dealing with experts with a lot of experience at a high level. Having worked in London for 6 years at a very reputable brand agency and then spending time outside of London there is a difference.
Maybe it’s the energy, the scale of the city that makes you feel that way but generally, the clients and projects are bigger and with that brings certain expectations.
Now, I’m not saying all agencies outside of London don’t have the skills to pay the bills. In fact, what we are seeing especially with Covid and the reality of not having to commute each day is that there are a number of really good regional agencies who are cutting into the London market.
The talent is now realising they don’t need to pay the £5000 train ticket, and once they offset it against a London salary, and spending 15 hours a week on a train suddenly, driving up the standards in a regional agency becomes very appealing.
How are branding costs calculated?
Branding costs are linked to the agency brand process. All agencies have their own take on the branding process and some provide ridiculously bullshit terms to dress up the process to charge more.
‘Let’s wow the client with some wanky name for our branding process’, they may even claim to trademark it, oh dear.
Depending on the kind of client you are, you may feel like this is right for you because it’s different, ‘they’re giving me something different.’ Sorry to burst your bubble but they’re not, it’s just clever marketing.
Put simply, the process of branding consists of the strategy part and the creative part. My old agency calls this Logic and Magic.
Sounds really easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not and it takes time to do it properly and get it right.
How much should the logic bit cost?
Outside of London in the South East where we are, you would expect to pay between £2 – 5,000 for the logic part of the branding process. It is the foundation of how you deliver the visual aspects of the brand, without it, the visual part is just window dressing.
These costs can vary depending on the size of the business and the industry they are in.
How much should the Magic bit cost?
Again outside of London in Kent, where we are, you would expect to pay between £3 – 6,000 for the magic part of the branding process. This is where the strategy comes to life visually. It’s a really exciting bit for the agency and the client, as long as the standards are there and the process has been followed correctly.
What should I receive for the investment I make in branding?
At the end of the branding process, your business should be given a comprehensive set of brand guidelines that encapsulates your business’s story and why and how you are different.
It should then explain how to put in place the visual part of the brand across all necessary touchpoints from print collateral through to website and PowerPoint templates.
You will also be given all logo files as well as some application assets. These could be email signatures, PowerPoint templates, stationery artwork, and other elements agreed on in the budget.
Bigger items, such as a website, digital campaigns, or printed collateral would be costed separately.
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