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Every design and marketing agency in the UK will have had walk ins or phone calls from new start-ups or small local businesses.

We often get requests for business cards, restaurant menus and ‘a simple logo’, but our pricing is can be perceived to be too high for smaller businesses, after all, there is always someone willing to do something cheaper.

What is interesting is the mindset and approach for smaller businesses is often the same – just get ‘something up online’, just ‘a simple logo’, just a simple menu – but you have to ask, is this the right approach? After all, your brand, your website, the quality of printed literature, they are all reflections of your service offering, and you will be judged quickly by potential customers.

Is ‘a simple logo’ good value for money?

When comparing costs of an agency to a freelancer or smaller design firm, there are common misconceptions that you are comparing a like for like quote. If you are quoted £350.00 for a brand from a small design company and £2,500 for a brand from an agency, it’s important to remember that although they have called it the same thing, these are two very different services.

From our experience, what you typically get from a small design company or freelancer will be a slew of logos, more than you can shake a stick at. They will gladly take a prescriptive brief and the designs will be based on what you like the look of, not what your audience expects to see. They will leave you to freely pick the one you like and there you have it; your brand is set in stone.

An agency will work with you to define your business aspirations, get to know your service or product, research competitors and support you in positioning your business. It will often be a team effort with designers working alongside a creative team with support from senior staff. They will draw on their collective experience and knowledge to push back on ideas that do not align with your business goals. You will end up with a carefully considered brand strategy, complete with positioning statements, tone of voice and brand assets for use across all medium.

The value of a good brand

It is true that there are many businesses out there doing well, who have never invested in a good website, or had their branding done by a good agency. Businesses that have found a niche, have deep rooted history, or they operate in a sector where there is no expectation to have an expensive website or quality branding. It is true that you can be successful without any of the services that we offer as an agency, but it is certainly much harder.

Your brand will define how consumers and businesses perceive you, it will dictate how much you can charge, and it will attract or repel customers. It is the cornerstone of your business, everything else depends on it, and it’s important to know that your brand is not just your logo; it is how you present yourself in every aspect of business and marketing. Your product offering, quality of service, tone of voice, marketing messages – every single customer facing aspect of your business will define your position in the market.

When you search for products online, do you trust every website you find? How many times have you come across the right product but had second thoughts about the website? What about when you visit a new city and walk through the streets, what is it that makes you pick one shop over the other, or decide where you go for lunch?

You will make your judgements quickly based on the visuals, the signage, the shop front, the furniture, how it makes you feel. Like a tidy builder’s van, good branding says a lot about your business and how you operate. It shows that you care about every detail. It will build confidence, eliminate concerns, and attract new customers.

So how much does a brand cost you?

It’s tempting to think that you have done well by getting your brand, website and printed literature complete on a low budget. Why pay thousands when you can get it cheap from a freelancer or a family friend? You do however have to consider the true and full impact of your brand. Had you spent that extra cash, would that have gained you a % increase in footfall, or would it have attracted 1-2 additional high value clients each month, would you have made more money each year?

It is estimated that over 1800 business open each day in the UK but over 50% of businesses fall within the first five years. We would speculate that a large portion of businesses that fail have not seen the true value of investing in their brand early on, and this has left them with a slow puncture that constantly needs pumping.

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