Price vs. Cost
In our last blog post, What Should You Pay for Branding? we gave a high level overview of the price tag you might find attached to a complete branding project: brand analysis, brand strategy, and brand systems. But beyond price, there is cost – the all-in accounting of not just the money but the time and resources that the branding process will consume.
More than Vendor Fees
The trick is to recognize all the ways in which branding costs you beyond just what the consultant is charging so that you can get a realistic picture of the various options available to you. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on the area that has the most hidden costs: brand strategy.
Brand Strategy is Smart
Brand strategy is the expert look at your company that is objective and identifies the critical facets that make you unique and compelling. (At Distility, we believe that expert is you – we just facilitate the process and help you gain the critical objectivity.) In many budget branding efforts, brand strategy (and brand analysis) is minimized or eliminated altogether. Business leaders fail to see the value in such expertise and objectivity. The result is that they go straight into brand systems – they just want the name and logo and website. But if they haven’t found what is truly unique and compelling, then whatever comes afterwards is subject to what software programmers call GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.
When Free is Expensive
Not only is it risky to ignore brand strategy or do it yourself, it’s not nearly as cheap as the lack of a price tag makes it appear. This approach may appear free, but it takes up your time. If your time is worthless, well then, perhaps branding isn’t the biggest challenge you face. Otherwise, you must account for the time you and your colleagues spend trying to get the unique and compelling part correct.
Agencies Take Time
Unfortunately, bringing in a consultant or agency doesn’t eliminate those costs. Even if you’ve engaged a team of experts to figure out your brand strategy, they’ll take up your time. They’ll conduct a kick-off meeting, compose a project charter, listen to everybody’s complaints about the current brand and their opinion about what should happen next, and then begin interviewing people in the company.
The biggest cost: it takes too long, people lose interest or change jobs
All of this takes up your time. If the experts could bill your time right back to you, they would. As it is, it’ll just consume untracked hours that never make it into the final accounting. Plus, of course, the actual billed branding fee, which may be substantial. The biggest cost comes if everything takes too long, people lose interest or change jobs, and the project loses momentum – now all the time and money spent are costs thrown away. You may need to start again from scratch. If you think “That won’t happen to me” please think again, and remember what Seth Godin says in his blog: “Branding is ill-defined, usually vacuous, often expensive and totally unpredictable.”
To close this blog post, we note that Distility covers this crucial step in the branding process in a way that is extremely easy to calculate. We do it for a single fee and one day of you and your team’s time. We call it Distility 1day1brand.
Learn More About Buying Branding
Learn more about hidden costs in our post The Hidden Cost of Brand Strategy.
Clarify what is branding and what is messaging in That’s Not Branding – A Costly Confusion.
Read our Free ebook Brand Scammed! How to Buy Branding.
Learn about saving time and treasure with our Distility 1day1brand workshop.
If you have multiple brands, be sure to get those organized before spending a dime. Read Brand Architecture Distilled: How to Organize Your Brands.