Pretty logos. Peppy copy. Concise editorial and design style guides. Great branding isn’t just nice to look at; it’s crucial to set your green business, women-owned business, health and wellness company, or other small business biz apart from its competition. But how much does branding cost for small businesses? That’s not a one-size-fits-all question, unfortunately. Your branding budget should always be based on your needs, goals, and business-building priorities.
Just like the cost of a website, branding package pricing ranges from a “drop in the bucket” to quite spendy—$5,000 to $30,000+ depending on if you need to start from square one or make a few tweaks here and there.
Because that’s a large range, let’s break branding costs down, shall we? That way, you’ll have a better idea of how to come up with a budget for branding (or re-branding) your small business.
The Cost of Branding for Small Businesses in 2023
Cost of Brand Identity
Do you need some help determining your brand’s mission, vision, and overall business goals? Or perhaps naming your company or coming up with the tagline? These exercises fall into the brand identity category, and it’s something a skilled branding agency like ours can help you with. Or, something you can do with your internal team during a brainstorming session, or working with our business development consultant.
Most agencies charge anywhere from $150–$300 per hour for creative and strategic services. This should include ideation for your company name, tag line, brand positioning, brand story, and messaging. The range is typically $1,000 to $5,000 for these services. That’s because it’s super strategic, relatively permanent, and takes rounds of revisions to find the perfect fit for your goals and brand personality.
If that number wigs you out, don’t worry. Agencies like Charm School Digital Marketing love to work with a set budget for branding services and can likely help you meet your goals without breaking the bank. Reach out now and let us know what you have to spend toward creating your brand identity and we’ll see what’s possible!
Cost of Market Research
Before you rebrand your small business or come up with branding to launch, do your research. Depending on how in-depth you want to go with competitor analysis, SEO audits, and focus groups, you can bank on spending anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000. Focus groups will drive the price up dramatically since they take a lot of resources to facilitate, but they’re worth their weight in gold! It’s always important to deeply understand your audience from the beginning so you don’t have to re-brand a few years down the line.
Cost of Logo Design
Your logo is your company at a glance. It should be instantly recognizable, legible, true to your brand’s personality and demographic, and unique. If you hire a designer yourself, you can most likely get away with logo design for under $1,000. But be forewarned: you get what you pay for.
So how much does a logo cost? Branding agencies normally charge $2,500 to $8,000 for logo design. If you’d like more than three to five iterations, the price will be on the higher end. However, all logo designs should come with at least that many logos to choose from and three to four rounds of feedback. Plus, you should receive all .png, .jpeg, and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, as well as logos in white, black, with a transparent background, and a variety of mock-ups.
Why does logo design cost so much? Because crafting a logo is extremely subjective and time-consuming, so you need time built into the budget to customize to your liking. To speed up the process and save money, we always recommend delivering a mood board of logos you like. That will give the design team something to go on and deliver the first round of logos that’s closer to what you want.
Cost of Visual Style Guide
A visual style guide incorporates logo design with typography and brand colors. It can also integrate supporting design elements and photography guidelines. Visual style guides are normally $2,500–$5,000 to produce.
The one above is an example of a very simple visual style guide—an old outdated one of ours from years ago. This is the kind of guide that will be necessary to scale your small business and produce digital and printed assets that are consistently on-brand and awesome!
Cost of an Editorial Style Guide
Editorial style guides focus on your business’s messaging. More specifically, the voice and tone of your brand and how it speaks to audiences across channels. For instance, an editorial style guide may determine your attitude/personality on social media versus email marketing and your company website.
These nuances are super important to nail down so your business communications stay consistent as you scale. It helps you avoid communication issues and confusing your customers with an inconsistent tone, verbiage, and brand language. Expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 for an editorial style guide. Look to a branding agency or an experienced branding copywriter to help you develop this important set of messaging guidelines.
Cost of Brand Guidelines
Your brand guidelines, or a brand book, is the creative compass that guides your business’s image, visuals, voice, and tone. It incorporates your visual and editorial style guides. It’s an essential internal marketing material—and media kit—to pass off to all employees and agencies you work with.
A brand book needs to be very organized. The design and style in and of itself is a living example of your company’s voice, tone, and visual style. Depending on the size of your brand guidelines, budget $3,000 to $4,000 for this service. If you bundle visual and editorial style guide creation, your agency should be able to give you a better rate to do an entire branding project.
The Total Cost of Branding for Small Businesses
Okay, so we threw out a lot of numbers and ranges. In case you’re not a math person, here are the totals of what you should budget for branding your small business (if you roll multiple services into one):
|Visual Style Guide||$2.5K–$5K|
|Editorial Style Guide||$1.5K–$4K|
|Brand Guidelines / Brand Book||$3K–$4K|
|Cost of Branding for Small Businesses||$5,000 to $30,000+|
Of course, a range is a range. Every business is different and has unique goals and budgets. Charm School’s forté is taking a budget and maximizing what you get out of it—by prioritizing your top needs to get the best results.
How to Choose a Branding Agency or Branding Designer
Branding is the foundation of your company and you shouldn’t by any means cut corners. If you go with the former, choose a reputable agency with great reviews. Or, cut to the chase and get in touch. We’ll never steer you wrong!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2022 and has been updated with information for branding pricing in 2023!