Branding - DIY or Paid? The complete guide to the cost of legal marketing
First up in our special series “DIY or Paid? The complete guide to the cost of legal marketing” is the always critical “branding”!
Branding done properly costs real dollars. Every time you give out a card, send a letter, have someone go to your website or sit in bed thinking about your business your brand identity is front and centre. Branding is much more than a nice logo. It is representative of what you are, it is something to be proud of, and it will reflect on what you stand for every time a potential client has contact with your brand.
A great brand ultimately opens doors. It engenders trust and helps you make connection.
There is a reason why big corporations will invest millions of dollars into rebrands or campaigns.
When you are thinking about your branding make sure you get at least all of these things done for you:
Your colour theme, fonts, sizing
Slogan and brand ethos (tag lines, language to use)
Your logo assets (multiple versions)
A mood board - A collection of images that tell the story and style of your brand
Business Cards, letterheads and email signatures.
Social Media Templates
If you want cheap and cheerful and have lots of time to bring everything together we'd suggest buying some templates and finding your logo on Creative market. If you have some design skills yourself you can hit up creative market and buy some design files and then make changes in InDesign, Canva or Illustrator. However, you will want to have design skills, be able to use the various aps, and be confident in your execution.
If you are going to DIY we would suggest getting lots of feedback on what you do from trusted sources (not just people who will tell you they love it no matter what!). Brand is so important on so many levels that investing the time is crucial.
Check these colour combinations from Canva for some inspiration.
Maybe you are happy to spend something but don’t have high expectations. With this in mind you can explore getting a contractor to help. Whether that is on a platform like Fiverr, Upwork or Freelancer, there are thousands of graphic designers and branders who will do jobs on an individual basis.
On most platforms the designers will give you the choice of services you are after and you just pay per individual service.
The benefit of these services is that you can get individual pieces done at a relatively cheap rate. The difficulty of them is that it can be difficult to communicate what you want, and they will generally just do individual projects so ensuring there is consistency across all your branding can be an issue.
There are many great people on these platforms though and if you are confident and are experienced in briefing contract workers who are external to your business then it is certainly worth exploring.
Expect to pay on a project basis and then hourly anywhere from $15 to $1000 an hour. There are contractors all over the world, and quality will vary, but a price point exists for just about anything! You can literally pay $30 for a logo, or $3000. The question is simply, what is it worth to you and is it important enough to invest in?
One tip with contractors is that everyone has completed project portfolio’s they will share with you. You simply have to ask. This can be a useful way to see if they are making bespoke designs, or simply using templates themselves.
Take a deep breath because this might surprise you. You won’t get any change from $10,000 for even a simple brand setup, let alone getting the practical things done like your business cards, letterheads, signatures etc. To give you an idea an average quote will range from $10,000-$15,000 to get your Logo, Brand Colours and Style Guide created without any of the other tangible assets. For all of our must haves above, don't expect to get any change from $10K and don't be surprised if it costs more like $20K. For changes expect to pay between $100 and $200 an hour depending on where the person is. Yes you can get things done more cheaply overseas if you have the time and are interested in managing it.
Why so much? Because it actually takes a hell of a lot of work, skill and expertise to get right. There is research, brainstorming, client meetings, and all of that before any design work! Factor in the design work itself, multiple revisions and feedback with clients and you start to understand what is involved. Big organisations will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars doing rebrands with a huge amount of content so it is all relative.
Your brand is very important, and you won't likely change it for many years, so it is money well spent if you get a good job done. Also keep in mind that having consistency across all your brand assets is very important. There is nothing worse or less professional than a hodge-podge brand with no consistency.
So it’s a big choice.. invest in your brand now in a big way, or do it down the track. Everyone will have a different opinion and value different things, but however you do it there are options.
Hot tip - The preparatory work that goes into nailing your brand is crucial. You should expect to do a minimum of two sessions with anyone who wants to nail your brand going over who your clients are, what you stand for, what you are great at and what you want to be known for (amongst other things). Getting the strategy right and consistent at the start is very important.