Hiring a brand design agency feels like a big deal, and that’s because it is! For starters, it shows that you’re serious about your branding and marketing, but that often comes with a price tag to match. It’s a lot of money for small- and medium-sized businesses, so what do you get for that kind of an investment?

Well, you get a lot. You get a team of people who genuinely want your business to succeed and are now going to put their combined experiences to work for you. You might get a logo or a website or a brochure, but these are just by-products of what you are really paying for: real expertise and human care.

Your Content Management System

Any website built within the last 5 years is likely built on a content management system. Three of the top four content management systems in the world are open source. That means they are free to download and free to install by anyone. But what does that really mean? There is a lot more to a content management system than simply downloading the files. Here are (some of) the considerations that need to be dealt with by your agency:

  • What domain (URL) will this website live at? Who will buy the domain? Who will host the files?
  • What types of content will the site need (news articles, staff bios, etc)?
  • How will the site by optimized for search engines (meta tags and page titles)?
  • How will the site perform on mobile devices (site file size, responsive theme, data connection issues)?

There are plenty more, but you can clearly see that it is the customization, optimization, and configuring that makes up the bulk of the web design process. Any agency will tell you that downloading the files is the easy part; it’s what you do with them that takes expertise.

Your Design

Design is cheap. (As a designer, it pains me to even write that statement, but it’s true.) You can quickly get a logo created online from a service like Fiverr and your logo will literally cost you $5. Sites like Template Monster and Theme Forest will sell you a website design for as little as $20 – and they look pretty good. But what are you really getting?

What you don’t get with any of those services is strategy or passion. You think that $5 logo designer cares how well your business does? Or how long it survives? Do you think they labored over the details for 2 or 3 hours? No. And website theme sites don’t even offer any level of customization. You’re picking a theme – assumedly the best looking one you can find – and making your site look just like your competitor’s (who just bought the same theme from the same site). How much business do you think you’ll steal away from your competitor if you both look exactly the same?

An agency will design a website theme for you, sure, but what you’re paying for is target audience research, industry trend research, brand consistency, and a passion for the success of your business. Agencies prosper when their clients prosper.

The Peripherals

There are many other parts of your brand that can come cheap and quick. You can get a college student to design your brochure and get it printed at an office supply store. You can let Vistaprint (or similar) design and print your business cards – they’ll even upsell you on your letterhead and stationery. None of it will be consistent, but it’s quick and relatively inexpensive.

To say “you get what you pay for” is oversimplifying it, but there is a level of professionalism, care, and expertise that an agency brings that is worth the expense. We exist because we can make our clients successful.

At Thrive Creative Labs, we’ve been around for over 20 years! That’s no accident. If you need help getting your brand in order, give us a shout and let us put that passion to work for you!


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