June 6, 2014

8 Branding Budget Mistakes to Avoid

Developing a branding budget can be tricky, especially the brand implementation portion. We once worked on a client project that involved a large fleet of vehicles. The branding budget included the cost of rebranding all of the company’s specialty trailers. During our assessment phase, we discovered that due to contractual requirements with its customers, 50% of our client’s specialty trailers needed to remain unmarked. By not ordering graphics kits for those vehicles, our client saved $100,000 on printing costs, not to mention the installation cost savings.

Here are the top 8 mistakes we see when a company is developing a branding budget:

  1. Missed Discounts: Volume discounts are usually available for brand materials, such as signage and vehicle graphics. Not leveraging volume discounts can significant increase your branding budget.
  2. Retired Assets: Failing to remove retiring, decommissioned, and expiring assets (like building/property leases) from the brand implementation scope means you’ll pay for materials to brand touchpoints that you no longer have.
  3. Overlooked Assets: This is the flipside to #2. Failing to add all assets to the brand implementation scope means you’ll end up having to pay more to brand individual touchponts after the original project has been completed.
  4. Guesstimates: Padded cost estimates may be easier to develop than a branding budget that drills down to the individual asset level, but you’ll either end up scrambling for budget dollars or having a windfall left over at the end.
  5. Scope Creep: While it may be tempting to add “just one more thing” to the branding project, it’s best to avoid scope creep by locking down key elements of time, cost, and quality.
  6. Travel Time: Don’t overlook the impact of travel time and downtime when developing your branding budget, especially if you are dealing with tight timelines and remote locations. If you have offices or fleet vehicles in locations lacking truly qualified rebranding vendors, experienced brand implementation teams will need to travel to those locations.
  7. Removal Costs: Failing to remove old brands or not including the cost of removing the old identities throws off the branding budget, since those costs will need to be incurred at some point.
  8. Excessive Customization: The economies of scale gained by standardizing brand identity options for materials and touchpoints are lost when too many custom specifications are allowed. For example, why blow part of your branding budget on customized signs for 25 locations when one standard sign will do?

While it may be hard to accurately predict the branding budget before the project begins, starting with accurate information is your best bet. Otherwise, you could be wasting tens of thousands of dollars from your branding budget on vehicles that don’t need to be branded, or signs that don’t need to be customized.