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Why a cheap logo is the most expensive thing you'll buy

  • Written by Stella Gianotto

Three reasons why a cheap logo is the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy

In the past few years, we’ve seen a staggering proliferation of online portals where logos are available from $19 upwards such as Fiverr and 99Designs. While it’s true these are great for cash-strapped startup businesses, they can wind up costing more in the long run and, in fact, we’re seeing more and more clients come to us in despair because the $99 logo they paid for has wound up costing so much more than the dollar value spent.

Yet the million dollar question remains, “Why should I spend the money with a branding professional or a branding agency when I can do it myself or get the same thing at 99Designs or Fiverr?”

On the surface, the products look similar and any thrifty business owner would want to save the money, but the comparison stops there, and here’s why.

A brand is a so much more than a good looking or colourful logo

A brand is a designed perspective of what your company is, what your company does and what your company says. A brand is optimised to appeal to your target audience, both locally and internationally. What you don’t get with a cheap logo is the expertise a brand specialist brings to the table, and this can be detrimental to the success of the brand, the growth of the business, and the bottom line in the long run. A branding specialist is able to create a means of communication for your brand to be used on many different platforms, including your logo, your website, your social media, your marketing material – in fact, an entire marketing and communications campaign all tailored for your target market. By looking only at the aesthetic component, the message is lost, your voice is not amplified and you are left with just a superficial or whitewashed image. Your business deserves more than that, and so does your brand.

If they’re not local, they’re likely to miss local context

Remember how Starbucks exploded in the USA and expected to have that same success when they expanded to Australia in 2002? Except that they didn’t and by 2008, 66 stores had closed? One reason for this spectacular failure is that they failed to tweak the brand to reflect the Australian market. So be warned: outsourcing your branding offshore could have a similar effect if the designer fails to understand the Australian market’s nuances, not to mention the pain of time differences and language barriers.

Rebranding after a cheap logo is difficult and expensive

If your bargain logo turns out not to be quite the bargain you’d hoped for, you will probably need to rebrand. This process can be risky because all previous branding efforts to build up awareness and recognition around the brand may be lost in the shift, and the value in dollar terms that this will cost you can be difficult to quantify. Perception of your brand will have to be re-established and customer loyalty will have to be switched. Finally, all associated marketing material and collateral, both digital and print will ALL need to be updated. Although 99Designs and similar options may be cheap in the beginning, they can create significant costs for your brand in the long run.

As a small business owner herself, Stella understands the juggle that every business owner has with time and finances and that has led her to help businesses understand how, and why, they should be branding their business.

Stella Gianotto is a branding guru who is passionate about making branding accessible and understandable for her clients. Stella teaches her clients how to navigate the muddy waters of branding through real world examples of branding in our everyday lives, and sharing her roads to success and the lessons she learned. Stella’s presence in the industry has led to her contribution to several books, Marketing Brands Made Easy, Social Media Marketing: Write Up Your Tweet, Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business.