How Much Does a Brand Cost to Build?

By May 7, 2015 January 9th, 2019 Brand Development
how much does a brand cost


A month or so ago, we were prospecting a new client. Like most entrepreneurs/inventors he was extremely passionate and highly persuasive after we invested an hour to hear about his product. We left the meeting with a good rapport and plans to follow up in a week or two with a proposal to market their product that we felt had potential.

What was planned to be a normal discover-proposal-execution process turned out to be a series of emails, phone discussions and follow-up meetings. You’re probably saying to yourself, you guys must be doing something wrong in qualifying this client. Perhaps, but maybe not… please read on.

We scheduled another meeting to present our approach on how we would take this prospects’ product from concept to retail and the brand development program we would utilize for a successful go-to-market strategy. As it turned out the client fibbed about their relationship with potential “guaranteed” retail buyers and did not disclose that he was not the real decision maker.

Our planned proposal meeting was planned and as the meeting got started, the man who had ultimate authority to say “yay” or “nay” on the project ended up being 30 minutes late to the presentation.

Anyone who does sales for a living knows that this is the ultimate “deal-breaking” scenario. He (main decision maker) joined us and as expected we had to start all over again from the beginning and rush through the main points of understanding (we only had an hour) on how developing the brand first and then conducting marketing tactics like inbound marketing, responsive website design, advertising and infomercials was the best-practices approach to standing out in a cluttered marketplace. The alternative approach — a infomercial company out of Iowa — was to storm to market with just an infomercial costing the prospect $100,000 to produce, not including the media buy.

Years of experience has convinced me that every product or service needs to develop a brand to be successful.

Whether it’s a cheesy product like the Snuggy or a weight loss product – everything is a brand.  A brand is the gut feeling you get about a product, service or person the good and the bad. Without understanding what the brand is, any business risks hanging their investments on the precipice of failure or mediocrity.

How much does it cost to build a brand?

  • When 64% of the market value of the world’s most valuable brand (Apple) is intangible – shown on the balance sheet as $104.3 billion* in “Brand Value” – there’s something very important here. Think about it – $104.3 billion in real dollar value – this does not include their stores(bricks and mortar), inventory, equipment, factories or people etc. – but rather the economic power of the Apple name and what it stands for – the power to think differently.For revolutionizing the way we work, play, and communicate—and for mastering the ability to surprise and delight—Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease-of-use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed. (Source: Interbrand)
  • The total intangible Brand Value on the balance sheets of the companies that own the world’s top 100 brands is more than $1 trillion!* But this is not just about megacompanies. This is about building intangible brand value in any-size company or organization – building the power to differentiate your brand with such clarity of competitive value that selecting your brand over others is an easy choice. (Source: Interbrand)

How long does it take to build a brand?

The answer lies in the importance, need and positioning of the product to solve a very real problem. Brands like McDonalds, Disney, Coca-Cola, Nike and Microsoft took many years to build – were brands like Google, iPhone, and Facebook took only 1-3 years. No one knows exactly how many millions of dollars were spent on advertising and other business activities, but the fact is if you have a product or service that is truly unique — that essentially creates a new category — chances are you could build a multi-million or billion dollar brand very fast.

For the rest of us – the iPhones, Googles and Facebooks don’t happen every day. That is why we continue to advocate brand understanding and positioning as the first step in building any kind of business. It starts with who your customers are or buyer personas, SMART goals and how that translates into a vision, mission and ultimately a purpose. This platform allows businesses to attract and speak to their customers with clarity and authenticity and creates the story to propel your brand. 

We believe in the brand development process as we have seen what a strong brand can do and how much value it can bring to its customers, brand owners and shareholders. Typical brand development programs can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 depending on the size or the stage your company is in.  

Today’s consumer behavior demands your brand stand for something. Your brand must stand out from the phonies and make your customers believe that what you offer is authentic, special, unique, and trustworthy. 

A typical brand development process looks like this:

Brand Development Strategy Proicess


By building a strong brand your business will achieve the following:

  • Reduction in turnover costs
  • Generate more sales leads
  • Acquire more customers
  • Attract talent
  • Foster innovation
  • Enhance your company culture
  • Delight your customers
  • Makes it easier for the customer to buy
  • Makes it easier for the sales team to sell
  • Brand clarity spurs employee motivation
  • Increases the value of your company over time
  • A well-developed brand works for you 24/7
  • The brand development exercise creates innovation
  • Saves money on future design and advertising costs
  • Creates preference which equals profit

At the end of meeting, we presented our price, shook hands and left knowing the project wasn’t going to move forward. I don’t know where this company or product is now, their website is still not updated and have yet to see any infomercial.

Most entrepreneurs don’t take the time to adequately understand their audience and develop their brand based on the people who they want to sell to.

pcmatic old brandA recent example is PC Matic. Founder and CEO Rob Cheng started PC Matic as a software that improved speed and spent millions on television advertising—only to find out that PC Matic was indeed so much more. Millions could have been saved if PC Matic took the time to understand their brand in the beginning and chart its course. Now they are spending millions on switching course with their rebrand. 


In today’s cluttered and attention deficit society, developing a strong brand is key to business success. Without establishing trust and authenticity, you will be just another face in the crowd and spend thousands or millions going in the wrong direction. 

Interested in learning more about brand development? Contact us today for a free 30-minute evaluation.


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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

Josh Claflin, Principle at Garrison Everest, helps companies in the outdoor, active lifestyle and health industries who are struggling to develop clear brand messaging and increase revenue through online channels to grow in the digital era of marketing. Contact Josh  for a free consultation.