Value > Price


Ok, a brochure. Not a problem; I can definitely do that. So I start thinking: well, there are one-page brochures and ten-page brochures. There are big brochures and small brochures. Some brochures are folded and some brochures are bound. Do I sound like Dr. Seuss yet?

Then there are the bigger questions, regarding the branding and design components. What is the objective of this brochure? Who is this company’s target market? Does this company have a well-established brand? …and the list goes on!

The Spot-On Branding Process

Before I begin any design, I ask my clients to fill out a questionnaire. “Stab in the dark” design techniques are simply a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, I strive to discover who you are, to learn the details of your business—and a whole bunch of other things, including the definition of your target market and your overall objectives with a particular design request or marketing campaign. Then, we work together to come up with a strategic design that takes all of those important answers and details into account.

I use this process to determine whether or not a client is a good fit—and not just a good fit for ME. When a business owner looking for specific design or marketing components approaches Spot-On, I understand that he or she has very specific expected outcomes from our working relationship. If I don’t ask the right questions up front, we BOTH risk wasting our time trying to pursue a business relationship that does not meet those expected outcomes.

The Problem With “Give Me Your Prices”

Yes, I do brochures and such. So, when a potential client approaches me with a question like, “I need a price for a brochure,” then I am happy to help, of course! Let’s work together to discover what you’re looking to do with your brochure, your branding, your marketing campaign, and your business. Let’s meet your needs and send you off with the best possible results—a brochure you love, in the format you want. Everyone walks away happy.

However, sometimes, upon trying to ask these *extremely important* questions, I get the following response: “I just need a price on a brochure.” Red Flag! Now, don’t get me wrong, I am happy to provide pricing. I don’t keep my clients in the dark; that’s just not my style. However, in my objective to pursue an open and honest back-and-forth relationship with a potential client, starting out with zero information offered up front? Well, I can tell this isn’t going to work out.

Valuing Expertise

Typically potential clients come to me because they value my expertise. I have a vast amount of experience in branding and design. This is my life’s pursuit. It’s what I do, every day. I like people. I like working with people. I like talking to people. I like helping people.

So, I’d like to help you, too. That said, it’s important to hear my thoughts and know a bit more about how I work before you hear my numbers—numbers which, by the way, will mean nothing to you until they’re compared with someone else’s numbers. Numbers won’t tell you how qualified I am. Numbers won’t define your expected results, and provide you with confidence that this business match is a good fit.

Here’s the kicker: those numbers are arbitrary up front, because you haven’t told me what you want! My prices aren’t necessarily more expensive than the other guy. But I guarantee you I’ll offer you much more in value, especially if the other guy is simply handing over a price list. Numbers mean nothing when you don’t understand value.

Spot-On Branding creates full-service branding solutions, not just “a brochure.” So when a potential client refuses to offer information to allow me to best serve their needs, it’s clear to me that this person is entirely money-focused. They’re not looking for the right person, the right fit, and the best results.

So I urge you: please don’t be in such a rush! Find and hire the designer who gets you, who understands your uniqueness and the exact goals you’re trying to accomplish. Your company’s branding is the most important thing you can invest in—so don’t sell yourself short! And remember: you get what you pay for.

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Comment by Nora D. Richardson on March 1, 2013 at 3:20pm

Thank you, Vincent.  I am glad that you are enjoying my topics and writing style.  Thank you oh so much for tweeting this article and others to your vast community.  I appreciate it greatly.  Your grape analogy is exactly on point.  And to take your analogy even further, as an outside knowledgeable and objective person I need to really understand why you think you need grapes, when in fact what you really need is grape juice. :)

Comment by Vincent Wright on February 25, 2013 at 2:43pm


I've been saying this a lot to you lately so, please don't take the repetition the wrong way but I must say once again: EXCELLENT! 

The dilemma you outline is somewhat analogous to someone seeking to buy grapes and who starts out:

"How much do you charge for grapes?"

To which you may ask: 

  1. What types of grapes do you want?
  2. What quantity of grapes do you want?
  3. Do you want them delivered or do you want to pick them up?
  4. Do you want the grapes pealed?
  5. Do you want the grapes halved or quartered? A community of professionals focused on brand strategy for brand energy.

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