Our Branding Agency – How It Went from Zero To A Million Dollars!
With humble beginnings and a 2 person team, SpellBrand was launched in the spring of 1998 in a small one room corner office in Sarasota.
Spellbrand grew rapidly in the first few years and by 2002, we decided to go online. SpellBrand.com was launched in March 2002 as an extension of Spellbrand and geared towards the small businesses that would appreciate quality work at affordable rates and would use the internet to get logo design services.
While Spellbrand Inc. excels as a brand agency with medium to large companies with decent brand budgets, SpellBrand also continues to thrive as a high quality and affordable solution to the small business owners who want to work with true design professionals.
Keep reading to find out how SpellBrand went from a 2 person graphic design company to a million dollar international branding agency!
Our Mission is to create MAGICAL BRANDS by helping startups leverage Brand Strategy and Visual Identities to tell compelling brand stories through creative solutions.
Most startups launch with out a solid understanding as to how they should position themselves to gain traction with their customers and dominate their competitors. They usually choose “me-too” tactics and generic visual messaging to communicate their value to their target audience. Sometimes they do not communicate their value at all.
We at SpellBrand strive everyday to change this status quo by helping startups realize the importance of brand strategy and visual storytelling that sets the tone and tempo of their brands and lead them down the path of brand success.
After almost 20 years, SpellBrand is one of the leading online brand identity and website design agencies with partner offices in 5 countries over 4 continents. We are a truly agile digital agency with a remote working structure and a creative team spread all over the world.
We also have a reliable and talented group of highly skilled and specialized collaborators we work with. This collaborative approach ensures that the right people are working on your project at all times. The result is truly magical!
If you are looking for an award-winning logo design, branding, and web design company that offers high-quality design at very affordable rates, then SpellBrand is the best bet for you. Give us a try to see the difference! Today SpellBrand is one of the leading online logo design and functional website design companies with over 40 employees, offices in 5 cities around the world and a family of 1000s of satisfied logo design customers. In fact, we are a leading London Logo Design Agency.
SpellBrand has some of the most talented designers in the industry with a combined design experience of over 80,000 hours. Most of our designers have been with us for 8 years or more.
So How Did We Do This?
How did we take a 2 man graphic company and turn it into a million dollar, international boutique branding agency?
Through sheer hard work, determination and most importantly – through a brand and positioning strategy!
A 2 person graphic “firm” competing with countless other online such “firms” and operating out of a bedroom to start with and then a corner office in a run-down office building, becomes an international branding agency with studios in 5 countries and with revenues of over a million dollars – in record time!!
So how did we do this?
We worked really hard. We were determined to rise above the noise. We had a strategy and plan and we were clear on what kind of a brand we were.
We refused to be drawn into the cesspool of price wars that overseas graphic design companies and fly-by-night firms were getting into. We refused to target the same audience that they were – clients who did not value good products or service and who were just interested in the cheapest offer out there.
You’ve probably heard this advice a million times:
There is no success without plan!
Step #1: Go Against The Grain
The first game-changing thing we did was to rethink the business paradigm that was governing small graphic design companies and freelancers – low rates with high volume.
This paradigm perhaps worked in the early 2000s but quickly hit a plateau and then went negative. Low rates and high volume hardly ever leads to profitability – at least in the graphic design and branding industry segment.
The premise of low rates hits the market on two fronts – one the one hand companies would swiftly get into price wars and offer lower and lower rates. On the other hand, the customer is trained to expect design services for next to nothing.
Then there came the “free logo design” websites with template based systems that users can select and customize with their company names and then download the files. I never could understand why these companies chose to invest in such software. I did get that they were trying to charge for the vector files and so on but was that really a good business model.
On top of that, Google started ranking such websites higher than real business websites offering logo design services. In fact, they continue to do so to this day! I suppose the algorithm looks at the amount of time a user spends on such sites when they click through to them from the search results and since users would have to spend a lot of time trying out the software, it would rank these sites higher.
So, we decided to turn our back on the low rates – high volume business model and move away from the crowd.
And you can imagine what happened in the beginning:
As soon as we removed the pricing packages from our website and turned our back on the losing strategy, sales fell through the roof!
Yikes! That was scary!20
Step #2: We devised a positioning strategy
The moment we decided to move away from the low rates – high volume business model, we knew that we simply could not raise our rates and expect to survive as a business.
We started to research and brainstorm.
We quickly realized that we need to position ourselves differently to be able to command higher prices. This meant that we would need to target a different kind of customer.
This was a game-changing realization!
We had to stop attracting the kind of target audience that the low rates – high volume paradigm was doing and had to target clients who wanted much more than a cheap graphic to represent their company and business.
This meant that we had to offer more than just logo design to our clients. We had to help them build robust brands. And this included advice, strategy, brand identity and more.
So we slowly and painfully drew up the positioning strategy that would put us on the path to becoming a branding agency.
Step #3: Build a robust visual brand
Then came the really hard part – the decision to shut down our current website which was branded and optimized to attract the low rates – high volume target audience and create and launch a website that matched our new positioning strategy.
This meant that all the saturation and rankings we had on Google had to be given up. The thought was terrifying! We had sleepless nights for weeks.
But we bit the bullet and dived all in!
We created a new brand that aligned without new brand strategy and crafted a matching website. We spent a lot of time, effort and money to create content that would make us into authority.
This process took months and during this time, we managed to find a few high paying projects, kept our expenses bare minimum and took home next to nothing. Our spouses and families supported us through this transition time and God was with us!
Step #4: Become an authority
Then came the long and grueling process of establishing ourselves as an authority in the field of branding. We write hundreds of articles and freely offered education to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
We also started using social media to help entrepreneurs and startups figure out solutions to branding problems and began to build a growly community of loyal fans.
Slowly but surely we started to come out of the valley!
The break came when we got a huge project from ESPN and then came Microsoft, Target, The US Army and much more that followed.
We went from around $200,000 per year in revenues under the old brand and business model to over $500,000 within the first two years of the transition.
You may be wondering:
The title of this page says how we went from zero to a million dollars. Technically that is true since we did mention how we got started, which meant the revenue was zero!
In the next couple of years, we grew even faster and hit our first million dollars in revenue per year in 2012! By 2013 we had opened a studio in Sydney and by 2015, one in Dubai. We opened another studio in Jeddah last year and are working hard to open a huge studio in Hyderabad by the end of this year.
Our Social Media Channels
Our Commitment To Design Professionalism
I hereby pledge my dedication to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence in design and development practice and promise to uphold the spirit and letter of the Code of Professional Conduct through consistent practice and habitual reflection on my actions. – Mash Bonigala (Founder & CEO)