What is a branding proposal?
A branding proposal is a document sent by branding professionals to potential clients. A branding proposal should outline the brand strategy and provide details about associated timeframes, costs, and deliverables.
Every company needs its own strong brand identity to communicate key ideas and build a lasting relationship as part of marketing efforts. However, they often don’t fully understand this, or struggle to detach themselves from the day-to-day to rebuild their brand and improve its effectiveness.
This is where you come in as a branding professional; to transform the way customers see a brand through an overhauled branding campaign.
Sending a branding proposal helps you to convey your experience, your way of working, how you intend to solve the client’s branding challenges, your fees, and more. Done right, a branding proposal will grab a potential client’s attention, communicate the value of your services, and win you new clients. It’s a vital document for any freelancer or marketing agency.
When sending out proposals to potential clients or customers, you will probably be competing with other freelancers or agencies, so you need a solid proposal if you want to make an impact.
Note: We’ve analysed the very best branding proposals out there, and know what needs to be included to make a client-winning proposal. Luckily for you, we’ve outlined all those elements below, and even created a template for you to use. Bonsai’s proposal template makes it incredibly simple for freelancers to create a personalized and professional proposal in a matter of minutes. Sign up for free, edit your template, download it, and start winning clients.
Why do companies need good branding?
Executing an effective brand strategy can be the difference between a business thriving or failing, but many underestimate just how important branding can be for successful marketing. But what are the main reasons a business needs a good brand identity? Thinking about this early on can help you create a more effective proposal.
Build brand recognition
Brand recognition is fundamentally important to both attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. In a world full of choices for every product and service, people are bombarded with marketing; but a strong brand presence is likely to stay front of mind.
Additionally, familiarity breeds liking, so simply being exposed to a strong brand regularly can automatically build a positive relationship in a customer’s mind.
If somebody sees a business, its branding, and its marketing regularly, it implies that the business is successful, liked by others, and trustworthy. Compared with a brand that they have never seen before, a customer is generally going to trust the familiar, strong brand more.
Over time and with every positive experience, this trust will grow, helping you to build long-term relationships with individuals.
Improve the effectiveness of advertising
If an audience is already familiar with a company and its brand identity, they are likely to be more engaged and more receptive to advertising that features it. For this reason, any investment in branding can have a two-fold impact, firstly by improving branding recognition but also by improving the return on investment on every advertising dollar subsequently spent.
Develop an identity and encourage loyalty from employees
Believe it or not, branding doesn’t have to be all about building a relationship with customers. Employees, too, are influenced by effective branding. As employers, businesses can use branding to develop an identity that their employees will associate themselves with and attach themselves to.
An employee of Apple, or any well-branded organization, will probably see their job as a big part of their identity. This encourages loyalty, helping employers to attract and retain the best talent.
Reach new customer demographics
Many companies follow a very similar or identical branding strategy for years or decades, and they may even have enjoyed a lot of success. However, if they never overhaul, rethink, or tweak their branding, it’s almost impossible for them to reach their full potential.
Using the same branding is likely to appeal to a certain type of customer. Developing a new branding strategy, when done right, can help a company appeal to new demographics and attract a greater volume of customers while still retaining their existing customer base.
How to research for a branding proposal
Research is a crucial part of the process of writing a successful branding proposal. If you don’t understand the client’s business, their current practices, their corporate identity, their goals, and their potential, you’ll be unlikely to make an impact with your branding proposal. So, before you start writing your proposal, you should always take the time to do some market research and brand discovery.
Firstly, you should determine the target business’ position in the market. Are they already the market leader in their niche? Or are they clearly lagging behind competitors? If the latter is true, you should have an easier time convincing them that they need to overhaul their branding.
When looking for ideas, a great place to start is with the competition. Try to identify the closest competitors you can to your target business, then analyze their branding strategies.
- Is there anything they’re doing exceptionally well?
- Are they getting significantly more engagement on social media?
- Could this be a result of their branding?
If there are no direct competitors, you can still look for inspiration from other businesses by broadening your search to less specific niches in the same industry.
In addition to looking at the competition, it’s good practice to sit down and brainstorm some ideas about key questions to ask about the client:
- What is their target audience?
- Which other demographics would be easiest for them to reach?
- Do they have any glaring weak points in their existing strategy (such as inconsistent branding)?
Beyond these basic questions, you can also delve a little deeper. Try to identify employees you’re likely to be interacting with regarding branding and, if possible, get in contact with them with a branding questionnaire before you start building your proposal and sending it to clients.
Doing this prior to writing your branding proposal can give you a great deal of insight. The bullet points below provide some examples of questions you could ask:
- Have you used the services of branding professionals before?
- What do/don’t you like about your current branding?
- Have you ever done market research i.e. by using focus groups?
- How did you formulate your existing branding strategy?
- Do you have any desired changes regarding your branding?
- Are there any metrics you’d like to achieve (such as a specific conversion rate?)
This stage of your research is likely to mainly involve immersing yourself in the company’s marketing materials and online presence to build an understanding of it, and your experience as a branding professional should help you identify the key questions for a branding questionnaire and then find a solution.
The research phase for the proposal is well worth the time investment and should lead to more effective, targeted, branding proposals that have a higher chance of converting clients.
Essentially, the more research about clients you do, the better—within reason.
What to include in a branding proposal
Every example of a branding proposal is going to be different and the specific details should be largely informed by your research phase where you learn about your potential clients. However, there are certain elements and a general structure that you can follow for any proposal.
Below are some of the main sections that effective branding proposals will usually include. Some could be combined, but it’s a good idea to try to include everything in some form. Read on or take a look at Bonsai’s proposal template to learn more.
A proposal cover page is the first thing the recipient will see, so it needs to make an impact. It doesn’t necessarily need to be beautifully designed, but at the very least it should look professional, have visual appeal, and include the key information such as a title, the business name, and some basic details about yourself.
This section should be relatively short and mainly be used to cover the basic overview of your branding proposal. For example, you can start with a simple introduction or basic formalities, thanking the client for the opportunity.
Beyond this, concisely state what you think the client needs help with, what you will offer them, and lead into the rest of the branding proposal.
Challenges and solutions
In this section, you can briefly define the challenges you’ve identified with the potential client, such as inconsistent branding. Then, you can offer your solution. This ensures that the proposal will give the reader a very quick but revealing insight into your understanding of where they’re currently at and to where you’ll help them get.
Scope of branding services
In this part of the proposal, you can state/elaborate on the services and the solution you’ll offer as part of your package to rebuild a company’s branding. For example, you may include a logo redesign, tone of voice guidelines, general branding guidelines, and so on.
Don’t go into too much detail, but make sure you break down your branding services enough that it clearly communicates your value to the client and gives them a good idea of the deliverables they can expect when they spend money on your service package.
After pricing, the project timeline is likely to be one of the most important factors that your potential client will be looking at. Whenever sending proposals, keep it short and simply state your timeline for the branding project.
If you like, you can break the project timeline down into specific deliverables, but this isn’t strictly necessary for every branding proposal and you may need to discuss things further with the client before you can do this.
For most businesses, pricing will be the dealbreaker, or at least one of the main considerations, when they’re choosing a branding professional to work with. It can be tempting to be vague here, but that will probably just frustrate the reader. State your pricing as clearly and openly as possible. Do you require an initial payment? Do you prefer payments upon delivery of individual milestones? If so, then state it here in the proposal.
If you’ve done adequate research, included all the other important elements, and managed to communicate your value effectively, then you shouldn’t be too worried about pricing yourself out of a job. After all, if your branding can win the client a lot of new business and make sales, then your services are essentially priceless.
Examples of other work/case studies
Here, you can summarize your previous experience with branding projects. Try to keep it relevant and concise, rather than just including everything you’ve ever done. If you’ve worked with similar companies before then you should mention that somewhere in your proposal.
If you haven’t done work for similar companies before, try to find some common ground between your past clients and the recipient, such as being B2B or B2C in focus.
You could also use an example case study or case studies that are relevant to the client. A case study can give a more in-depth summary as an example of your relevant work.
About you/your team
A section giving a quick overview of your own brand, your professional profile and/or that of your team can help to bring some personality to your proposal and humanize it. Aim to make the client understand who you are and what you can offer them.
How to write a branding proposal
Find out exactly what the client wants
Do your research to find out what the client is looking for. This could involve just looking at their online presence, but ideally will also involve asking them questions directly before creating your branding proposal.
Highlight what sets you apart
Always try to include points and use language that differentiates you from the other people and agencies that are probably contacting the potential client.
By communicating your unique value as clearly as possible, you make yourself an easy choice in comparison to anyone sending more generic proposals.
Clearly define your brand strategy and process
Without going into extensive detail, make sure you’re clear and open about your process when writing your proposal. Break it down so that the reader has a good idea of what branding elements to expect.
Keep the proposal concise and organized
Always say what you need to say in a concise, clear, and easily understandable way. The reader might be going through dozens of other proposals, so they’re not going to appreciate having to decipher a wall of text to get to the important points.
Use images to keep your proposal engaging
As your branding proposal is specifically designed to persuade the reader about your skills as a branding professional and your unique strategy, you can use it to showcase your eye for visual communication.
Using color and appropriate imagery can help you achieve this in a way that words alone cannot.
Make it easy to close the deal
Beyond including all the relevant information in your proposal, you can make it even more simple for the potential client to choose you by adding a signature box at the end of your proposal so they can express interest in the branding project and your strategy.
Following up after a few days or so can help to create and build a relationship with a potential client, show your proactive nature, and bring attention to your proposal. Try to do it whenever appropriate. Bonsai actually allows you to track when your proposal has been viewed, and you can make accepting as easy as possible via package selection and electronic-approval.
Sign up for free if you’re ready to create a killer branding proposal!
Common mistakes when writing branding proposals
Try to avoid these common mistakes when creating your proposal and sending it to potential customers to improve its effectiveness, make more sales, and win more clients:
Overestimating the reader’s understanding of the concepts
To avoid overwhelming the reader, don’t delve into too much detail or use overly technical language. Keeping things clear and accessible is key.
Money matters. Most companies are looking at cost as one of the main deciding factors when choosing a branding professional for a project. It’s almost always best to state your cost structure clearly to avoid confusion and make more sales.
Failing to properly communicate value
Using vague language and failing to define the real value of your services is going to make your proposal boring and useless to the reader. When discussing your services and the project you want to help a company with, focus on always communicating the value that each of your services will offer.
Making the proposal too long and complex
A long, rambling proposal is only going to frustrate or bore potential customers that read it. Keep things focused, communicate your services and value, and you’ll be far more likely to get the company as a new client.
Not using relevant examples in the proposal
Including every piece of work you’ve done in your proposal is a sure-fire way to lose engagement and turn off customers. When trying to convince a company to use your services, only highlight a project or projects that are relevant to the company you’re contacting.
Creating a branding proposal is simple with Bonsai
Building a winning branding proposal might sound complicated and daunting. And if you’re a freelancer with no experience writing proposals, then it is a genuine challenge that can hold you back professionally.
Every potential client and every branding professional is unique, so it’s important to get across the relevant information in a concise, compelling way—something that can take a lot of time and effort to get right.
But the good news is, we’ve created a simple, effective proposal template that you can edit and download. Take a look at our proposal templates and other related templates to learn more and start making more sales today.
Cut out most of the work with our ready-made proposal sample. Just add your info and start sending out the proposal in minutes.
Customize your proposal quickly and easily. Keep as much or as little of the proposal templates as you choose, easily replace elements, and make it unique for every potential client.
Our proposal sample is tried and tested, with an optimal layout that balances simplicity, readability, and enough detail to communicate the key information.
Make a great first impression with new clients by using our proven and professionally designed proposal template.
FAQ 1 - Is a branding proposal a contract?
A proposal is not always a contract, but it could be. You can include a contract as part of the proposal, or you could send it separately once you’ve established interest. Use Bonsai’s branding contract template to save time and money when creating a contract.
FAQ 2 - What is a branding creative brief?
A branding creative brief is a document, sent by branding professionals to clients, that outlines the process and justification of a branding project. It may contain some of the same information as a branding proposal, but will generally go into more depth, covering more minor details, and taking up one or two pages.