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Mowe’s Value-Based Pricing

Animation has infinite possibilities and when it comes to pricing, it’s no different. For those not into the specifics of animation production it can feel a little overwhelming and sometimes hard to understand where the price is coming from. While most animation production companies negotiate projects focusing on video duration, complexity, and timeframe, we understand that they are only part of the equation. The way MOWE sees it, the value we can create comes first.

Pricing the client, not the job – The difference between discussing business goals and not only animation technicalities

In a sales conversation, the person in front of us is more important than a specific design style. A crucial part of this whole process is the initial conversations we have with a prospect and the questions we ask during those calls. Questions like, “What does success look like for you?” “What’s your expected value return?” and “Which metrics should we track?”. Those are just some of the starting questions that allow us to better understand our client’s needs and price our projects accordingly. 

Without a clear understanding of who we are serving, and what they’re trying to achieve, we can’t understand the real size of the problem we’re solving for them and how our work can help them achieve their goals. We price the client and not simply the job because different kinds of clients bring different challenges and opportunities to the table, which also affect the direction a project might take.

Let’s take a 30s video as an example. Working with a Fortune 500 company in comparison to a relatively small bootstrapped startup can bring different challenges, even if both look for the exact same output. The Fortune 500 company will probably require more layers of approvals and more days to deliver feedback, as well as the need to review the script and some visuals throughout their legal team. 

On the other hand, the engagement with the bootstrapped startup might involve a simpler accountability structure. Many times it’s easier to have high-level decision makers such as the business’s owner or C-level professional directly involved  in various moments. Another particularity is that commonly, messaging and branding are more flexible than in globally established companies, allowing for much smoother production and design decisions. 

Aside from the final output and the production aspects, we mainly focus on the expected results. A 30s animation for a Fortune 500 that might anticipate an additional $200 million in revenue per year as a result of this project will probably have different creative challenges than a project for a startup looking to expand their awareness to new audiences. Depending on the situation, the startup project might actually be more complicated than the project for the Fortune 500. 

So, after all, why shouldn’t similar projects for different clients be charged differently?

Value-based pricing with animation doesn’t mean charging more

This idea of pricing on value is present in many industries and it turned out to be the way MOWE saw to be the most beneficial for both us and our clients. However, it doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to charge more and that all projects will require a large investment — sometimes it just makes sense to charge less.

While hiring Mowe is not cheap, it doesn’t mean our clients lose money in doing so. The secret about value-based pricing and a value-based approach is that when you move the discussions beyond the technicalities, you have not only the knowledge but the duty of using all your strengths to help the client achieve their goals. And if our work is able to deliver on that value, the project’s price is fair. 

A cheaper project that doesn’t achieve its goals might become more expensive
for the business than the more expensive project that delivers its value.

Our objective is to identify opportunities where we can use animation with purpose and maximize the outcomes of our projects. If we can make a bigger impact on a company using more resources, we want to give our clients this option. After that, it’s open to them to identify the level of results they hope to achieve. We help them to visualize what works best for their current situation and what makes more sense moving forward. 

This is why we always present multiple options and different levels of how we can engage in a project. This allows us to think freely about how we can bring the most value on the high end, but doesn’t prevent us from finding alternatives to deliver on that value at lower levels.

If after our discovery process we identify that there is a more affordable route than initially anticipated to a client’s desired outcome,  we won’t ever try to push a high ticket solution. Instead, we are going to work to find ways — if there’s one — to be able to deliver on your outcome and optimize your budget investment and return.

On the other hand, if the client’s desired outcomes are more expressive and MOWE’s work is responsible for a big impact in making that vision come true, the investment will be proportional to that value. And with that, instead of limiting ourselves to predetermined outputs, we go beyond and expand our efforts to make the client’s vision come true.

MOWE’s Value-Based Approach to Animation Pricing

It’s important for us to be clear that not all projects at MOWE use value-based pricing, but all follow the value-based approach. Sometimes clients, like agencies, might be more inclined to engage us for the outputs, while others might prefer to engage us for a certain period of time, and that’s ok. Neither direction is limiting and we will approach both with the same thoughtfulness and commitment.  

Part of the information we look to get in our initial engagements is related to the desired future state of the company and the metrics used to measure how to get there. Those points helps us to direct the production in alignment with the client’s goals. 

Not just something that looks cool

We are not Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks. We are not simply in the business of entertainment here. Commercial animation needs to go beyond just having something that looks nice. That’s why we can’t simply approach projects from a technical point of view and focus only on the creative part of them. 

A purposeful animation is one that delivers an eye-pleasing emotional output capable of generating tangible business results. 

MOWE’s approach to projects gives us permission to think freely and expansively about possibilities and creative opportunities that can generate impact. No serious business is investing money in something just because it looks nice. We understand that and work closely with our clients to make sure the emotional and reasonable sides of our brains are working together to both delight, and generate value.

Felippe Silveira
Felippe Silveira
Co-founder & CEO at MOWE Studio