By Fernando Berrocal
What Makes a Startup Brand Unique?
Building brand equity is a long-term process that can be difficult to balance with the pressing short-term demands of early-stage startups. It might be difficult for startups and their founders to create a brand until they reach the product/market fit milestone. Not only do you need to overcome competing goals, but also defining your brand may be difficult for a new startup as the brand is generally linked with huge marketing budgets and well-known products or services.
However, establishing a successful business requires a strong brand. Before launching any product, founders should understand and establish their brand (even if just in a basic form).
Defining Brand: Branding is the collection of ideas, phrases, values, designs, symbols, images, and colors that help your product stand out. It's a type of brand and product identification. Startups frequently believe that they should begin with minor elements such as font and color consistency, but these decisions should be made after the brand has been defined, beginning with the business mission. What is the company's purpose, more than just describing the product? What is it ultimately aiming to achieve, alter, or influence?
Focusing on the impact of the business carrying out its goal might help to clarify brand identity. What effect does it have on customers? What impact does it have on their enterprises or personal lives? After you've answered these questions, utilize them to guide your visual decisions around fonts and colors. These should correspond to the emotion, atmosphere, and inspiration you want to inspire with your brand.
Defining Your Startup Brand: First, carefully and thoughtfully respond to the aforementioned questions. Consider your business and what motivated the founding team to begin on the startup path. Consider what you're offering to the market: Why is what you're building so important? It's a good idea to define the following terms:
- Values of the founder and his staff.
- Identifying features of your product that you want others to notice.
- Differentiators in products (transparency, speed, luxury, simplicity, cost efficiency, etc).
Process of defining a startup's brand: Dedicate time for key business stakeholders to discuss and debate brand definition at your startup. All employees, not only the founders, may be considered important stakeholders in many small businesses. Because the brand has an impact on every aspect of the business, bringing in perspectives from sales, engineering, marketing, etc. may help you develop a holistic vision that everyone will be enthusiastic to implement.
Set aside uninterrupted time to define the brand when deciding whether to do so. Plan an offsite for the team to engage in creative exercises or brand sprints which will help you define and iterate on your purpose and brand if you have the resources.
Start by describing the company's purpose and the product after the right time has been selected and the relevant group has been formed. Once that's done, tell everyone in the room to write down a list of adjectives that come to mind when they think of the company's mission, product, and brand. Then, instead of using verbal adjectives, the group should choose appropriate pictures.
Codify your Brand: After you've established your brand's textual and visual underpinnings, the next step is to develop an internal brand book. This may be as easy as putting up a brief presentation that highlights the phrases, colors, fonts, and terms that are associated with your business. Create a logo that is clear and within the limitations set by your brand book, depending on the stage of your company and available resources.
When designing a logo, think about how this will look on an app (if that's on your to-do list), as well as how it will look on very small and very big scales (like on a billboard). If you decide to outsource this, make sure you have a solid in-house brand book in order so the agency can execute on your goal without wasting time and money.
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