If you are at your first startup, the word branding can certainly intimidate you, especially when you haven’t gone through such a process
From our experience with entrepreneurs just starting out, we found that branding is associated with a logo design on a business card and, more recently, a website. It is rarely understood that a succession of actions designed to discover and articulate the idea that inspires entrepreneurs to believe in business, the values that speak to their conduct in business, and the promise of value they make to their consumers.
Without putting these things in order and without making them work in harmony, the identity will not be noticed, communication with consumers, employees, and investors will not be effective, and the brand will not capitalize.
The role of branding goes beyond the visual part which is predominantly associated. From the way the purpose is formulated to the letter with which the logo is designed, or from the slogan, to the experience with the website, it is vital that the brand is thought and designed consistently so that business — so that you can rely on it.
This article aims to make you aware of branding related aspects, to help you understand its purpose, why it should be carried out in a certain sequence of actions so that you will be aware when you decide to invest in your startup branding.
BASIC PACKAGE FOR STARTUP BRANDING
Here is the basic package for branding a young startup:
* Brand strategy
* Company or product name (where applicable)
* Brand messages and tone of voice (verbal expression)
* Visual identity (logo, letter, colors)
* Design marketing materials (business card, letterhead, presentation brochure, social media)
* Website design / Landing page
Obtaining, as a result of a branding action, one or only some of these elements substantially reduces the impact of the brand on the business and makes the investment not give the expected results.
Below, you will each element of the branding package recommended for startups and their purpose.
The strategy answers the key questions on which a business is based on WHY, HOW, and WHAT.
WHY does the business exist, what are its impacts and contribution above the financial results, HOW does it do things differently, WHAT has it to offer? In order to find answers to these questions, the branding team organizes and conducts meetings and working discussions with the client’s team, interviews with consumers, analyzes the needs and expectations of the consumer, the market, and the industry. The strategy is an irreplaceable step in brand development, whether you do it or create it with specialists. It is the source from which the company’s vision is created, its name, the messages launched in the communication, the visual identity, and the way in which the presentation materials are personalized.
To maintain the relevance of a company or a product throughout the life of the business, it is imperative that it would reflect the contribution that the business or product brings to a higher level. This means that it should be created with the future aspirations of the business in mind. If you named your startup Business Information System, from the desire that your customers understand what kind of services you offer, think that you have lost the chance to make an impression from the first pronunciation. Not only could it be a generic name, made up of ultra-circulated words in the category, which could cause you problems when registering the trademark, but especially because it fails to say anything about the contribution that your business proposes. If you met Allevo instead of the Business Information System, what impression would it make on you? Would it make you curious to find out more? Would it make a positive impression on you? Which of the two would you remember more easily? And how would you do that? What would you think of when you came in contact with the name Allevo? Maybe it would leave a positive, optimistic impact on you, or maybe you would receive the message of growth and development, with which the company strives to contribute to the environment in which it operates.
Brand messages and tone of voice
Once you have formulated the business information in the strategy (WHY ?, HOW ?, WHAT?), it must be adapted (written), depending on the interests of various types of audiences to your brand: consumers, investors, employees, media, etc. Each of these audiences has its own “agenda.” Consumers want to hear how you make their lives easier, investors want to hear what is the mechanism that can propel the development of the company in the future, or the media wants to understand what kind of organization you are building. The purpose of this activity is to develop attractive messages for each type of audience, some of which will be taken up in sales speech, job interviews, press releases or in the design of communication materials (eg website, social posts media, online banners, etc.) to be developed after the completion of this activity.
From this moment, the visual construction of the brand begins. If we consider that strategy, names, and messages from the core of the brand expressed in the form of words (on the principle “in the beginning was the word”), the visual identity opens the way for the first “palpable” form of brand representation: the logo.
Visual identity is the element that marks all communication materials, to make the brand easy to identify and recognize. A visually drawn visual identity highlights the brand’s story, gives it style and consistency. Each element of a visual identity (symbol, letter, colors) is designed to preserve its integrity, regardless of the possibilities of presentation: print, digital, video, etc.
Marketing materials design
For this stage to begin, you need to have messages and visual identity. Together they will rise to any communication material (business card, letterhead, presentation brochure, social media). The exploration and development of marketing materials will generate the design rules: what is the ratio between the main color and the secondary colors, with what graphics we can intervene to ensure harmony with the logo, what font we use in print, what font we use in the digital environment, etc. Everything designed to create coherent materials and efficiently deliver brand messages.
Assuming that not all the details of the products or services are established in the main phase of the startup, this should not be an obstacle in creating a microsite or landing page. With the messages already formulated and the design style created for marketing materials, a website can be built to convey trust in the brand and become a bridge of communication with all brand audiences (consumers, investors, employees, media, etc.).
STARTUP BRANDING, AT THE RIGHT TIME
All the details shared in this article will help you have a more complete picture of startup branding.
Every business is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a startup. Maybe you have people on your team who can develop your brand strategy or maybe you have a name that meets your long-term vision.
It is important to budget correctly both the time you could allocate for the branding of your startup and the money. Investing too much in the early stages of your business can drain the business of the resources needed to develop products and services. While investing too little or much too late can make your startup grow or fail to attract the investment needed for development.
The investment depends a lot on the industry and the category in which the company operates, on how well established it is, on the development stage in which the startup is, on the complexity of the portfolio of products and services, etc.
If you are a startup in its infancy, you may be interested in our new Brandfusion Booster branding package.
Whether you have a small startup or are looking to attract a serious investment and grow quickly, don’t forget that the brand makes the difference between success and failure.
Originally published at https://www.brandfusion.ro.