You may think that branding a new startup business or creating an identity for a new product would be easy compared to the process for an existing business. The thought of having a clean slate is so inviting to a designer. However, having an innovative idea is not enough to become an established business. The reality is that often startups are overly focused on the visual aspects of a brand; they do not consider the other elements that make up a distinctive identity. Establishing this foundation may seem complex, costly and time consuming for new entrepreneurs. However, it is essential in order to cut through the noise of similar new businesses within your sector.

Where should I start with my branding project?

Startup branding projects can be summarised with three fundamental traits. These are vital for any successful brand.

  • What are you branding?
  • Who makes up your target audience?
  • Do you have any competitors? If so, who are your competitors?

The main challenge is that what you’re branding can change at such an early stage. The customers can easily be displaced and your competitors can change within the blink of an eye. Having a strong brand as a startup is essential. It is your brand that will help you to develop and grow from a startup into a fully fledged business, or even a household name. Marketing a startup is considerably easier if you get your brand right from the very beginning.

This helps to establish credibility among your audience and demonstrate that your unique offering, whether that is a product or service, is not just a flash in the pan. Your brand is the tool that shapes your everyday marketing activities. Similarly, it is harder to change an existing perception of your brand, particularly a negative one, than to establish a strong brand early on. This feeds into brand equity, or your customers’ perception of your brand.

Top tips for branding a startup

The challenges of branding a startup can be avoided by following some simple steps:

  • Don’t rush, and be flexible! Focus on gaining a clear understanding of who your customers are and what they really want by building web personas for your online audiences. To build trust, your brand purpose and promise must be clear cut and authentic. Not only does this help your audience to truly understand your brand, but it also informs your employees of how they should best represent your brand and its values.
  • Don’t fixate on your logo. It is sometimes easy to dive head first into marketing without establishing a strong brand identity and guidelines. Although your brand’s tangible assets are a core element of influencing public perception, ensuring that you have control of all your brand assets and the way they are being deployed is essential.
  • Avoid feature-based or descriptive brand names. Consider having an invented name. This stops the problem of your product or solution evolving but being left with a name that is no longer relevant.
  • Concentrate on your brand’s personality and tone. This means that your marketing is pitched at the correct level for your potential audience types. Focus on attributes relating to emotional ideas rather than features. This will aid longevity in a brand and develop early buy in from both your customers and staff.

At Mackman we formulate coherent brand strategies and visual identities which have substance and longevity. For more information please speak to a member of our team. Call us on 01787 388038, or pop us a message.