You cannot build strong brand values if you are unable to spread them effectively among your staff. Now you have a chance to get familiar with the internal branding best practices.
Startups have recently become a very popular solution among novice entrepreneurs. They allow for testing a business idea with minimal commitments and resources. There are over 300 million startups in the world, but sadly, only 2 out of 10 remain on the market for more than a few years and are successful.
Unfortunately, even if you are just trying to create a business and set up a startup, you have to go through the entire branding process and build a brand to survive. A well-thought-out startup branding strategy is the key for success. Here are our branding tips for startups.
1. Define startup brand identity
Before you start your adventure with your own business, you need to answer questions related to your brand identity system. Probably you do not have a lot of resources for development yet, but their lack should not stop you from creating a list of brand attributes. You need to rethink who you are, what your strengths are and what strengths your brand should have. The early stages of startup branding depend on it heavily.
You need to know what you want to show your target audience and what is your unique selling point. Write a strong value proposition before creating your branding strategies. As a startup founder, you should also work on creating a brand personality that shapes your brand image.
The fact that you are young, ambitious, innovative, flexible, determined, committed, you act with passion and energy, you respond to a specific need, you found some market niche, or you use some of your cutting-edge technology, should be included on your list because these are the attributes of brand values that will allow you to win loyal customers and possibly be successful. Users pay attention to your brand personality.
The most important thing is to find a few features that make the brand unique, express its values well and support establishing and maintaining strong brand identity.
2. Give the brand a name
That’s right, a startup should also have a name. It is quite a challenge, but a branding strategy for startups development should start from there. The brand name should be consistent with what the brand offers, and it should also work well in both verbal and text form. The brand name should fit in with your brand voice, which relates to the personality and emotions a company takes on in communication.
The company name has to be everywhere, from the headquarters (visual brand environment), through the stamps and business card to the website domain. It should not be too long, and it must be easy to remember.
3. Build a brand slogan
The company slogan as well as other taglines with key messages also add up to the startup brand identity and support the process of brand positioning on the market. They need to be used consistently and over a long period of time. The company’s slogan should be based on the most important values that constitute the foundation of the brand. With the logo, it supports brand recognition. In our opinion, it is one of the most important branding tips for startups.
A great example of a brand slogan is “Life’s good” LG. Another example is “Das Auto” Volkswagen. New brands whose name is a neologism or does not refer to the company’s business profile may use a short signature line in the logo, i.e., a tagline that explains the type of activity.
4. Take care of visual identity
Just after you choose a name, you should take care of visual identity, i.e., the design of the logo and other elements. Simple forms with an original and expressive structure will be the best. Often, brand’s identity projects are created too quickly and, due to the lack of funds, are not implemented by specialists, which means that they may require fixing in the future, although it may be problematic to maintain consistency in building brand values and a brand image.
A well-crafted logo helps create a memorable first impression. Keep in mind that the logo should reflect what a brand stands for. Consider whether the logo actually tells your brand story.
Together with the logo design, it is also worth choosing the company’s colors or typography. All this has an impact on branding a startup. The so-called brand book, which is rare in the case of startups, will help facilitate and increase the effectiveness of communication in the visual layer, even if it takes the form of a simple instruction. You need to stick to the visual guidelines to improve your startup branding and be better perceived by your target audience.
Remember that the name and logo are legally protected, you only need to submit them to the appropriate government institution. Many startups do not do this because of costs or ignorance of protection rules. It is often also the case that small businesses are simply not aware that these trademarks are protected, and they do not know what can happen when there are no property rights applied.
5. Verify your brand strategy
The established name, slogans and logos should be assessed to check whether they are matching the type of business, purpose and mission statement.
Have you already defined your brand purpose (the reason why your brand exists)? Have you written a compelling value proposition? Does everything that your graphic design team creates tie into your mission statement? It is crucial to convey a consistent brand message. You should take care of this if you are interested in creating an effective startup branding strategy.
Small business owners often forget that personal branding is essential for startups. Do you focus on personal branding by taking part in industry events?
It is also worth conducting an analysis of the competition on the target market and checking whether the name, slogans and visual identity stand out from the competition. Even in an already saturated market, new ideas can certainly be found.
Startup branding strategies can take many forms. It is always beneficial to observe the other businesses on the market to gain insight into successful startup branding strategies. It is also one of the business branding tips, that are often overlooked.
Also, you should make sure that everything is unique, and no other company has the same name or a similar logo in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism. As you can see, branding startups is a time-consuming process.
6. Create a good website
Even a startup should already have a website at the beginning of its existence. This is one of the most important branding tips for startups at the early stage. It is especially required by branding for a tech startup. It is good to use the services of specialists such as Nopio during this phase.
In addition, it is worth taking care of the design of the home page and landing pages to which links from advertisements will be directed. You also need to ensure a great customer experience. This makes your company stand out from the crowd.
Do not forget to buy a domain and hosting. Startups rarely remember all of this, mainly because they do not have the resources to do so (especially in the early stage). However, it is worth remembering that you pay for a domain and hosting once a year. If you want to avoid higher costs, you can use the free CMS. It is a good solution to start with.
When designing branding for startup, you must take into account the corporate website, because it serves as a presentation of the brand. In our opinion, it is one of the most important branding tips for startups.
7. Think about your target audience
The primary thing to focus on is your target audience. Who will or should be interested in your product or services? Adults or teenagers? Women or men? From the whole country, from abroad, or only from a specific region? What will mostly affect the choice of your company – recipient’s profession, interests?
You need to identify your target demographics and analyze everything to adapt your website content and marketing strategy to your target audience. How to do branding for a startup? You definitely should start with specifying who are your target customers and create a buyer persona. Then you can build a startup branding consistent with your audience.
8. Develop a marketing strategy
It goes without saying that the product or service are the most important parts of a new company. However, creating them is not the end of the sales process. You still need to inform the potential customers about their existence and convince them to order those. Therefore, an appropriate strategy and marketing campaigns are essential. Startups often give up both cooperation with digital marketing specialists and paid advertising because they do not have the funds to do so.
However, a strong brand must have good marketing. There are free ways to promote the brand, such as social media marketing campaigns, Google Ads, SEO or content marketing. A newsletter is also a good solution, but first you need to collect a database of emails, and an interesting idea to do it will be helpful there. What is more, social media platforms (Facebook or LinkedIn) are essential today and a startup company should have accounts there as well.
In addition to creating visual guidelines, it’s a good idea to create emotional brand guidelines for content marketing, social media marketing, and any type of marketing campaign. Keep in mind to use the guidelines across various distribution channels. This will allow you to achieve a consistent brand message. It is also worth considering getting rid of anything that doesn’t align with your core message. Not combining marketing with brand strategy can result in marketing failure.
9. Do not be on your own with everything
Branding for a new business is a challenge. You do not have the resources, so you assume you can handle it all by yourself? Unfortunately, not always. Startup owners often don’t have enough time to thoroughly rethink their brand strategy. Sometimes it is necessary to use the services of a startup branding agency, even if it costs money. Nopio provides complete branding services, including branding for startup business.
In addition to external branding services, depending on your industry and type of enterprise, you may need employees for your business development. Many startups give up on this because employees have to be paid. Nevertheless, at least 1-2 employees will already make a difference, and employment costs will not be that high yet. You will be able to increase employment as your company grows.
10. Be patient and don’t give up when you implement your startup branding strategy
Patience is the most important here because brand building for startups is a difficult and long term process. This will not happen overnight. And do not give up if something does not work out. Instead, think about what to change to make it better.
Finally, here is some business branding tips from the Nopio blog for startup founders. You can read, among others articles, about brand identity and brand development. We hope that our startup branding guide will help you build a brand that will survive for many years on the market and be successful.