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The Concise Guide to Successful Startup Branding

  • 1514 views
  • 8 min
  • Aug 20, 2019

Anastasia D.

Copywriter

A brand is the heart and soul of any business. Creating a brand strategy from scratch isn’t easy. To build a strong, recognizable brand for a startup, it’s important to consider your value proposition, tone of voice, visual identity, and more. In this article, we’ll show you the significance of brand identity and ways to build a successful brand for your startup. 

The importance of startup branding

Your brand is what people say about you after you leave the room.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Establishing your business’s own identity

Your brand identity is what makes your brand unique and sets it apart from competitors. By giving your brand a personality, a distinct image, and a unique voice, you differentiate it from other brands.

When you hear the name Coca-Cola, what comes to mind? Probably their famous logo or music from well-known TV ads or just a red can with a ribbon. All of these things make up the Coca-Cola brand. Coca-Cola’s brand strategy is carefully thought out, taking into account everything from typography to color palette and bottle shape. 

Coca-cola brand

The company uses red since it elicits confidence. The typeface is soft and joyful, bringing a feeling of enjoyment. Coca-Cola also had unique bottles (when they were introduced). As you can see from the example of Coca-Cola, brand identity is essential to make your product a leader in its niche. 

Boosting your credibility

Gaining people’s trust is a daunting task for every startup. However, creating a strong brand from the beginning shows users your product is ready for the long haul. It increases your chances of becoming recognizable and credible in your industry. Although you’re new to the market, your startup can become a real competitor to the most popular products or platforms if you develop a strong startup branding. 

Ello is a great example of a startup with clear branding and a unique value proposition. They’ve challenged the whole social media industry, including extremely popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Why branding is important
How Ello social network looks

Ello takes an interesting approach to branding. They promise users will never see any ads on the platform and that their personal information won’t ever be sold. Ello’s brand strategy is supported by the minimalist and straightforward interface. As a result of their amazing branding strategy, Ello has gotten thousands of appreciators and has gained their trust. 

Giving you a focus and direction for the future

If you invest time and resources in branding from the very beginning, it will help you choose the focus for your business. On the one hand, it will help your employees understand what your business is about. On the other hand, it will make it easier to market your brand and present it to the world, since you’ll have a full image of your brand.

Helping you establish your price point

You might wonder how brand identity can be connected to the price point. But having a strong brand can allow you to set higher prices. A survey conducted by 4imprint suggests that shoppers in the UK are ready to pay extra for strongly branded products and services. If customers would love to spend more on products with a unique and strong brand, then it’s obvious that building a recognizable brand is important, since it allows you to establish a higher price point.

Frameworks for building a brand identity for your business

Building a brand for your startup can be confusing. But we have good news for you. There are lots of frameworks, canvases, prisms, and other tools that help business owners create successful startup branding. In this section, you’ll find three popular methods of building a brand strategy for your business. 

Brand strategy framework 

The first framework we’re going to learn about focuses on understanding your brand identity, personality, psychology, and equity. Brand identity, according to this framework, is the visual language you speak to your customer. Сhoosing your logo, colors, and overall design is a very important first step in startup branding. 

The next element is your brand’s personality. It’s your brand’s personality that makes most customers loyal. An attractive brand personality can reinforce buying decisions and forge an emotional bond between a seller and a buyer. The psychological side is extremely important too. Knowing your target audience’s preferences and behaviors give you valuable insights into how to properly build your brand. Brand equity is consumers’ perception of your brand, and it has a direct relationship to your brand’s market position and business results.

Startup branding frameworks
Brand strategy framework in details


Kapferer Brand Identity Prism

Our second framework is the Kapferer Brand Identity Prism. We’ll look at it using the example of Apple. The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism helps businesses build an enduring and recognizable brand. The main idea behind the prism lies in a combination of the following elements: physique, personality, culture, relationship, reflection, and self-image.

Startup branding

Physique includes a brand’s visual elements: design, logo, colors, symbols, etc. According to Kapferer, the physique of the brand is essential, since it represents your brand. Almost everyone knows Apple’s memorable logo and sleek styling. This physique is what first comes to a customer’s mind when they think about Apple. That’s why visual elements are so important for startup branding. 

Personality is how your brand expresses itself to the outside world. It includes the brand’s tone and voice, design, and copy. For example, Apple is usually associated with innovation and simplicity.

Cultural elements include your brand’s values, principles, and behavior. Apple’s culture is based on delivering power to people through technology. 

The relationship between your brand and your customers can foster your brand’s credibility and increase customer satisfaction. Apple has a friendly and emotional relationship with their customers; they provide warranties, great customer support, and loyalty programs. They also unite all Apple appreciators in one friendly society. 

Reflection is the stereotypical persona of your brand. For instance, Apple products appeal to all types of personas, but most often the brand is associated with someone who’s energetic and adventurous. 

And the last element is self-image. It can be described as how your customers see their ideal selves. By knowing this information, brands can create messages accordingly. 

This brand identity prism is rather popular among startups, as it helps them get a full image of their brand and build a strong strategy. The prism allows you to see how your brand looks from both the receiver’s (the target audience’s) and the sender’s (the business’s) perspectives. This, in turn, helps you make your business more appealing to customers and build stronger relationships.

Brand identity canvas

This is a canvas by Jeff Whitlock for building a workable brand strategy. This framework is rather detailed, allowing you to set your business’s mission and vision. It covers everything from defining your brand’s essence to choosing the right colors and voice. 

This brand identity canvas should be filled from left to right, since categories on the left guide those on the right. You should start with Essence, or your brand’s soul. Choose the one word that describes your brand the most. Then go on with the characteristics of your brand’s personality by filling out the Characteristics and Antonyms sections. Voice, Messaging, and Stories describe how your brand expresses itself and communicates with customers. The next categories – Visual; Color; Typography; and Form, Line, Texture, Space – are all about your brand’s visual language and style. 

Brand identity canvas
Brand identity canvas by Jeff Whitlock

This canvas allows business owners to choose the right direction, focus on their brand, and establish a detailed brand vision. By choosing this canvas, you don’t need to have a master’s in marketing to establish a perfect brand vision and strategy. 

Building a successful brand

Wrapping up

Creating a brand identity for a startup is a must if you want to be successful. With the help of the simple tips above, you can develop a strong brand from scratch with ease.

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Anastasia D.

Copywriter

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