Why is branding so important for startups?
Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. Todays post is all about understanding branding for startups and why it is so important. We will delve into what is a brand identity, why it is so important and how it creates you money. The number 1 thing that is most important when creating a brand identity and how to go about creating one on a budget.
your priorities as a startup
As a startup you may feel that your product or service is the most important thing about your business and quite frankly it is! If your product or service is a thing nobody wants or needs then even all the bells and whistles of a great brand design won’t be able to save it. Putting lipstick on a gorilla so to say. However, once you have nailed your fantastic new business prospect you really do need to home in on your brands identity.
What is a brand identity?
The brand identity is basically your brands personality. Just like a person your brand has its own voice, values, beliefs, story, expression and characteristics. It’s a collection of elements that portrays the image you want to your customers.
When I brand a startup I work closely with the client in getting those intangible elements and turning them into tangible brand assets. All of
this work is done while making sure your target customer is at the focus of your brand, meaning you will create a great relationship with them. To under pick your brand we will answer and fully flesh out fundamental questions like these:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your brands values?
- What is your brands mission and vision?
Then we translate these into visual elements such as:
- Logo and logomarks
- Colour palette
- Tone of voice
- Use of imagery and/or illustration
A brand is a lot more than a logo. Like our analogy before, that would be like saying that your identity is your haircut. We need to try and encompass the whole person/brand when designing an identity not just one element. Read more about why a brand isn’t just a logo here.
“YOUR BRAND IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU AFTER YOU LEAVE THE ROOM” – JEFF BEZOS, Amazon
WHY IS A BRAND IDENTITY SO IMPORTANT?
Having a brand that is instantly recognisable and memorable will do a lot of the hard work for you. Humans are visual creatures and trying to recall the name of a product (especially if it is new) can prove harder than recalling the packaging colours or shape when looking at a congested supermarket shelf. For instance you know that this picture is the brand Coca-Cola just from the shape of the bottle and the infamous red, no name is even needed. However, that is not to say a great name is also really important! I will also write a blog post on this at a later date.
By creating a great brand identity your customer will associate your brands visual elements with your product or service instantly. Forging this connection between you and your customer builds loyalty and in turn creates you money!
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT BRANDING
It is highly important to stay consistent when creating a brand identity. From packaging, to your social media channels, to your website, to your business cards, to how your employees look, act or dress. Consistency is important because you don’t want to confuse customers. This will make them feel the brand is not trustworthy or professional.
To combat this issue with brand consistency I create a brand guideline booklet with the brand packages I offer, see an example here. Your brand guideline booklet is your brands bible. As your startup grows you can keep a peace of mind that the consistency of brands identity will not suffer for it. This essentially means if you have a new employee or need to extend your products or services in anyway, the identity of your brand will be easily understood and translated onto other platforms.
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND IDENTITY
Hiring a designer will be an initial cost. However, you don’t want to go a few months down the line after you have paid to print out all of your designs for your customers feed back to be “amazing product, shame about the branding.” How gutting would that be!? Honestly a good or bad brand identity can really make or brake you in todays consumer climate. It’s no longer okay to get away with the bare minimum, there is a lot of tough competition out there.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A DESIGNER
You will want to find a designer who cares and really does want the best for your brand. Just like supermarket shelfs there are a lot of designers out there to pick from but, they may not all be to your taste. Look at their portfolio, do they have work you like or is similar to something you want to achieve?
Do they have a formal education? Anyone can call themselves a designer and yes admittedly anyone can design. However, I see a lot of designers out there, who to a trained eye it is pretty obvious they don’t have a grasp in the core fundamentals of design. I often see this in a poor use of typography. By seeing that your designer has an education in design it allows you to know that they will understand these core fundamentals. Which also leads me onto a designer with an education should also know how to design with purpose and an idea.
You don’t want a designer that is just good at making things look pretty. They need to understand your business and should be asking you the questions above: Who is your target audience? What are your brands values? What is your mission and vision statements? Really guiding you through the brand strategy unless that has already been done before by a brand strategist.
what do you need, a designer or studio?
If your business is relatively small I would opt for a freelance graphic designer or a small studio to keep costs down. Also by doing this it means your brand gets more 1-1 care. You don’t have to communicate with multiple people and be lost amongst other a sea of other clients.
However, if your brand is pretty big, talking like the likes of Coca-Cola.
Well not even that big, like the size of Deliciously Ella I would look at larger studios. Obviously a bigger brand comes with more work and this in turn will cost you more.
How to save money when on a tight budget
If you really are struggling for cash until your brand is up and running and earning you money, a pre-made brand may suffice temporarily. I would always recommend having a bespoke brand design for the long term to create something unique and tailored to you. But, that is not always possible. If you do just need something quick to get you up on your feet and creating cash flow, then pre-made brand packages could be an option for you. This option also may work if you know your product or service is going to have rounds of testing and consumer feedback until you finalise it. Meaning as your product evolves so will your brand. You can find these pre-made brands on places like Etsy. However, again make sure you are researching into the designer and the quality of their work.
I am thinking about creating pre-made brand packages for generic products or services such as cafes, yoga studios, health food brands etc. Please let me know by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org if this is something you would be potentially interested in.
In short I hope this blog post helped you to understand why branding is so important for your business, whether you are startup or not!
GET IN CONTACT
If you do need a brand identity I am a freelance graphic designer and photographer who specialises in branding, packaging and social media. So if you think I may be a good fit for you please check out my portfolio site or drop me an email at email@example.com. I will be more than happy to talk further with you and your vision.
You may also like to read about my freelance graphic design project: Not.Corn. Which was stocked in places such as Ocado, Planet Organic and Whole Foods.
Lots of love, Melissa x