Make or Break: The Importance of Startup Branding

Written by Branding, Design, Promotional Products

Start ups are built from the ground up

You hear the buzz word “startup” a lot nowadays on tv and the internet. Shows like Silicon Valley and Shark Tank have pushed startups to become a part of the mainstream pop culture in the US.  The phrase “startup” is thrown around so regularly that you may not actually know what it is. It is an evolving collection of businesses that may affect your life more often than you realize. But, you may never know who they are if they don’t properly emphasize the branding of their startup.

What is a startup?

Start up collaboration

A startup is defined as a new company that is in the early stages of developing and producing a product and/or service. Now that mouthful is just an academic definition of a startup. In a literal and practical sense, it is just a new business. Imagine entrepreneurs coming up with a new idea for a company and, often, working out of their basements or garages. That is not so far off from reality.  According to one study, 69% of startups are started in the entrepreneur’s home. Huge brands such as Apple, Uber, and Facebook started out exactly like this.

You see, most startups, in the beginning, are made up of just one or two people with an idea. They come in all different shapes, and sizes and are based in several different industries.  So, why is it the so-called talk of the town in the business world?

This is because startups are new businesses challenging the traditional forms of business by working in new and exciting fields. This means that startups are taking a huge risk in developing or, sometimes, reinventing the way we live our lives or conduct business. One study started in 2014, found that only 56% of startups would make it to their fifth year. Now, this number seems scary but it reveals, more than anything, that startups face many different and serious obstacles. One of those obstacles is branding.

Why branding a startup is important?

People thinking about startup branding and marketing

A very common problem plaguing startups is creating an awesome idea and product but not having anyone pay attention to it.  Effective startup branding can fix this problem. But, what is branding? Branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for a product or service in the minds of consumers. 

Like with any small business, good branding and marketing are the keys to long-term success. In some cases, they are the literal difference between success and failure. So, why aren’t more startups successful in their branding and marketing? Well, it is a complicated issue. 

Most startups are in the development of a new product or service and focus a lot of their time on just that. They are also undermanned and underfunded to focus on anything else but developing their product. The members of the startup are working hard to establish themselves and grow the company. You may just be someone like this. 

Startup branding tells more about you, your company and your product before you ever meet anyone. But, in order to be successful, startups must be able to market their brand while still developing their product or service. The better your branding is the easier it will be to market your company. So, make sure you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed by creating a strong brand for your startup. 

Logo design

Logo design can affect your startup branding

The best attribute of any brand is its logo.  Think of many of the greats brands in the world, Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, etc.  Chances are that you were able to envision the Logos of these brands in your mind just at the mention of their names. That comes down to great and memorable logo design. But, how do you design a memorable logo for your startup? Overall, there are many different things for you to consider in designing a logo. 

One key thing for you to remember is that you are trying to create a design that tells a story about your company to your customers. You are trying to instill confidence with people before even meeting them. We discuss and overview of the logo design in this article. The important takeaways are to make a timeless and easily recognizable Logo design. But, there is a psychological component that you have to think about while designing your brand’s logo.  You may have not even considered this in any logo designs you have seen before.


Color is important to startup branding

Believe it or not, color can affect the entire perception of your brand. Each color has specific associated psychological meanings. For example, red stands for power and strength while blue represents calmness and loyalty. Incorporating the right color or color combinations can change the total perception of your brand. Understanding the effect of color on logos is crucial to long-term branding success. This is important when you are trying to create a specific feeling about your brand. You can learn more about this in this article


Shapes are important to startup branding

Shapes also can have a great effect on the perception of your brand’s logo. The shape of your logo can be tied to certain emotional responses. Companies choose to make their logos square when they want to give feelings of trust, order, and stability. For example, think of Microsoft or Charles Schwab’s logos. Simple and elegant to show trust in their brands. Choosing the proper shape can leverage the customer’s perception of your brand to your benefit. The feeling you want your customers to feel about your company will depend greatly on the shape of the logo. Read more about this topic in our earlier article

Brand identity

Your startup Identity comes through its branding

So, you have successfully designed your startup’s logo. But how do you use it to get the word out about what your startup is doing? You need to create a brand identity and brand awareness. This can be done in a lot of different ways but your logo will always be at the center of the startup branding. You have to give your logo meaning that resonates with your customers. 

Your brand is more than just a logo. It is something that tells your story and personality. Your logo represents your goals, your ideals, and your promises to your customers. The brand that you build also represents the people behind the startup, you and your employees. Here are some things to consider to help form your brand identity.


Consistency builds trust in your startup and branding

Consistency is something that everyone wants. As a company, you are gonna want to be consistent in spreading your brand’s message. This is more than just putting your logo on content and promotional materials. Think of using your branding to tell the story of your company on your own website and social media. The voice of your brand is built through the consistent message you put out there. Your customers will notice and appreciate your brand for it. 

Consumers nowadays are very brand-conscious. This means that your company’s story and brand can invite or turn away fans.  Consumers also say that they are loyal to the brands that they believe in. You need to leverage this in your favor. Consistency is what reinforces your brand’s identity for your customers. 

After hearing your story, you want your customers to learn about your goals and support you in achieving them. Being consistent also gives your company’s goals more weight. This helps build a community between your customer and your brand. Building a consistent brand is what can set your company apart from the competition. 

Corporate culture

Work culture is important in startup branding

Every company has some sort of company culture whether intentional or accidental. As a leader of your own start-up, you must recognize this and make sure that the culture is reflective of the startup’s brand. You want to make sure your greatest asset, your employees, are living up to the culture that the brand stands for.  Brand identity starts from within and can only be built off that foundation.

Your employees are your best ambassadors in spreading the word about your brand.  And, how they spread that message matters to your company’s growth. You can reinforce that culture in your employees by using posters and graphics showcasing corporate or individual employee success. Motivated employees will perform better and will speak volumes of your brand. We talk about this in more depth in this article

Marketing Materials

Branded marketing materials

Standing out is one of the most important things in branding a startup. You want your brand to leave a strong impression on people. Physical marketing materials can speak volumes about your brand on a professional and emotional level. The higher the quality of marketing materials the stronger the impression for your brand. Use things such as business cards, letterhead, brochures and flyers to get the word out about your startup. They are a surefire way of creating brand awareness and making a big splash. If you want to read more about this, please read this article.  

Promotion materials or swag are another effective way to build notoriety.  These are give-away promotional items like gifts. Swag can vary from pens, pencils, mugs, t-shirts, bottle openers, etc.  The limits are truly endless. Personalized and custom swag is something that many businesses employ to help promote their brand to customers.  But, just how do you make yourself stand out then? By using unique and creative swag. 

Think of the last time you went to the dentist. After your visit, the receptionist will talk with you and then hand you a bag of branded swag which usually includes the essentials for tooth care. All this swag is great because it is incredibly useful. Chances are you are going to keep all of that swag and actually use it. Every time you use that item, you will remember your specific dentist’s office. It can be as simple as that. Providing high-quality useful swag is a great way to build and strengthen your brand awareness in your customers’ minds. We touch on this topic in this earlier article

Final words

Good startup branding lets you focus on other long-term projects

Branding is an important aspect for any company whether large or small.  Properly branding your startup can make or break your long-term success. Logos are a simple but incredibly effective way of building trust in your startup. But, you have to look past the logo and establish your company’s reputation using brand awareness. Be consistent in your message to build trust in your brand. Use different marketing materials to build and define your brand to potential customers and partners. Making the best impressions on the right people and customers can make or break your future long-term success. 

Whatever your marketing or promotional needs may be, the design and production experts at Printleaf are here to help build your company and brand. Our goal is to provide the best bang for your buck with quick turnaround times and excellent customer service. If you want to learn more about Printleaf, please visit our website or call (212) 328-1174.

Last modified: December 4, 2019

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