startup branding guidelines

A good brand gives information about the company: who they are, what they do, what they sell, and why people should buy it. It also packages that information in an appealing manner. Branding is your primary way of influencing your target customers. Use it to set, shape, and direct people’s expectations.

Your mission

What is the purpose of your business? Your brand should explain why you created it. People will not support a business whose only purpose is profit. What cause do you want to contribute to? What issue would you like to help address?

Try to choose a simple and specific goal. Clear missions have more impact on the audience. If your mission statement is vague, convoluted, or overly ambitious and grand, it stops being relatable. If people can’t connect with your narrative, they won’t stay loyal to your brand.

Your values

This is your mission broken down into principles. What ideals are central to your company? Common examples include diversity, wellness, environmental care, compassion, empowerment of disenfranchised groups, etc.

Your values have to be reflected in your business. Figure out what you hold dear and how it should influence your operations.

Try to formulate your values in a way that’s specific to you, even if the feelings are universal. Remember that every brand out there has values. Yours have to be personal enough that they make you stand out from your competitors.

Your qualities and strengths

These stem from your values. Think of them as traits that your company developed as a result of operating based on the values you outlined. For example: if you value diversity, your quality could be inclusivity, and your strengths stemming from inclusivity could be tolerance, communication, and cooperation.

Try to apply this chain of connection to every value you hold. Not only does it provide you with great buzzwords for brand statements, it can also inform your long-term strategies in marketing, partnerships, and more.

Your design

Visual elements are the most direct way of influencing your audience. They include logos, brand colours, product packaging, images and banners on social media, headers in your documents, and more.

One increasingly popular approach is to base the company’s aesthetic on its home location. For example, a Queensland confectionery might take inspiration for packaging design from Brisbane and its iconic Jacaranda trees.

Cultural appreciation and intercultural discourse are an important issue nowadays. Consumers tend to support businesses which celebrate their roots, as opposed to bland “universal” designs. Take a look at what your local culture features and leverage that in your brand visuals.

Your target audience

You need to first identify, and then understand, the customers you are trying to attract with your story. They’re living people, so get to know them. Your target audience will typically fall within a range. This could be by age group, income bracket, or any other demographic.

Identify the frames of that domain and then research within them. The more in-depth you know your customers, the more complete your strategies. You will have a better idea of how to present your values, visuals, etc. in a way that they find the most appealing.

Branding continuity

Take care to maintain brand continuity over the years. Brands need updating, just like products and processes, to stay attractive to consumers. Brand reviews are typically annual, but if you think it’s not effective, you may update it sooner.

The updates have to make sense, though. Even with drastic changes, it has to be sufficiently clear how you got from Branding Choice A to Branding Choice B. Otherwise, customers might think that you’re entirely changing direction and turn away from your business.

Your brand as an individual

Consider your brand as a person. It is your startup’s representative in all public relations and the market as a whole. When you’re just starting out, you will probably alter your branding several times in a relatively short timespan.

It’s natural to change your brand while changing central features and solidifying your company image. You might consider asking for input from established companies in the industry before you confirm your final choice to the public.

You can ask the opinion of experienced seniors or professional branding experts (or both). They can help you smooth over any little discrepancies or potentially unsavoury nuances. This will save you loads of marketing effort in the long run.

Branding for startups gives you more flexibility in the early stages, but is also risky. Since consumers don’t know what to expect from a young business, you have to set expectations for them.

Outline recognisable values, strengths, and qualities, and define a clear mission. Learn in-depth about your target audience so you can present your story in the most appealing manner. A solid base gives you more freedom of design and makes it easier to maintain brand continuity.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod, as a blogger he used to spread all about app-based business, startup solution, on-demand business tips and ideas and so on.