Getting a startup off the ground can be a crazy and complicated time, weighed down by facts, figures and business plans the branding side of things can seem like the
fun easy part.
So firstly, what does your brand mean to you and why is it worth making the effort?
Well the best description of your brand is…
“Your brand is what people say about you after you leave the room” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Your brand encompasses who you are and what your business stands for, it’s your personality, voice and tone distilled into a look and style which will underpin everything your customers see. This means the every brand is unique, and without a brand there is nothing to define who you are and what makes you ‘stand out’ in the competitive market.
So to define what your brand means to ‘you’, start by considering what your brand stands for, it can mean different things to different people, a brand is the reason why EasyJet can charge £30 for a ticket that British Airways can charge £300 for – and also the reason why EasyJet can charge for carry on baggage whilst BA will carry it on for you!
Your brand is a signpost, it tells people if you’re cheap and cheerful, reliable and trustworthy or lavish and luxury. Taking your time to understand what your brand means to your business is the first step towards finding your ‘look’.
What is included in a branding project?
Just what your brand covers is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, a logo is usually the cornerstone but after that elements such as colour palettes, tone of voice, typography, vehicle livery, uniform and many more are all additional but will only help build the strength and consistency of your brand.
As a design agency when a startup business comes to us looking for a brand a basic branding lineup will often include –
Initial consultation to discuss the aims and direction of the business
Initial brand concepts for feedback and discussion
Development of concepts into final brand design
A suite of logos, colour schemes and branding elements
Final artwork files in a variety of formats for professional and internal use
Business card and letterhead designs
Exterior and interior signage
As well as producing brand guidelines to keep the whole show in check (I’ll come on to that later).
So to answer the question, your brand includes the bare minimum that is applicable to your brand and any extras will only help strengthen the consistency and output of your branding.
How do I keep my new branding in check?
Every good brand is governed by a set of brand guidelines which outline and define your branding elements.
Brand guidelines are a great way to lay down the law and ensure everything you, your colleagues or partners produce is on brand. And in a startup it is particularly important to start as you mean to go on – ensuring consistency from the start.
Producing brand guidelines for a startup business can be slightly different than producing guidelines for a long established brand. When a startup business first adopts their brand it is natural that this brand will grow and change organically over the first few years as the company matures and find its feet. This is why in our design agency when we produce brand guidelines for a startup we produce guidelines with ‘growing room’ and fluidity to allow the business to experiment with its new look and find an interpretation of their brand guidelines which suits them.
Good brand guidelines should keep things on track and locked down but not become strict and oppressive, they should allow the genuine personality and voice of the business to shine through.
Let’s get started…
Branding your startup can be the most exciting part as you see your business finally come to life, considering these points and working methodically can help you get your branding off to the best start.