In over 6 years of our experience being a design agency specialising in branding and website, we've learnt quite a few things. Some, we still carry from the past and some have been taught to us by the pandemic. Here are some lessons we think are relevant in 2022 and ahead.
The Branding Basics
A brand is, simply put, a mark of identity — it is what people use to identify you, in extension, with you. Going by that definition, anything you say, do and show affects how people receive you.
Imagine branding as the channel of communication. Communication happens when you send a message through a channel and it is received by the people.
But communication doesn’t end there, does it? Feedback or the receiver’s response actually completes communication. The channel, in this case the branding, is responsible for the quality of transfer and how your audience receives your message—which is your product or service.
Reception is followed by interpretation, evaluation and then feedback — which in a brand’s case is same as conversion, lead, engagement etc.
Benefits of Branding your Startup
- Stand out from the competition because there’s a high chance your competition has been in the game for longer.
- To show and enunciate on the difference of value in a saturated market
- To strike the chord with your audience
- Branding gives you the power to make a difference and influence the choices of your audience or target market.
- Build a team that knows and understands what you are and chooses to travel with you.
Relevant Read: 6 Steps in Brand Strategy
Importance of brand messaging
TL;DR: Don’t start with a logo, lay the foundation first.
The importance of brand foundation is immense. One mistake that we have seen clients seeking to brand their service or product, is they tend to begin with a logo. A logo, while is the face of the brand and incredibly important as a brand's identity, it almost does not make sense to begin branding without brand strategy including brand messaging in place. Chart out what your purpose is along with the following, before you set out to give your brand a face.
- Vision helps you solidify your intent and shows your intention to stay put for the longer run. That is because visions don’t change.
- Mission is how you are planning achieve your vision. This can change, however not too frequently.
- Value proposition is the most direct communication you do with your audience. It works in two ways — one, the value proposition is how you show your market differentiation. Two, it acts as your salesperson, this statement can make or break the buyer journey of your audience.
- The Brand Positioning gives your marketing team a compass to rely on and align with. All tangible aspects of marketing are tied to how you position your brand in the market with respect to the region, audience, their pain-points etc.
As your products or services evolve, brand positioning and value propositions evolve with you.
Create a brand that’s malleable but not brittle.
Digital is a default going forward, hence creating a brand that works in all touchpoints is important. It is easy to think that your brand needs only a website. While yes, website will be the digital residence of your brand but it has to work at all touchpoints in someway that connects with the audience.
- Focus on creating and allow for the brand to be adaptive.
- Engaging on Social media is a great way of nurturing a community of your audience, it ca have a different tone of voice there.
- Create a great website for people to come home to.
Relevant: 7 Reasons to build your website on Webflow
- Create tangible physical experiences that, at the end of the day, give a true fulfilment and the most real experience of the brand. Also commonly known as brand collaterals—merchandise, brochure and everything that’s physical.
All of the above are some way you create a ‘malleable’ brand. But in all of this, the branding has to be consistent, visually and verbally. You cannot veer away from your core purpose and beliefs to appease what works in these touchpoints. This is difficult as results are enticing when you resort to appeasement and forget who you need to talk to. And that is exactly what makes a brand brittle.
Not being consistent, and just being ubiquitous makes your brand brittle—that is, anyone at an advantage can beat you to your audience, or when the going gets tough, your brand image will easily break.
Don’t miss any update
Importance of a human-centred brand
TL;DR — Be extensive, inclusive and diverse.
- It is 2022 and if we still don’t rise to the occasion and care for fellow humans, we’ll go nowhere.
- Gen Z is approaching dominance and has begun populating the workforce. It commands the market trends already — and they have one thing in common the world over — they don’t tolerate lack of good intention, discrimination, implausibility and they’ll see to it that you’re called out. Because guess what, the social media is all theirs.
However your reason to be inclusive and allowing space for diversity to thrive should be innate and not barely a tactical step for your brand, because when the going gets tough, tactics take a hit, integrity shouldn’t.
Importance of brand voice.
TL;DR — Don’t bother to do branding, if communication is not your focus
- Branding is communication and all about having a voice and behaving like a person. Branding makes people like you. The voice can range from being conversational, direct, formal, matter-of-fact etc., depending on how your audience responds at a given touchpoint.
- No one likes a taciturn. No one engages with a taciturn. No one acknowledges a taciturn either. One has to put in extra efforts to be known or even be seen.
- Your brand needs a voice with which you’ll talk about it — which people can engage with and cherish doing so.
Importance of brand guidelines
TL;DR — Branding doesn't end with the logo.
Branding runs on the engine of consistency. If consistency takes a hit, which is not a rare scene, you can expect your brand to retire to the background.
A thorough branding exercise concludes only when brand guidelines are in place. Brand guidelines, lead by the brand strategy informs the brand at all times, how to look, speak and behave. It is to make sure you understand how to use your brand elements, where to use them and the dos and don’ts.
Let us help you brand your startup and start your brand up. We are an award-winning multidisciplinary global business and brand design Studio helping brands lead impactful journeys through first principles in Design to stay relevant and differentiated in a disruptive marketplace. Contact Us.