We’ve been thinking about startup branding for a while. I recently touched on branding when I posted ‘Do startups really need branding straplines?’ and concluded that top level marketing straplines embody the vision of the startup. This brings clarity of purpose, consistency of understanding and direction. It seems to me that ‘brand identity‘ is a vague and fluffy term. However branding is not just for the big boys. It’s also great for startups. Brand identity helps brings credibility to a startups customer, investor and partner relationships.
Startup branding certainly isn’t anything like coca-cola with their big budget corporate brand personality. However both big company and startup branding is about personality. Branding is very, very, very important for the big companies. It’s worth an awful lot to these giants. It is also really important for tiny little startups like our new web monitoring service. Branding sends out a consistent recurring and reliable message of what the company and product stands for. Customers love consistency. They want to know what they are going to get and they will be satisfied. This builds brand and product/service trust.
In a startup brand personality means the founder’s personalities. Like it or not its about the founders character’s! The startup is a reflection the founders values, beliefs and the way they behave. Startups have the ability to be much more human and friendly than the big faceless corporations. This means startups can use their founders personalities to their advantage. They can be so much more human, personal and engaging. This is particularly effective in the new world of social media. However startup founders need to have a clear message on what they stand for and who is their the target audience. The founders also have to live and breath the brand for it to be real.
Most business relationships, whether B2B or B2C, are based upon trust. Potential customers need to know that a supplier will deliver on their promises and they will be around in the future. The challenge for startups is that branding and trust takes time to build up. If the founder chops and changes messages or brand personality too much this trust will not buildup. It takes patience and persistence on a single course to buildup branding identity. This is what makes it so valuable for both the big companies and startups alike.