The branding of your startup business should be given careful attention during the business planning phase. Branding alone may very well determine the viability and sustainability of the business itself. If you have budget allocated for branding, it could be well worth your investment to work with a talented creative agency. If you’re on more of a bootstrap budget as most startups are, then giving some careful thought and planning will get you started on the best foot.
The typical process is an easy one to fall into. First you pick a name you like for your venture. Then you rush to GoDaddy and check for the closest domain name available. If you have more budget you buy a premium domain in the secondary market. Next you would move on to turn that name into a simple logo by selecting a font you like, grabbing a related image mark to put next to it and voila – you’ve got branding taken care of. Well, there is definitely more to consider for a lasting brand that will have the positive impact you’re looking for.
Something important to consider as you plan is that your brand is not just your logo. Your logo is certainly a part of your brand, but only the visual representation. A better indicator and measure for your brand is how people feel and what people think when they see that logo – that is your brand.
Your brand is your company’s personality. It’s how people relate to your company and how they feel about your company. You need to make some conscious decisions about how you want your company to be perceived by your target market. How do you want your company described as people tell their friends, family, and contacts about you? Think about how you would describe a friend. How they talk, how they dress, the things they do, etc. In a similar fashion, you would want to establish a personality and image for your company. Do you want your voice to be conversational or business professional? Do you want to be known for taking care of your customers? Being involved in the community? Whatever the values that you want to infuse into your organization, they will be part of your brand.
Once you’ve decided how you want to be perceived by your target customers, you need to commit to infuse that brand into your entire organization and everything you do. If your top value is customer satisfaction, but you hire low-paid, part-time, hourly workers to handle customer support, you will likely fall short and end up with a brand that is known for poor support and low satisfaction. Be sure that you are ready to invest in the areas that support the brand image you are trying to create. By paying attention to branding in the business planning stage, you’ll be more likely to succeed.