Branding your startup? Is it important?
Over the last few weeks I’ve read a few LinkedIn posts/articles stating (more or less) that startup branding in some form or another is a complete waste of time, resources and energy for most startup businesses.
This type of unsolicited advice sends the message that branding is a simple cost of doing business. A means to an end. This is the completely wrong way of looking at it.
Branding has the power to build value, credibility and a meaningful connection before you’ve even entered the room. It helps your customers align with you and what you bring to the table. It gives you the control to influence how your customers compare you, and your products with other products and services that fulfil their need.
See, most people don’t need (or care about) what you’re selling. It’s a hard truth. And it doesn’t matter what you do or what you’re selling. Unless it’s toilet paper, I’d argue that no one really gives a shit. If there’s a broad and unlimited need for what you do, you’ll be fine. But if there’s not (which is most businesses in this world) you’re going to need to do some selling. And a sale only happens when both parties see value in the transaction.
So, you need to build a perception of value, quickly.
When you’re starting out, you need to quickly figure out where you bring value. What makes you so unique and distinct that your audience will understand, identify and relate with you? How will they align themselves with you?
Understanding where you bring value gives you something to talk about beyond an exchange of goods for money. This understanding is critical to fast-track a startups early growth stages.
Luckily, you can lean on your brand to build those perceptions for you. And the best way to influence your brand, is by investing in building strong foundations that signify that value.
Strong brand foundations help a startup to dial in on where they bring the most value and communicate that value with clarity, relevancy and authenticity.
Getting it right, frees up your team to focus on what matters most – launching and growing your new startup. It gives you a system and foundation to work from, to ensure all communications are cohesive, targeted and hit right, right from the start.
Good branding can help align potential investors with your brand and allow them to easily understand where you bring value and for who. It removes the variables, puts everyone on the same page, positions you away from competitors and most importantly… lends a helping hand to your customers to finally realise why you’re such a perfect match.
Branding allows you to create an experience worth talking about.
It helps you articulate what makes you different, special and unique. It encourages your customers to come along for the ride. It helps you build values and morals for people to associate and align with. It gives you the power to build a community around what you do. It’s incredibly powerful.
Which is why it really pisses me off when people devalue it’s usefulness and brush it off as an unworthy investment in the early days of a business. Sure, I agree (and endorse) that a startup should be spending their money where they’ll see traction and results quickly… but it’s costly going down the wrong path and if you’re misaligned from the start, you could get too far down the road before you realise. And it’s a hell of a lot more difficult (and expensive) to change existing perceptions once the worlds made up their mind about you.
Launching a Startup right now?
Our Innovation Grants are NOW OPEN.
Every quarter Maker Street Studios runs an Innovation Grant to help innovative startups and new small businesses access professional branding services at a fraction of the cost. You can learn more about our grants and apply here