Can’t a startup just go to market?
We have a paragraph at the beginning of all our creative presentations that reads “Business now understands that in a time when the market is saturated with competition and innovation, design plays a defining role in establishing distinction, value and loyalty. Design offers growth through competitive advantage.” This is why we believe startups need branding more than ever.
Part of the process
What we’re saying is that startups understandably spend a significant portion of their working time creating and finessing their product or service. They focus on an MVP (minimum viable product), tweak, enhance and finesse before thinking about their launch into the marketplace.
Often what happens is that, with significant energy and focus being placed on product, the crucial step of building a brand to support that product can be overlooked. Truth is, although a company may have an amazing product or service, in today’s saturated market, chances are there is competition already in the space—this needs to be considered.
Any new brand needs to be positioned in the marketplace with a clear competitive advantage, If the competition has paid careful attention to creating a winning brand, with a clearly articulated value proposition, they have a significant market advantage over brands that do not.
Strategy and Creative
Developing a brand strategy and design system that will resonate with a brand’s target audience is crucial.
When we develop brands for startups, we start by learning everything we can about the company prior to looking at the competitive environment they will be living in. Our research and discovery phases for strategy and creative will form the basis around which we develop the strategic framework and make intelligent design decisions.
Startups should ideally work with a branding agency to help crystalize their value proposition and messaging. Developing a clear mission, vision and brand value proposition will create a clear path towards growth. Understanding the brand’s target audience, and developing a list of proof points as to why the audience should believe what the brand promises to deliver, becomes the foundation for all future brand building initiatives.
The brand’s design system should be enduring, it should clearly differentiate the company, product or service from its competitors and it should resonate with the target audience.
It used to be that a brand could simply launch into the marketplace and grow organically based on its merits. That has changed as startups and small businesses navigate an ever-changing battle for consumer recognition and loyalty.
Smart startups, it should be said, realize that they can no longer enter the marketplace without a well-engineered brand and clear messaging—and it’s important to state that they they budget accordingly. Branding should, at the earliest stages of development, be considered when seeking and allocating funding.
The good news
Building a brand is an exciting time in a startup’s development and there are many agencies well suited to the task. Have a look at our Choosing the right branding agency article for an expansive and detailed look at finding the right partner
Strano + Pettigrew Design Associates is an award-winning branding and design agency based in Toronto Canada serving clients nationally and abroad. For new business enquiries contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org