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The Secret to a Great Startup Brand Identity

Know thyself. Know thy audience. Know when to ask a professional.

Many of our past clients found it tempting to save money on a fast-and-cheap logo, purchase a stock website, and rush through developing their brand identity early on. Chances are you’ll be more frustrated, you’ll lose more money, and ultimately end up coming to us to help turn their luck around.

First off, we get it. Perhaps you’re a startup and haven’t even had the chance to pay for your business licenses yet. Or, on a tight non-profit budget, trying to refresh your overall look to attract funders. We get it.

Every dollar you spend, you want it to go far — you need it to go far.

Fully developing the foundations of your brand is the secret to perfectly designing your dream startup brand identity. Investing in building and defining your brand’s core before anything else is crucial to your brand’s success

Brand Development Is More Than Logos and Taglines.

Brand development is your secret to a perfect logo, better market positioning, engaging social media strategy, and much more — having an informed understanding of your brand foundations should always be your first step. The development of a brand is all about knowing the ins and outs of your business. Knowing the story you want to tell and how you want to share it.

A part of brand identity is about understanding why you made those choices beyond whether they were “pretty” or “nice.” Branding is one percent about your personal preferences and 99 percent about your audience's preferences. You may like the red and green color combination, but your audience may think it's unprofessional, depending on the industry.

Understand Your Brand Core

Vision, mission, values, and purpose are at the core of your brand identity, each one empowering your brand to remain consistent and flexible over time. You’ll know what matters, why it matters, and how much it matters to you and your customers.

Your brand core serves as the lens through which you will know how to make good decisions and how to stay “on-brand.”

Understand Your Brand Landscape

Prioritize consistency and flexibility. Know where your brandmark will appear, that it does so consistently, and that it is visually adaptable enough to be displayed in all those places. Know your standards and know when to adapt them.

To do so, you must know where your target audience is in person and digitally. Does your consumer read the printed paper? Or do they prefer digital sources? Do they attend trade shows? Do they prefer an in-depth case study or a straightforward infographic?

Perhaps your initial brandmark doesn't reflect any reactions or feelings from your audience. Don't be afraid to ask them through market research and surveys. This will change the design concepts you're open to and help you realize if your expectations align with your consumer's goals and expectations.

Invest In A Solid Third-Party Voice

Sometimes, we don’t realize the limits we put on ourselves and our potential. Sometimes, we need someone else to help open our eyes to those new perspectives.

Having a third-party branding professional participate and guide you through this process helps broaden your horizons. They provide insight into awareness strategies, creative brand placements, and differentiated designs. They may see how your brand could capitalize on a niche you might have overlooked. You pay them for their time but also their perspectives and knowledge.

If you understand your brand core, you’ll know the hardline parameters that you want your designer to work within, and you’ll know why the final design resonates with you. This will make the process go faster, the decisions more sound, and each round of revisions more productive.

A good designer will set aside time to understand you, your story, and your goals so you will all be on the same page.

A development workshop with a professional can help build a timeless foundation for your brand. Brand identity is where you want to invest your first dollar and you'll want to invest your time with a good developer.

Word to the wise: you often get back what you put in. If you take a completely hands-off approach and don't work with your designer beyond giving them basic information, don't be surprised if the design doesn't reflect your goals. If the designer asks questions or asks for some time to discuss feedback on your end – participate. Feedback is crucial.

Now What?

Fully developing your brand identity is the secret to having a perfect logo for your business. Vision, mission, values, and purpose are at the core of your brand identity, each one empowering your brand to remain consistent and flexible over time. Having this baseline, in effect, helps tremendously in the logo design process and contributes to your overall success.

Here at HW and Company, we are full of brand curators and storytellers. We help contextualize and empower diverse stories and work with clients to actualize development. Set up a free consultation to discuss your needs or book a brand development workshop to build your brand into a timeless story.



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