November 19, 2019

7 Branding Principles That All Startups Need to Know

A brand is the story your customers tell themselves when they think of your product or service. Here's how to build one.


A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller, good, or service as distinct from those of other sellers, according to the American Marketing Association. It’s what distinguishes Coke from Pepsi. Apple from Android. Ford from Ferrari. It what makes your company stand out from the crowd and explains what you’re all about. A brand is the story your customers tell themselves when they think of your product or service.It’s what distinguishes you from the competition and makes you viable, and that’s why it’s extremely important that you get your branding right before you start marketing your startup.To help you do so, we’ve provided the following seven branding principles that you should know:Know Your Market If you don’t take the time to know your market, you won’t get very far. Create a thorough list of your competitors and determine their strengths and weaknesses. Determine what they’re struggling with. With this information, you will be able to find a way of differentiating yourself to meet a need – or a perceived need – that the existing competitors aren’t meeting.

Develop Brand Statements

Determine the core of your brand by putting pen to paper. Start out by brainstorming five or so words that represent your brand. Create a mission statement that outlines your ultimate goal. Develop a vision statement that captures your long-term objectives and will remain consistent over time. Then outline a big idea, something that captures your brand’s possibility and resonates with your audiences.

Create a Brand Philosophy

Taking your competitive advantages into consideration, create a brand philosophy that outlines what your brand means. What are its beliefs? What are its values? What does it do that no other product can do? Consider all of those questions, and then write out a unified, simple statement in a few sentences that captures the brand “story” – and you can use this a foundation for your messaging.

Develop a Voice and Tone

It’s important to maintain a develop a strong emotional bond with your customers. You can do that with your voice, your company’s verbal personality, and tone, how you talk to people. When developing your voice think of the different types of things that you want to say to your customers. When thinking of tone think of different ways you can use your voice to speak to different demographics – for example, young people vs older people. Do so helps you maintain brand consistency.

Position Your Brand

This is where you develop materials to speak to your audience. Consider a brand name and tagline – something simple that easy to pronounce and that captures the soul of your brand. Next is the logo. Invest in a well-designed logo that resonates with your brand’s personality. Then think of typography. Choosing the right typefaces you should consider what balances style and readability. Last is the color palette. Selecting the right colors helps establish an emotional connection with your customers.

In 2019, there are a number of branding trends you should be aware of. In design, there’s been a move to embrace illustrations and more minimalist art. And to target younger buyers, such as Millennials and Gen-Z, companies are crafting more personal and less corporate branding. These target demographics also tend to be swayed more by progressive political advertisements more than older consumers.

Create Fresh Content

Work with a creative director to create a list of possible content deliverables. These can range from traditional case studies, white papers, and ads to digital ads, videos, and social media campaigns. Always make sure to provide your creatives with an outline of the content’s content and objective and enough brand guidelines to help ensure that while they have the flexibility to develop creative work they also have the discipline to adhere to brand guidelines.