A Designer’s Guide to Startup Branding • Part 1: Lay the Foundation

Abby Scholz

October 22, 2020

A brand isn’t simply a logo — just like a business plan isn’t only a pitch deck.

Your brand needs the same level of time and attention as your business. In fact, it’s often worthwhile to work on it in tandem with your business plan. Resist the urge to just throw together a logo. In today’s market, where you’re competing for not just dollars but also eyeballs, a strong brand makes a difference.

Brands start with your business strategy.  

Any agencies and/or marketing teams that work on your company’s branding will ask about your key value propositions, buyer personas, and competitive analysis. So either prepare these 3 things ahead of time, or hire an agency to do them for you.

All decisions will tie back to this content. And there’s a good chance that your competitors already have them, which will make their marketing tactics more successful.

Ensure a strong rationale supports your brand.

Knowing the end goal is half the battle. A branding or marketing team will tie as many of your value props (or creative brief) into their design solution as possible. And they will be specific about how they did it when they present ideas to you.  

Say your company is a top sponsor for an online event and the co-sponsors are running their ads in the same channels as you. If all your competitor’s ads are blue, the designer most likely will choose the color furthest from blue for your ads. 

If your designer doesn’t know your competitive landscape, they won’t be able to help you stand out effectively. Be wary of working with a designer who doesn’t ask you about your biggest competitor, or your vision for your company in the future.

For more info on these key branding steps, check out our Tips for a Strong Foundation.