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Entrepreneurs spend a whole lot of blood, sweat, and the infamous black coffee in kickstarting a startup. They envision it as a potential business that will become a household name someday. In all fun and anxiety, they forget about one of the most important steps- branding.
In some cases, the realization is soon enough to mend the mistake, but in others, it so happens that they have to start over. By the time they realize the importance of branding for startups, they have exhausted their resources, or worse, their will.
The trend of overlooking branding
The industry might have come later, but the principles of branding were in use even earlier. Good design has never failed a business, even in cases where the product has a better attribute in the market.
Business owners are still warming up to the idea of investing in branding. They are skeptical about the intangible deliverables. The logo is such a big trend that it overshadows the entire process behind it.
Novice graphic designing graduates are taught designing and identity systems but not the process of branding which it is a part of. This is why you see these designers using ‘branding’ in their visiting cards, and in this saturation, branding is lost somewhere- in the industry and in the market.
What is this obsession with marketing?
Or it could be the fact that one came before the other. When the branding industry started developing, businesses were still investing in marketing, but they were also becoming brands from businesses. Since the medium that these brands were using to communicate with the customers was marketing, all the credit went to marketing.
With both- marketing and branding working hand-in-hand for the success of the product, it was difficult to determine which was the reason. It was both. Only, marketing was visible. imagine giving credit to the actor who performed on a song instead of acknowledging the singer behind the scene also.
Marketing is tangible. If you are looking for the home of the instant gratification monkey, it is marketing. It gives instant but temporary (but instant) results.
Other common startup mistakes
Apart from having archaic misconceptions like the logo is the brand, branding is not in the list of priorities that entrepreneurs function with. They develop the product, think about pricing, design distribution channels, and invest in marketing but forget branding. How can a product launch without a name? Wait. what! Naming is a part of branding? Exactly.
Can you do without branding?
Apparently. Look at the amount of "brands" out there.
Can you be a household name with targeted marketing that hits the right audience, the right way with a product that resonates?
You are not selling a brand in isolation; today, the market has reached saturation. No matter how great a product is, it will not sell itself. You need both- marketing and branding.
We tend to think of branding as a domain of large corporations whereas, it is a necessity which is perceived as a luxury.
Why is Google full of branding DIYs for startups?
No wonder when you type branding in the search bar, Google shows branding tips for startups. It is not their fault; they show the most searched items. This means entrepreneurs are looking for DIY branding hacks.
The many ways branding startups is better (and more fun for us)
If it was possible for us to show you the CCTV footage at our studio, you would see how exciting it is for the whole team to brand startups. After a project, we discussed why each member had so much fun. We realized there are multiple facets to that.
One of the most common reasons is the story. Startups have better stories, raw stories full of exhaustive experiences that gave insights that resulted in the realization of the gaps they are trying to fill.
With startup branding, we get to start with a clean slate; with endless possibilities and (if the client is adventurous,) a license to pursue farthest lengths creatively. A startup has a better scope at most things when compared to a pre-established business- apart from the capital, which never seems enough.
Since we are starting building a brand from scratch, it becomes easy to maintain consistency in a startup. This is an advantage added to the fact that with consistency, it is not rigid. There’s always a scope of change, of updation based on feedback or otherwise.
The results of startup branding also show bigger, better, and clearer.
Over to you
As a branding studio, it hurts to see startups with brilliant ideas but flimsy visual identity design failing to attract customers that it deserves.
Many startups fail. Studies show it is more than 90%. We believe it is because of branding, or the lack thereof. We tend to assume things but we must acknowledge that we are wrong about almost everything.
— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio