Are you building a start-up?

Don’t lose twice
How not to overinvest and create a profitable start-up
Building a start-up brand, pt. 1

Budget is the malady of start-ups. You need to provide funds out of your own pocket. They are optimized. Largely invested in the product. The same goes with the time necessary to prototype solutions. But what about building a start-up brand? Avoiding this step is a mistake that increases the risk of failure. A well-designed and developed brand is an efficient business tool.

The brand defines one-of-its-kind start-up identity. It develops a competitive advantage. It is a form of intellectual property and increases the start-up’s financial value. If there is no brand between the start-up and the consumer, the latter is left alone with the product without any credibility, indication or support of their selection, or a feeling of affiliation for that matter. Brand deficiency brings about difficulties in acquiring customers, investors at subsequent stages, and gives rise to a marketing of poor efficiency and, as a result, blocks the development of the start-up.

Why should I invest in a brand? The perspective prepared by Forbes induces optimism and confirms the assumption that brand investment is one of the most efficient long-term business strategies. As in previous years, Forbes prepared the ranking of the 10 World’s Most Valuable Brands in 2017. Google is at the top with $109.5 billion, followed by Apple and Amazon with $107.1 billion and $106.4 billion, respectively. Outside the podium were AT&T – $87.0 billion, Microsoft – $73.3 billion, Samsung – $66.2 billion, Verizon – $65.9 billion, Walmart – $62.5 billion, Facebook – $61.9 billion, ICBC – $47.8 billion. Regardless of the scale and business objectives, the basis for a profitable start-up is to analyse the budget for brand design. In an investment scheme, this is a 50-50 ratio. Half of the funds is allocated to brand design, whereas the other half – to generate the product.

Brand design begins with a communication strategy. This is where the most important element is made to maintain the efficiency of this process – brand’s identity and image coherence. At subsequent stages of start-up branding based on a specific strategic path lies a graphic sign – the brand’s logo. According to Alina Wheeler, the author of a popular book titled ”Branding”, a trade mark is the shortest, the quickest, and the most versatile form of communication. The next step is to design a visual system (visual identification) assigned to the brand, which is subsequently posted online, distributed as part of newsletters, print-outs, cards, presentations, correspondence, brand language, and promotional content on social media and blogs. Start-up branding can be compared with a complex chemical reaction. Matching up elements allows to obtain a satisfactory formula, which is efficient. Especially where the budget is limited and the investment is to generate returns quickly. The first step of entry into the market involves the development of professional visual identification of a start-up.

Wojciech Lanecki

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