6 reasons why a startup should invest in brand strategy, right from the start.

It all starts with a rush. An idea and insight you can't get rid of, and you fantasize about making that concept into a business. You take the leap, and your adventure has begun. Now your journey involves steps to developing your idea into a plan, researching your key demographic, finding funding, oh the funding. But when every dollar counts, budding entrepreneurs can be reluctant to invest the proper attention to a branding strategy right from the beginning, thinking "as soon as I've made enough money, I'll spend it on a good logo." This thinking can sink a potential great business before it even gets started. Here's some reasons why investing in a strong presence from the get-go is better than flying by the seat of your pants.

1. Credibility - You have a great idea, but your buyers aren't buying it. Why? You have a great product, you know that their lives will better greatly once they take the leap and invest with you, but there's a disconnect, and your sales definitely reflect that. When you don't look the part, it's hard for your clients to see that you mean business and you're genuine.

2. Consistency - A brand identity provides consistency communicating with all your design elements like your logo, advertisements, business cards, letterheads website, ect. and this can be as simple as keeping your fonts, imagery and colours consistent. Does your brand carry through in all the places that you're seen, from packaging to online to social media? Having different and conflicting design elements can confuse your buyers, to the point where they don't recognize you, and when you're first starting out, and trying to build an identifiable brand, this is crucial for recall.

3. Professionalism - Anyone can design a logo in Word, or grab some stock imagery from a website, but when you hire a professional designer, they're able to sit down with you and create a brand that will accurately express your company clearly and powerfully. It also shows that you have committed to a professional to put your best foot forward. Would you show up to a first date in sweat pants and a t-shirt? First impressions matter, especially when it comes to how you present your business to the world.

4. Differentiate or Die - You have an amazing product, but why should anyone believe you? You're in a crowded ecosystem and you have hundreds of competitors. In today’s highly visual world, so many companies miss the opportunity to stand out and stand apart from their competition. A meaningful brand strategy can set you apart and help your clients understand why you matter and why they should care.

5. Understand Your Niche - We're living in a digital world, and understanding your clientele will help you better understand why having a strong web presence is an investment and not a cost. These days people will sooner search for a business online than pick up a phone book, and this is especially true for Millennials. If your target clientele is anyone under 40 a website is a must, and unfortunately Facebook won't cut it. Invest in a well built site that is highly visual, responsive (crucial!) and is easy to navigate to reduce bounce rates.

6. It Costs Less - You read right, good design costs less! Have you ever talked to someone who couldn't afford a professional designer, wanted to save some money and had it done on the cheap? More than likely they ended up with something they weren't happy with, and had to hire a professional for a re-design. It's the same as buying a cheap shirt that will fall apart in 2 washes versus spending a little more on something built with quality that will last you years. Make sure you allocate enough budget to do your brand justice. Invest once, and good design will cost you less in the end.

At Clover & Crow, I often help new businesses into the branded world for the first time. Don’t wait too long to recognize the true, authentic purpose of your startup, and define why it matters to the people that matter to your business. It will be well worth it.

Amy BridgeforthComment