Why should you invest in branding?

Branding can impact a business in all kinds of ways. It can change how your customers and investors see you. It can influence the attitude and approach of your team members. And ultimately, it can shape your personal satisfaction in your business. But for startups, with so much other stuff to pull the attention, branding is easily overlooked, and it can be difficult to know when to start. There are a few key things to keep in mind.

When should a startup think about branding?

Branding really has to start at the beginning, right at the very outset of a business – even before that if it’s at all possible! If you feel that your business is great and will be different from others, you have to invest in making it a success. That means investing in branding from the earliest possible stages – staking out what makes your business different, what it can deliver, the company's ethos, and the brand's personality. Because if you want your brand to make an impact, you have to shape it to make sure it makes the right one. Remember, building a brand is not just about the visuals.

How can you start branding when you're on a budget?

Branding always really comes down to a set of key questions. What is your Purpose? What will your Brand Values be? Who is your Target Audience? What will be your Positioning in the market? What personality do you want for the business? How different will your business be and in what ways? When you can answer those questions, there are various ways to approach Brand Identity. But the important thing is that you know what you want to achieve. That way, you can begin to work on your Brand Identity and develop a set of guidelines to build your business around. This also ensures that any investment you make will always be well spent.   

What elements of branding should you look at pre-investment?

The best thing anyone can do pre-investment is to tell their story. You might have come up with your set of guidelines, or even have a fully developed brand identity mapped out, but you need to develop a story to go with that. Something to engage would-be investors. So, again, this probably starts with questions. But this time, the questions are, why should anyone care about you and your brand? And why should someone invest? You need a convincing story to answer those questions and get investors on board.

How do you prioritise once you have investment?

If you have investment, The core of your brand (the words, story, values etc) and the key components of a visual identity must be your first priority. When you have solid Brand Guidelines, you are in a position to easily brief other people to deliver whatever other assets you need – website, sales deck, social templates, videos. But without a clear brand, you can’t provide the guidance required. So, when you outsource or even delegate within your team, whatever is created for you will inevitably lack consistency. And in the long run, it will cost you more, as it will have to be redone.

Branding is vital to all businesses. If you start up a company without a strong brand in mind, it can take you much longer to find your feet and convince your customers. But you can begin to focus on branding with a minimal budget - you just have to work out your main priorities.