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5 elements of building brand identity for startups

India has come a long way to become not only the second largest base for startups in the world but also jumped 23 spots from a year ago to 77 out of 190 countries on the ease of doing the business ranking, especially to startups and SMEs. However, the process of becoming a brand from a startup is a journey worth considering. The word ‘brand’ should not be confused with the size of the business basis any number like turnover or others. It is more to do with how your company’s name is recognized/identified among the relevant target audience. Confused? Refer to the example in the box:

What is brand identity?

A successful business is a brand when your customers and stakeholders look at your company name with similar perceptions or views as of yours. One of the biggest challenges with startups is that they only scratch the surface of the mammoth concept of branding. Hiring a part-time designer to share set deliverables such as logo design, business card, letterhead designs and other kinds of designs are the end results of developing the brand identity and is not the brand identity in singularity.

“Your Brand Identity is a wise investment for your company. It represents your relationship with the customer, which further impacts consumer purchase”

Megha Malik –

Basic elements of developing brand identity

Brand identity is not a process or tangible assets, but a system, which if established correctly works on its own and can be a money-making system. A brand identity system has the power to connect deeply with the customers, partners and also investors.

  1. Define your purpose: As a thumb rule, if your business is backed with a solid purpose half, your battle to get the brand identity system started is won. People love the brands that move ahead with a purpose. Your ability to explicitly express your intention will also define how deeply the TG will connect with your brand.
  2. Create visual guidelines: Establish visual guidelines to describe the colour, typography and more basis various considerations like what kind of emotion or message could specific colour or font style in the logo or on the website will convey to your audience. This exercise helps your designer to make your logo and other designs more legitimate.
  3. Create brand sentiment guideline: Your business purpose and visual guidelines will help narrow down on various aspects of your brand that you wish to communicate to the TG. This should further be leveraged to create a brand’s sentiment guideline for writing blogs or copy, brand campaigns, and social media.
  4. Walk the talk: Make the promises that you can deliver, everything else is noise. Considering the core offerings of your business, you must develop means to showcase what you can do to solve so and so problem. Any failure in meeting a commitment made explicitly to the public or even to the employees can do considerable damage to the brand identity.
  5. Create goodwill via brand ambassadors: No, we are not talking about having a celebrity on board for your startup. For any company, their first and foremost brand ambassadors are its employees. An eight-hour job has a tremendous amount of influence on how they feel about themselves and how far can they go to achieve your goals. By indulging your employees into various activities and rewarding them enables you to know them better and vice versa. This exchange creates goodwill, which your employees will willingly extend further to your existing and potential TG.

These are a few elements that many brand designing agencies in India will follow as a norm. It is recommended that brand identity system must be started as soon as operations of your business begin. You may choose to start establishing the brand identity on your own following the above tips or partner with a good design agency. If done internally, this exercise will also help you to engage with a design agency in the future that can leverage their skills to amplify your branding activities further.

Article Contributed by : Megha Malik, Co-founder, DesignerPeople

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