One of the most crucial building blocks of a successful startup is—making it recognizable.
Even the biggest and most iconic brands have struggled with the question of creating a memorable identity for themselves. At the core of this struggle lies the idea of branding.
Branding is essentially about creating the experience that people subconsciously associate with your brand. It’s a combination of design assets that represent your brand values and set you apart from the competition.
In Jeff Bezos’s words, “Your brand is what people say about you after you leave the room.”
A branding strategy plays a vital role in a startup’s growth. Launched in 2014 as a small-scale dating platform, Bumble is a billion-dollar company that best exemplifies this. The brand established itself in a Tinder-monopolized industry to the credit of its meaningful branding of a beehive—which represents its women-centric mission.
Bumble is just one of the many stories to show the difference branding can create in your business’s success. With this blog, you can learn about the five foundational branding elements and find the right direction for your own strategy.
1. Memorable logo design
Perhaps the most important design asset of your brand is— logo design.
A company’s logo builds recognition. That explains why 94% of the world’s entire population identifies the Coca-Cola logo.
A logo introduces your brand to the people; it captures their attention and creates a first impression. A good logo should convey your story, distinguish you from the clutter, and remain in people’s memories.
Let’s take this Movers’ logo design as an example. The minimalistic logo conveys the company’s services and shows the personal care they offer to every customer.
2. Value-driven brand voice
Your brand voice is a crucial element beyond the visible part of branding. With so many companies cropping up in every industry, the only way to stand out is with a meaningful brand voice.
Simply put, the brand voice explains the way you present yourself and communicate with the audience. It’s the personality your brand portrays while speaking to the people, whether within your team or outside it.
People will resonate with your brand only because of how you communicate with them and your words to do it. Starbucks, for instance, is among the best coffee brands globally—thanks to its detailed brand voice strategy. The brand expresses the passion of a coffee lover to build a connection and encourage purchase.
If you want to figure out your brand voice, here are some steps to begin:
- Identify your target audience and build customer personas.
- Create the perfect tone that would resonate with your target customers and display your brand personality.
- Document your strategy and prepare elaborate guidelines for consistency across marketing channels.
- Review your brand voice regularly and modify as per the need.
3. Unique mood board
Fact: 85% of shoppers make their buying decisions influenced by the color of the product.
Whether it’s McDonald’s iconic red and yellow or Cadbury’s blue and gold, a color palette goes a long way in building a brand’s vibe and recall value.
A mood board is the perfect representation of your color palette. Instead of choosing a set of primary colors, you can create a complete identity for your brand with a collection of visuals and fonts on a mood board.
A branding mood board will:
- Inspire creativity and aid your branding efforts
- Allow consistency to create a brand experience
- Help in decision-making for any design projects
- Subtly convey your brand story
Take some inspiration from this Terracotta mood board. It aligns with the brand’s modern décor products and captures its true colors.
4. Set of favorite fonts
The fonts you use in your branding directly affect the users’ emotional response. So, brand typography becomes a necessary part of your brand style.
Your brand’s typography is a collection of fonts and typefaces. It underlines your brand’s meaning, adds the right personality, and helps in building a connection with the target audience.
Brand typography also affects the user’s perception of your brand.
For instance, a set of sans-serif fonts are more suited for a more modern audience, while the monospaced fonts present a technological vibe. Every font has its own personality.
The first step in defining your fonts is always to outline your brand’s personality—how do you want your audience to recognize you. Once you have your personality traits listed, understand every typeface, and pick the most relevant one.
Here are some basic fonts and the characteristics they represent:
- Serif: traditional and respectable
- Sans-serif: minimal and modern
- Script: distinctive and unique
- Decorative: dramatic and chic
- Handwritten: personal and informal
5. A brand environment
When the logo, fonts, color, and voice come together, they create a brand environment.
Consider the brand environment as your creative playground. It brings all the elements together to create the style guide for your marketing campaigns. Whether launching your social media presence or revamping your website, a brand environment will guide you about visual aesthetics.
If you have conceptualized your ideal brand environment as a startup, your branding efforts are close to complete.
To create your brand environment, you only need to piece together all the other branding elements:
- Decide the color theme for your website, social media, and marketing.
- Choose the kind of graphics you want to use to visualize your content.
- Identify the tone of your messages.
- Define the x-factor to make your brand stand out.
A brand identity lies at the core of every marketing campaign. You can give shape to your long-term marketing goals by putting effort into building your brand first.
David Brier perfectly sums up the importance of branding, “If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.”
But branding a startup from scratch can be as challenging as it is exciting.
With these five key elements, you can start putting together the branding jigsaw puzzle for your startup. Focus on expressing your story and creating the design elements that best convey it. Work with the goal that your branding efforts today will lead to the brand identity that your audience will remember forever!