Branding your Start-up
So you’ve jumped across all the hurdles in your way, put in sweat and blood, and invested countless hours to kick-off your start-up. Now how do you get noticed? For startups, it’s important to “go live” and start generating revenue before running out of initial capital. This definitely drives a sense of urgency to succeed quickly. Many entrepreneurs spend most of their time on the concept and its execution, but should also translate the startup’s big idea into a brand idea. Especially as they cross 3-5 years mark and become a real business. Your brand is your identity; it defines how your customers perceive you. It is the experience you deliver to your customers.
Think about the logos of some of the world’s most admired brands (Apple, Google, Amazon). How do you feel (emotionally) when you see their logos? A brand is so much more than a logo and a slogan, it is reputation and feeling.
We partnered with design start-up Yellow Cursor to help us do rebranding. It did not just mean changing the logo and a color change; the focus was also on the color palette, typography, imagery, tagline, perception, etc. We had to do lot of introspection to really answer some tough questions, which we do not think about it in our day to day lives. They summarized their research to come up with a One-line Pitch for the Brand: ‘Enabling Smarter Transactions’
We then hit the drawing board and came up with a number of possible designs, beginning with dozens of doodles:
We finally settled on the insignia shown below. Because, we are providing the explanation after this paragraph in depth
The insignia is built from two arrowheads – an upward and another downward. These arrows represent Trading (Up / Down) and Transactions (Inward / Outward). These arrows also form the half-letters U and T.
Enclosed in these arrowheads, at the core, is a motherboard which symbolizes technology. Two horizontal lines connect the motherboard to the outside world, showing the Open Source nature of the brand. The line also represents currency, as it is used in the symbols of dollars, pounds, euros, rupees, yen, yuan, bitcoins, etc.
The square creates a sense of equality and conformity. It is seen as stable and trusting. It also relates to the earth, with each of the four corners relating to the four points on a compass.
Blue stands for positivity, innovation, sophistication, energetic, credibility, integrity, reliability, loyalty and professionalism.
The upper half uses a tint of Blue and the lower half uses a shade of Blue.
The word ‘uTrade’ is written with Esphimere, a freely available, futuristic font.
Is this logo too simple?
Yes it is better. Like any ideas, its better to simplify logos too.
We tested our logo against, Timelessness, Portability, Scalability, Colour and Shape Psychology, Culture-Connect, Applicability and Simplicity.
This logo has passed all of these tests. The entire science converges to this logo. Furthermore, the concept helps us derive the branding for products and child / sister companies in the future.
Is it really necessary for a Growing Company to invest in Branding?
Simple answer maybe,
- No, if you are in early stage and still trying to discover your real sustainable business model.
- Yes, if you have come on the other side of tough startups ecosystem and are profitable now, and planning to scale.
Let’s face it. You’re in a crowded ecosystem. You need a more distinctive position than: “We’re disrupting X” or “We’re like, you know, the Uber of Y.” A meaningful brand strategy can help everyone understand why YOU matter and why they should care. Differentiation is key to survival as a startup, so you need to get this right.
In today’s hyper-competitive world, emotion is the secret of many of the world’s most successful brands. It can help your brand become more appealing, differentiated, and loved once you recognize its power. Developing a brand strategy that mixes both the rational and the emotional aspects of your brand will win both the hearts and minds of those people you are trying to capture.
Extraordinary things happen when an organization embraces a purposeful brand strategy. It drives new attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors across your team. It evolves your marketing, communications, and advertising. It inspires new product development. It makes your workplace more productive. It changes how people experience your brand. When companies adapt their behavior to live up to the brand promise, people notice. And that’s exactly the result you want.
Don’t wait too long to discover the true, authentic purpose of your brand, and define why it matters to the people that matter to your business. It should be well worth your time.