I was honoured to be invited to join Startup Canada (@Startup_Canada) and ThinkHatch (@ThinkHatchCA) as an Expert Advisor on branding for their June 8, 2018 live #StartupChats on Twitter hosted by Kylie Woods, the Founder & CEO of Calgary-based Chic Geek (@kywoods_). Here were the questions posed and my answers:
What makes up a startup brand’s identity, and why is it important?
@AMA_Marketing (American Marketing Association) defines the word brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”. I would add it’s about how these things make one feel. Good branding not only highlights what makes you unique, but it builds credibility and rapport which is key because when all things are equal, people prefer to buy from people they know, like and trust.
What goes into deciding a name for a startup company?
A branding exercise — ideally with a specialist — will ensure you don’t inherit a bad brand, communicate the wrong message or end up with a muddy brand you can’t control. Forbes published a great article on naming startup businesses.
What advice do you have for designing a startup brand from a creative perspective? How do you choose the right colours, look and feel for your brand?
93% of shoppers make purchase decisions based on colour so colour choice is critical. It should be based on brand promise & our target’s preferences & consider their cultural upbringing, context and of course, the psychology of colour.
How do you develop your startup brand’s core messaging and it’s ‘voice’?
To design a brand’s core messaging– their mission, vision, values, elevator pitch, tagline & key differentiators–we must understand; the problem they solve, their customers & competition, why they are unique & why we should choose them.
How do you know your startup is at the right stage to launch? What are the requirements before showing your big idea to the world?
In today’s digital world, it’s expected that a brand has a professional logo, business cards, corporate websites & a presence where their ideal customers spend time e.g. Facebook & LinkedIn
With so much competition and ever-changing trends, how do you develop your startup’s online presence? How do you stand out?
My brand stands out by actively & authentically LIVING our mission and values and acting as if our vision is already a reality.
How do you find the right creative agency to work with when designing and launching your brand?
Choosing partners is always hard, especially when you want them to create something you cannot as is the case with a creative agency. I always look for people I know, like and trust and when that’s not possible go by referral. Portfolios and positive reviews are always reviewed.
What are some unique ideas, practices and examples in building a truly authentic startup brand?
My #brandingtips? I am a big fan of creating brand boards on @Pinterest to gather & create conversations about existing collateral, likes, dislikes. I also am a big fan of mind mapping what the customer looks like before and after their experience with the brand.
Can the CEO’s or executive team’s personal brand be integrated into the company’s brand? Why can this be a good thing, or a bad thing?
Integrating CEO’s or executive team’s personal brand into the company’s brand is risky, since they are replacable even if they think they are not.
Any last tips or advice on how to successfully launch your startup brand?
1. Brands with letters at beginning of alphabet rise to top of digital results.
2. Make up a new word to ensure I can fully ‘own’ the brand digitally.
3. Rebranding is expensive on so many levels so do it right the first time.
BIG THANKS to fellow Expert Advisors:
- Christine Whone. A designer at heart with a deep passion for web design and software design, she also has a zest for projects in print, communications, education, marketing, entrepreneurship and community development. Actually / Canada Learning Code. @christinewhone
- Mark Evans. Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, which helps B2B technology companies attract more high-quality leads. ME Consulting. @markevans
- Julie Guyard. creator of supported startups & business wellness: from startup to fortune 500. new BIG brand (nbb). @newBIGbrand
It was a pleasure to (virtually) meeting you and enjoyed your answers too!