Unlock the Power of Your Startup Brand with This Simple Framework

Unlock the Power of Your Startup Brand with This Simple Framework

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Branding is essential for startups who want to stand out in a crowded market. It’s not just about having a cool logo, it’s a must-have for your business.

Some people see branding as just another business function, but it’s actually a strategic plan that will guide everything you do in your business.

Don’t be a me-too brand

If you fail to do this, you may end up blindly following trends or competitors, resulting in a generic, me-too brand that competes primarily on price.

But by gaining a deep understanding of the 3 brand elements, you can stand out, chart your own course, and innovate with confidence.

Winning in the marketplace requires a deep understanding of your brand, not just blindly copying trends or competitors. Be a leader, not a follower.

The key elements to startup brand success:

1. Soul

2. Style

3. Spine

1. Soul

“Knowing yourself” is what Socrates believed was key to leading a fulfilling life. The same principle holds true for building a thriving brand.

A brand, like a person, has its own distinct story, vision, mission, personality, values, target audience, and unique qualities. To unlock your brand’s full potential, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of these elements.

77% of consumers choose to purchase from brands that align with their own personal values. (Havas Group).

Things to consider when discovering your brand soul:

1. Origin story — Why did you start your business?

2. Vision — What’s your dream for the future?

3. Mission — What are you doing to achieve that dream?

4. Brand personality — What are your brand’s archetypes?

5. Values — What principles do you uphold when doing business?

6. Target audience — Who do you serve?

7. Your differentiation — What makes you different from others?

8. Brand brief — A brief document (1-2 pages) including all the above. Share it with everyone you hire, especially the sales,     marketing, PR, and design team. It’s essential.

2. Style

While having a brand soul is important, it’s not enough to rely solely on it to win over customers. You need to create a compelling brand identity that people can see and feel.

A well-designed brand identity can have a significant impact on customer perception and loyalty.

Design is more than just a few tricks to the eye. It’s a few tricks to the brain. — Neville Brody

By creating a strong and consistent visual identity, you can establish trust and familiarity with your audience, which can help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace and create a lasting impression in the minds of consumers.

The key components for your startup brand identity:

1. Logo — choose either a wordmark or logomark (with an icon).

2. Colors — limit your palette to 3 colors: 1 dominant, 1 accent, and 1 neutral.

3. Fonts — stick to 1 font, or 2 if you want to be more creative.

4. Brand elements — incorporate unique imagery, illustrations, or graphics that represent your brand.

5. Tone of voice — use 3 words to describe how your brand communicates.

6. Style guide — create a simple one-page guide to share with your marketing and design team.

3. Spine

Now that you’ve established your brand’s soul and style, it’s time to bring it to life through action. A brand spine refers to the way you consistently act and make decisions in alignment with your brand's soul and style.

Just like a person needs a backbone to support their actions and movements, your brand needs a spine to ensure that it behaves in a manner that aligns with its essence.

Activate your brand

Consider these touchpoints for your startup:

 1.  Website

 2.  Pitch deck

 3.  Social media

 4.  Packaging design

 5.  Email marketing

 6.  Product design

 7.  Customer service

 8.  Events and trade shows

 9.  Ads

 10. Promotional products

Don’t forget personal branding

Personal branding is just as crucial, but it’s often overlooked. The brand’s soul and style can also be reflected in the founder’s personal brand.

I’ve seen female founders being approached by investors for opportunities because they put effort into building their personal brand on social media.

Ways to build a founder’s personal brand:

  • Utilize social media
  • Give public speeches
  • Participate in interviews
  • Get media exposure
  • Write guest blog posts
77% of consumers are more likely to buy when the CEO of a brand is active on social media. (CEO Hangout)
Kung Pik Liu


Kung Pik Liu • Founder of Design Angel

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Startup Branding Quiz:

Health check your brand to identify areas for improvement and take your brand to the next level. → TAKE THE QUIZ

2. Build a Fundable Brand™ Bootcamp:

A 30-day bootcamp for first-time founders to create your very own investor-ready brand (even if you have ZERO design or marketing experience) in just 1 hour a day. → JOIN THE WAITLIST

3.  Brand Perfect Unlimited: Subscribe to our friendly service plan with no proposal or scope of work required. Request unlimited designs hassle-free. → SEE PLANS