Brand Strategies for Startups


Starting a startup has many challenges to overcome. For early-stage CEOs, the main concerns usually revolve around product development and securing funding. However, many fail to realize the importance of brand building, often pushing it to the background.

Brand building is just as important to early success as product development and funding.


Toddler syndrome


Startups often struggle to get their product or service innovations to be perceived by investors and potential customers. In the beginning, founders tend to believe that everyone will immediately understand the significance of their ideas. Therefore, their messages often fail at the initial stage.

Like a baby just learning to walk, stumbling and getting up repeatedly is part of development for startups. However, the fast pace of venture capital deals is unforgiving to startup founders who can't effectively articulate why their innovation matters to anyone.

Startup founders need to articulate why their ideas and propositions are important to a specific group of people.


What sets your startup apart?


The market is filled with countless businesses, often with similar products and services. Startup CEOs invest long hours, days, weeks, and years into their businesses. It should be remembered that brand strategy is also a business process. The first step in building a sustainable brand is gaining trust.

Founders must identify and justify what makes their innovation necessary and different. In a world where commoditization is on the rise, appropriate differentiation becomes the formula for brand success.

Being different means offering something unique that a well-defined target customer highly seeks and that cannot be easily found anywhere else. When the founder can clearly define it for his own business, he will also be able to enjoy a competitive advantage in the field.


Brand strategy is not marketing


A common misconception among startup CEOs is that brand building is purely a marketing activity. Brand strategy and marketing are two separate but interrelated phenomena. The brand strategy involves understanding and defining the core value proposition to the market, while marketing focuses on expressing value and conveying messages through various communication channels.

Brand strategy requires real marketing insights and creative thinking, while marketing requires financial resources. Marketing should always follow a well-defined brand strategy, not the other way around.


Branding starts with naming, choosing a memorable name for the brand


As a startup grows over time, it gains loyal customers, builds trusted relationships, and develops a reputation that translates into greater financial value. All of this can be achieved more effectively by choosing a strong, memorable name that will be the foundation of your brand's reputation. The name is the first story ever told about your offer.

Choosing the right name takes time and creativity, but it's an important step in establishing a strong brand presence.


A brand is the total of all experiences that a customer has received through communication with a brand. Strong and sustainable startup brands understand this and provide all three components.


Brand identity. this includes the essence of the brand and how it resonates with customers. It is represented by symbols, language, and the organization's culture and heritage. For example, Apple's brand identity is synonymous with innovation, simplicity, and elegance.

Brand promise. this refers to the benefit the brand brings to customers. Service and product associations are based on the functional, experiential, and emotional benefits customers receive from the brand. For example, Airbnb promises unique travel experiences that are more than the familiar accommodations or guesthouses.

Brand experience. this represents the tangible interaction and transaction that customers have with the brand. It reflects how a brand delivers on its promise. These associations are formed through actual interactions with products, people, and places. For example, Tesla provides a seamless electric car driving experience as well as a network of charging stations.

These three components form the foundation of a sustainable brand right from the start. They must be designed in detail and adapted to the preferences of the target audience, thanks to which success will be ensured.