Investing in Brand: It’s Never Too Early

Many of our clients call us after they’ve got a working product or once they embark on a sales effort in earnest. They see branding as an expensive and time-consuming exercise that they’d rather postpone.

In almost every case, we wish they’d reached out sooner.

Branding is not a one-time exercise; your brand is a muscle that you strengthen over time. Most high-growth tech companies go through several brand iterations over their life cycle. Knowing that, we believe it’s never too early to invest in your brand.

In fact, when you invest in branding early in the life of your company, you’ll tap the benefits of a strong brand—market recognition, customer loyalty, and sales growth—even earlier.

Raise Your Next Round of Funding

When you fundraise, especially for an early-stage company, you need a compelling story. It’s more important than your logo and a critical part of your PR. Seriously, how can you ask for millions of dollars when you can’t explain it effectively? This is why when we create a brand, we often include a narrative that an organization can rally around internally and use as the basis of its pitch.

Unite Leadership and Employees

A brand development project has an added benefit of internal consensus building. When clients tell us they want a brand strategy, we often discover that executives’ goals are not consistent. Again, it’s a part of the process. Some people will have to give up their sacred cows; others will finally be able to share a revolutionary idea. In the end, teams gain alignment.

Get the Attention of Gartner

What could be better than a mention in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant? Many of the high-growth tech companies we meet are disrupting existing categories or even building new ones. When you show a new and better way of doing things, a strong brand makes you credible and attracts analysts’ attention.

Plus, when you launch or relaunch with a killer brand in a new category, you give newcomers a standard to emulate and make it easier for these competitors to enter.

Learn More About Your Market

In addition to internal interviews, we reach out to your prospects and, if appropriate, customers. We hear their thoughts about the market and also pressure-test your initial brand positioning and messaging. This forces you, via our work, to “get out of the building” and test your hypotheses right away.

Honest feedback is priceless. Because we are not the ones building the product, external stakeholders feel more comfortable about sharing their positive and negative reactions. And, by testing your brand with the market pre-launch, you gain reassurance that your messaging will stick.

Better Return on Your Marketing Dollars

Speaking of marketing, that function is rarely an early investment at startups. But, eventually, you’re going to focus on this effort. How great would it be if your first marketing hire received a one-pager with your brand architecture when they arrived at the company?

Brand positioning and messaging are also the foundation on which you build your brand’s look and feel—everything from your logo to your website. When your website doesn’t reflect your brand, your market will have little impact or longevity.

A strong brand will boost the effectiveness of your public relations. Every time a company communicates publicly before they’ve developed their brand, they end up continually recreating their story. Build the brand first and you’ll have a better ability to sustain a consistent message in the market.

Helps You Attract Talent

It’s a sellers’ market for talent; great employees can pick where they want to go. A strong brand raises your profile and intrigues your prospects. And your recruiters will thank you for making their job easier.

Is it ever too early to focus on your brand? Should you wait until you have a product? Perhaps, but we’ve had clients that, in the process of brand development, actually realize they need to adjust their focus and pivot to a slightly different product or service. The process of creating their brand makes their company stronger. If you think you’re too small to have a brand strategy, it’s time to reconsider.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency in Oakland, California.

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