Our branding agency often works with start-up companies. At this critical time it’s important for an organization to invest in how to articulate its vision. A logo, tagline, and other marketing efforts are valuable and worthwhile expressions of a brand. But these elements are like rooms in a home. The foundation of the home are its principles, purpose, and promise.
Launching an enterprise without first ensuring that the foundation is strong (and reflective of the organization and it’s growth goals) is like building a house on sand. It may be stable for a while but it will lack the long term staying power of something erected on a solid base.
State your principles
Principles (or values) are the standards of behavior an organization agrees to follow. They are the agreed upon judgement of what is most important. They act as a lens through which to view issues and challenges, and help to provide focus to decision makers. While more and more companies are recognizing the benefits of principles, we’ve found that an alarming number of start-up companies do not. Without clearly stated principles, branding efforts lack an important pillar. There is less of a shared commitment and less of an internalized code upon which to build inward and outward messaging. Branding materials lack the structural integrity they might have enjoyed if connected to the underlying ethos discovered when identifying and stating your principles.
Articulate your purpose
A brand’s purpose statement is the “why” that drives the organization. Like a mission, a company’s purpose states what the organization exists to do. It calls teams to higher ground in the face of day-to-day challenges by acting as a reminder of the mission. It’s like a north star, helping the enterprise to keep navigating toward a fixed point. The development of your purpose requires focus and introspection. This process leads to, not only an articulated statement, but also valuable insight to leverage when crafting brand messaging and design. To develop branding without a thoughtful purpose is to miss out on another valuable pillar, and to jeopardize the longevity and strength of the brand materials that will ultimately be created.
Declare your promise
What are the benefits you provide your customer? What can people count on if they engage with your team? What does your organization promise? Answering these important questions accelerates and focuses the development of brand messaging. Another opportunity to look within, the process of defining the brand’s promise can serve as a unifier within an organization. The resulting clarity and differentiation provides more brand foundational thinking as it further defines the organization, allowing for solid expressions of who the organization is at the core.
Start-ups need solid branding. The clear communication of who an organization is and what they stand for is always beneficial. At such a critical time as a brand launch, the need is amplified. During this time an organization is likely to be channeling valuable resources into gaining attention from its customers. This heightened visibility tests messaging and branding. Is there consistency in brand tone? Are positioning and differentiation well communicated to the marketplace? Are people receiving the messages the brand most hopes to send?
Additionally, internal teams will be executing strategies involving various communications tactics and these can lack cohesion. Keeping the organization unified and on message becomes more important than ever. The brand’s principles, purpose, and promise are its underlying foundation. Thinking through these pillars increases the chance of developing quality materials that resonate with your audience. Take the time to build a strong foundation for your brand. The results are more likely to be authentic expressions of the brand, to remain relevant over time, and to provide ongoing value as the organization grows.
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