Branding is a potential marketing rathole for startups, particularly early-stage ones. Startups who prioritise branding are putting the cart before the horse. Focus should be on product and business first - the real work to prove product-market-fit.
Branding comes after PMF. "You don’t need a brand before you have PMF."
Even when branding makes sense, a startup usually focuses on the wrong elements, eg: the logo instead of the targeting. Targeting matters, the value prop matters, positioning matters. The visual identity and brand values not so much.
Do want to build a brand? Go sell some software.
Want to improve your brand perception? Go sell some software.
Want to have a distinctive brand visual territory? Go sell some software.
Branding may seem a hairy topic but it can be broken down into:
This is brandspeak for figuring out who you’re selling to. Think STP (segment, target, position).
The high-level expression of why someone should buy from your company, often more simply known as the value proposition. For tech startups they tend to fall into a few patterns:
Positioning comes down to answering one of two questions:
Startups who are alone in defining their category need to focus on the first question. Those in crowded categories (either a new market with several nascent entrants or a more developed category with the usual suspects), the emphasis needs to be on why buy mine.
Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.
Focusing on the logo and brand values before having a business is like putting the cart before the horse.
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