5 Branding Guidelines That You Must Always Follow

Branding a Startup is often seen as an art- your golden touch rather than an exact science. That’s why many still struggle with a clear definition. With so many industries, segments and sentiments attached to your Startup and small business brands, it may also be difficult to formulate generalized rules on how to to build a remarkable brand. It is a delicate process of conviction and everyone must figure out his or her own method. Nevertheless, there are a few tried and tested guidelines which all brands must adhere to. These are not concrete rules but some best practices to make the process smooth. Here’s a list of our top 5 branding guidelines that you must always follow!

5 Branding Guidelines That You Must Always Follow Brandanew

1. Be clear about your goals

To begin with, you must be very clear about the goals of your organization. Also, the goal must be long term and not just immediate monetary ones. You need to be clear where the organization wants to go in the long run and how it wants to be seen. This is what will define the brand proposition of your Startup or small business. Your mission and vision statements should be a good place to clarify the same. Many have differing views on whether or not a mission/vision are needed as they may seem outdated. You may call this what you like. But to be able to define who you are and where do you see yourself in the future years is critical. It’s a brand vision that you will work your way towards. 

2. Build memorable brand identities

A brand is identified by various symbols associated with it. It may be a logo or a punchline. Sometimes even an ad jingle become so popular that they become invariably associated with the brand for decades. But for every iconic logo, there are thousands of others that never register in our minds. Creating a memorable brand symbol is a dedicated task and it must be handled by a professional. You have to carefully consider every aspect of these entities. For instance, the colour of the logo, shape, size, font used in the text, music used in the ad, everything adds to the aura. If you are hiring celebrity endorsers, you must be sure if the image of that celebrity fits with the image that you want to build for your brand.

Getting a Starbucks in Barnes and Nobles is a good idea, but for  Starbucks Walmart, it may give a different image out to the customers. Be sure it is what you want. It’s important to create brand associations after careful thought! This could conflict with your distribution or sales strategy, but ensure that you know the impact every new activity has on your Startup and small business brand.

3. Define your USP

You will always find someone else trying to grab the same market as you. Competition exists everywhere. So, you need to be clear about your USP. It starts from defining your market. What market are you in? Who do you see as competition? What exact quality differs you from your competitors? Why should the customer prefer your product over theirs? These questions may seem basic, but you will be surprised at how many small businesses and Startups struggle with defining their markets. These aspects are complicated and require time investment. You must be able to convey your USPs through cohesive brand communications. This includes your adverts, brochures and even your packaging material.

4. Know your target segment

You need to be very clear about your target audience. Every market has different segments. One product is not going to work for everyone. So you must figure out which segment of the market brings maximum value to your consumer. Which demographics are you finding interesting? Are your products suitable for young adults and children? Is it a luxury brand for the rich or a utility option for the middle class? If you are still beta testing your products and services, you may need some data beforehand. Sometimes you may have to change your targeting based on results and in that case entire brand communication will need to change too. 

5. Be realistic

Finally, you need to be realistic with your goals and expectations as a new business or a Startup. It takes hard work to build a brand and you cannot get results overnight. Usually any new business has a limited budget. So, get your expectations real when you hire people for work. Do not expect gold after paying peanuts. Realistic expectations will keep you focused and help avoid disappointments.

How are you going ahead and branding your Startup? Do let us know the pain-points that you struggle with!

Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.