From our experience, entrepreneurs will usually turn to a branding firm at the last stages of the product development phase. Literally right before the launch.
The reason for this lies in the fact that most "creative minds" that lead start-up companies are exceptionally technical and thus heavily rely (often too much) on digital speed and optimal use of social platforms.
The truth is, in the real, fast start-up world where the race for funding and recognition is harsh and tough, developing a clear brand strategy is precisely the added-value the company needs.
"The truth is start-up companies need a brand strategy the moment they start seeking for funding. Regardless of how creative or absurd it may be", says Eric Pinkert, CEO of Brand Culture. " Everybody knows", he adds, " that a killer application or a jaw dropping product is not enough to make a statement".
As such, Pinkert advises start-ups to brand early starting with their team: name, tittle, hobbies, special insight about each team member along a picture of course (preferably one with a smile or with a dog, at the gym etc). The reason for this is that investors will always look for a trust element in your companies and personal connection. When these elements are rightly presented, the road to getting investors on board is shorter and easier.
According to Pinkert, conglomerates such as Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook etc. became this huge simply because they offered the work a product people really use mostly via viral marketing with minimal budgets.
Whether early or not, the road to a successful brand is paved with good intentions and awful mistakes. It's been said a lot that a brand is beyond its "logo" and what a critical part it is of the overall success. How do you cross all these options successfully and safely?
Believe it or not most CEOs have a hard time answering this vital question. Why do you do what you do? People know what they do, how they do it, what are the added values of their technology, what target audience they are focusing on etc. but when it comes to answering the simple question of why? Silence takes over.
Answering those questions in depth is the first step in getting your differentiator factor and story into shape. The deeper your answer to these questions, the greater and precise your story. Sounds silly right? But for most executives answering this question is mind baffling. They often go back to answering by repeating what they do not why they do it.
We dare you to start.
Now that you have formulated an encompassing answer to the above question, you are ready to start working on your brand story. Why you do what you do is a core value and often serves as the foundation of your brand's story. Once you have a story time for strategy.
Since every company has a product, and since the world needs to know about this product, a brand strategy centralizes the sum of the actions needed to be taken and creates a structured implementation plan. This plan includes: company' s description, product, features, added- values, goals, targets and all what is required to achieve those goals.
It's time to roll up your sleeves and research your competition, targeted audience, preferences, wishes, alternatives, strengths and weaknesses, business opportunities and what to avoid at all costs. Data is priceless and there is no limit to the value it brings with it.
If you can't differentiate your product from the rest, why would anyone choose it over all the rest? The right brand strategy will identify precisely what makes your product unique, will lock it and spread the word around by creating a clear, precise, original message that would bring something new to the market.