In this article, we will talk about what branding your startup means for you and your business. If you prefer to watch a video instead, please see the video I created below:

 

What is branding? Well in the 17th century, just to give you a little bit of La-di-da history. The origination or the origins of the term brand or branding, came actually in the 17th century when farmers would take iron, put in hot coal with like a logo or an emblem and they would burn the back side of a cow. They did this as a sense of ownership, so when you see the mark, then you would know that this cow is owned by say Peter or Jane. So that was the origins of the term. But the origins of the practice itself, what actually branding means, dates way beyond that time.

There are three core elements that will make up your startup brand; Character, Personality and Visual Aesthetic.

A lot of people associate branding with the third, which is the visual aesthetic of the brand. So when they look at a logo, colors, typography or when they look at your website — they would call that the brand. Granted, these elements do point towards the brand but they are not the actual brand in of themselves.

Back to our three components: Character, Personality and Visual Aesthetic. Let’s go through each individually.

Brand Character

This deals with whether, for example, the brand is adventurous, a brand of integrity or nurturing. These are the things that are intangible. You can’t really see it but you can experience it. The character of your startup brand is only tested over time. If your brand is a brand of integrity, over time your audience will testify to whether this is true or not. How do you handle pressure or difficult situations? Do you stand up for what you believe or not? Simply saying you are brand of character is not enough — you need to live it. This is very important as you work on branding your startup.

Brand Personality

The second component is personality. Now, this deals more with the expressed nature of a brand. Is it outgoing, gentle or quirky. Within personality you would find elements like the language that the brand uses. Notice the clear similarities between a brand and a person. This is because people relate to people.

People don’t relate to products, services or features.

Though a lot of marketers would sell features, that’s not what people actually relate to. As you brand your startup, build yours on the basis of the people of the brand. That’s what makes the brand.

Visual Aesthetic

The third and final component as you consider branding your startup, is the one that’s most popular — logos, websites, brochures e.t.c The visual aesthetic of the brand. This is what a lot of people confuse and commonly associate with branding. It’s easy to understand why, because it’s the most visual aspect of the brand.

These three components are interlinked and they should work cohesively together to form the brand itself. Your character works together with your personality. If you have a certain character, the personality would match your character. And the visual aesthetic would also match your personality and character. For example, someone who is quirky, tends to wear bright colors and unusual combinations. You can also find traits of their quirky nature in their behaviour and language.

You can also take a look at this article on why branding is important.