3 Key Steps to Launching Your Brand

by Julie Legrand, Off The Ground www.offtheground.biz

Branding is a very complex challenge. People often mistake a brand for a logo, but it’s much more than that. Often startups think branding is just an annoying thing on their “to do” list so that they just ignore it and push it off until they’re big enough for a full-time marketing team. Big mistake. Yes, branding does cost money, and to do it right, it’s a rather involved process. But it costs a lot more to rebrand later on in the game.

Here are minimum 3 steps a start-up needs to take to launch their brand:

1)     Finding a Name Finding a name that you can get excited about is one of the most aggravating challenges of starting a business these days. The Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl is famously quoted as saying the “Foo Fighters” was intended as a placeholder and is “the worst f#&ing band name in the world”. While they’ve gone on to be one of the most successful bands in the past two decades, the point is he hates the name, but once he launched it was too late to change it. Today the name must not only be catchy, but you also have to take into account two additional complications:

  • Domain Yeah, it’s tough these days to find a name and a correspondingly good url, but it’s doable. Recently, lots of pretty well-known online brands are coming up with creative alternatives to the dot-com shortage through effective “domain hacking” (i.e., del.icio.us, scrumptio.us, bit.ly).
  • Trademark Another challenge to the naming issue is trademarks. Don’t think that because you don’t see someone using your name online that it’s not being used. Best bring in a trademark attorney early on to do a search rather than have to rename yourself later.

Naming definitely not easy, but it’s an important part of your business. Today, you may have to bring in a naming agency and you typically can get great name for about $5K plus legal fees for the trademark work.

2)     Creating a logo Ah the crappy logo . . . my pet peeve.  I often find that tech founders try to save costs by cobbling one together or they opt for the $10 online logo farm. Their intention is that this will be used as a placeholder until the money really starts coming in, but often they find themselves permanently stuck with it because it’s becomes too complicated expensive to swap out once you’ve already launched your product. Unless you’re swimming in cash, I don’t advocate hiring an expensive branding agency to do a $50K brand evaluation, but I do recommend bringing in a pro.  You can find awesome freelance designers to create a complete brand (logo, guidelines, social networking iterations, etc.) it for $3-$5K (if they ask for less than $1000, they’re probably not up to the challenge). The trick is finding the right ones and understanding how to art direct them through the process.

3)     Nailing your pitch The logo is just an image, but your pitch is the essence of who you are. For a startup this is an ever-evolving process and you’ll be pivoting the pitch for quite some time. Whatever your product is, you need to effectively communicate what you do to prospective investors, partners and customers. Sometimes this just flows, while other times it’s quite a challenge. In these cases, I like to hire great copy writers (typically from ad agencies) to nail the language. Once you’ve got your pitch solidified, the rest of the marketing language just flows. The three core elements are the pitch are as follows:

  • Short description or tagline This is a very short—one sentence or less—written description of your company that you can put on your website / email signature / Twitter profile etc. that will entice readers to learn more about you (this can either be witty or descriptive).
  • Long description Once you’ve enticed them with the your intro, now you have to delve in with a solid paragraph that outlines what you’re trying to do and how you’re different than everyone else. I strongly suggest you avoid techy jargon and describe your company / product in a way that most anyone can understand what you offer.  You can throw the technical stuff in as you dig into your marketing copy.
  • Elevator pitch How you describe yourself in person can be different from your written marketing language. It typically includes what you product / service is and what kind of help you need to be successful. It needs to be brief, enticing, and natural. Again, avoid too much jargon—you want to be able to engage anyone you meet. Here too, you can dig into the techy stuff if need be, once you’ve enticed them with the pitch. You never know who might be able to help you out, and they can only do so if they understand who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. This can only be perfected by practicing on lots of people and watching which descriptions fall on dumbfounded faces and which are received with enthusiastic “aha’s”.

Simple, right? Well to be honest, branding it a bit more than this, but if you do these three things well you’ll be in great shape to take off.  Yes, you will need to spend some money bringing in the right team of experts to solidify your brand up front. You should plan to spend a minimum of $5 – 15K (or more for a consumer-based brand) on your brand early on, but it will save you money in the long term. Do yourself – and your funders – a favor and come out of the gate with a solid brand that you can live with for a long time.

Comments & Advice:
  1. It takes time to become a brand and to handle that brand,launch it is very important so from above blog I understand how to launch the brand with precautions.Thanks for sharing

  2. My brother recommended I may like this blog. He used
    to be totally right. This publish truly made my day. You can not consider
    simply how so much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

Make Your Comment: