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Tips for building your brand

Separate the brand of the product from the company

Many aspiring unicorns want to reach a point when they can sell their company, but then the only brand they created is the brand they also have to give away. I can imagine some of the separation pains with that. You get more leverage when you legally separate the company from the product brand. Of course, you have to invest in accounting to keep things transparent. Also, you need money to register your trademark. There are many ways this strategy can help you. For example, you can own patents in the company and “lease” them to the product brand, for example. You have more flexibility in how you wish to distribute stock. In this case, you can launch multiple products from the company, and look at potential spin offs for each product (if you get sufficient funding). This also allows you to cut your losses without hurting your core brand (and you can decide which it is- the company or the product). More importantly, the company brand is your personal calling card- it can stay with you forever.

The brand values are more important than the brand

Rather than wasting a lot of time, money and effort on the graphic design of the logo, do spend more time on the brand values you want for your company and the product. The brand values of the company should showcase your culture, and you need to live by them as well as invest time for training so all employees understand what it means. The brand values of your product are your promise to the market. You oversell this promise, customers will be dissatisfied with your performance, no matter how better you are from competitors. You should be able to reduce your brand promise into a tagline of not more than five words. Test it to see if the meaning is clear- ask the final customer.

 

The logo design can change- focus on the name

Brand names are important. There are all sorts of fads going around for branding: founder name combinations, native language translated names, morphed product names. All of this does not really matter though- what matters is the question: “what does it mean?” The meaning is important. Customers will make assumptions based on the font, the style, color, and graphics associated with the brand. You should be able to take your brand values and brand goals, and translate that into the brand name. Keep it simple and uncluttered. The next important thing to ask yourself is how the brand is being perceived by the customers. The more easy it is to remember and pronounce, the easier it is to ask for it when making a product choice. If you are in the B2C market, emotions matter more than performance. In B2B markets. reliability and value are key for relationship marketing. The more complicated the name, the more money you need to spend educating the customer what it means. How much money do you have to waste when you are setting up a startup?

Future potential

The brand name should have future potential for product expansions. If your brand name is specific, for example, XYZ Cola, you are pretty much stuck in the cola beverage business. Consider questions like: do you want to be global? What does this name mean to other global customers? Do you want to enter into other target segments- can it make the transition across generations and genders? Where can the spillovers lie? Who would you like to form partnerships with- what are the synergies? Will there be enough physical space on product variations to put your brand name? These are important questions that will help you determine the future potential of a brand name.

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