Hollywood has some secrets to startup branding?
Today, tomorrow? Really when does one begin branding a start up? Is there a right time to brand a startup?
Yes. Right from day two. Or possibly the day after you have your basic idea and its name are in place. If you are wondering why the hurry, then you need to ask yourself why they ought to be a method in the madness. You wouldn’t disagree on the method. Right?
Branding is an essential step forward to bringing in a framework of thinking to the present and the future. At a fundamental level it is a ‘frame’, a sort of die that you cast into which you pour in the molten liquid of thoughts, vision, plans. More importantly, it is also the pouring of the perception you would want to create amongst the various audiences who will be touched by your startup idea.
Where does one begin then?
- First get the name in place.
- Then say the name aloud. What kind of ring does it have to itself? Crisp, soft, definite, delicate or kind of business like? Airbnb sounds rounded and informal. While Uber, possibly has an abruptness, which is definite.This possibly is the baby move towards getting the tonality of the brand into place. Of course I would hasten to add that a name is just one aspect that can determine tonality or tone of voice for a brand. What I am saying here is simple — the sound of the brand is an echo of the meaning-making and meaning-conveying aspects of the brand.
- To this name and sound add a strap line. One that ought to capture the proposition, benefit, outcome and any such description that conveys to the user the meaning and more importantly the expectations the idea is meant to fulfill.Some examples — Uber is “Everyone’s private driver” and Airbnb is “Belong anywhere.”When it comes to creativity about the strap line, you would gain by borrowing some premises from the famous Blake Snyder who wrote the book “Save the Cat” — possibly the best take on screenwriting. His concept is of the one line or log line as he calls it. The log line is that one line, which can describe the complete film — story plot and more. He goes on to saying that a good log line should have more than just a description.“ The point is that a good logline, in addition to pulling you in, has to offer the promise of more.”Some examples he cites,A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists — Die HardA businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend — Pretty WomanNow what these convey are a combination of plot and expectation.My take — borrow this principle of writing the strap line from Blake Snyder. You will end up giving the brand a meaning. One that intrinsically has the ability to describe the idea, excite the audiences and create the right expectations from the start up idea/solution.
- The next one is to look around you. Examine competition and the environment. Study the color trends. To this study marry your likes and dislikes. The outcome would be a brand palette.
- Follow this up by articulating the purpose of your idea. What is transformative about the idea or solution? What are the needs your idea fulfills that have never been done earlier?
- Once you have these basic inputs in place, call in a smart advertising agency or a branding agency which will then go about taking this forward. Give them the freedom to recast and reword. Allow them leeway to do their own analysis of the environment and come back with insights on colors, tonality and other identity aspects related to the brand.
- Brand identity is a large subject. The swathe includes the graphic representation, which I have touched upon in a précis manner and the meaning definition of the idea. What it can do, what gap does it fill, how does it do the fulfillment in a well differntiated manner for the user or the audience.
When both the graphic and the meaning aspects are harmonized, you will have the beginning of a ‘brand’.
Get this thought process going. And hit the ground running. The best day is the day after you have the idea in mind. Don’t wait for that Monday to come.