Eighty3 - Creative Solutions

Five Common Branding Mistakes Startups Make & How To Avoid Them

Make No Mistake
When‌ ‌creating a new startup business,‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌leave‌ ‌your‌ ‌brand‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌bottom‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌list.‌ ‌If‌ ‌your‌ ‌business‌ ‌is‌ a‌ ‌spider’s‌ ‌web,‌ ‌your‌ ‌brand‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌centre‌ ‌that‌ ‌holds‌ ‌everything‌ ‌else‌ ‌together.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌what‌ ‌you‌ ‌build‌ ‌the‌ rest‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌kingdom‌ ‌on.‌ 
 
With‌ ‌much‌ ‌experience‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌design‌ ‌and‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌sector,‌ ‌we’ve‌ ‌come‌ ‌across‌ ‌many‌ ‌branding‌ blunders‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌easily‌ ‌avert.‌ ‌Here,‌ ‌we‌ ‌present‌ ‌five‌ ‌common‌ ‌branding‌ ‌mistakes‌ ‌startups‌ make,‌ ‌and‌ ‌helpfully,‌ ‌how‌ ‌to‌ ‌avoid‌ ‌them.‌ 

1. Don’t stint on your logo

That’s right, forgo frugality. Although there are plenty of opportunities to design your logo for free or to pay a little for an instantaneous design, we think neither of these is the better option. Just because it’s cheap (or free!) doesn’t make it a good deal. 

Think long term. Your logo will be with you for the duration of your business (unless you rebrand, of course). We know you might not have a stash of tenners stuffed down the sofa or a huge pot of cash sitting pretty in the bank, but our advice is to get the best service you can afford. 

You want superior quality: a well thought out design that shouts your brand to the right audience. You’ll need the correct format: ideally, a vector file that can be resized and reproduced effortlessly. And you’ll want to ensure you can trademark your new baby once it’s born. Pay a little more now, and you’ll get a better product and save yourself a headache or two later on.

2. Make your website a showstopper

“My brother makes websites in his spare time; he’ll do ours.” Perhaps, but if your brother or sister wasn’t a qualified shopfitter or signwriter, would you let them loose on your premises? Maybe not. 

Think of your website, and all of your online web presence for that matter, as your high street shopfront. Can you imagine people pressed against the window of a shop with a poorly designed and crude interior that’s not fit for purpose?   

Your website needs to be a smooth-running and effective work of art. Background colours, overall design, layout, images and helpful content are all important, alongside fully functional links and a call to action! 

Take this mini case study. One of our clients had previously used a large provider, let’s call them OnwardFather, and spent over £8,000 on an eCommerce website. Unfortunately, the company in question had no understanding of the client’s needs or the market they were selling to. It was a templated site, created from a templated business model, and sadly, our client had little to show for it, save a less-than-healthy bank balance. 

Do your research before picking any provider. Choose the one that’s right for you and your new startup business.

Sell Your Story

3. What’s in a name?

People love a story, something they can follow, relate to and understand. They also love a hidden meaning. If your startup business name can match either (or both!) of these criteria, you’re onto a winner.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, ‘problematic’ names, i.e. hard to spell names or those that need an explanation, from our experience, are also more memorable. Try explaining Eighty3 when you’ve not got it written down! Inevitably, we end up spelling it out. “Eighty the word, three the number” is now a little slogan that people remember.

Pick a name that doesn’t limit the growth of your business. Believe it or not, Pierre Omidyar founded eBay to sell Pez accessories. What foresight, he didn’t call the company PezBay! And imagine if Amazon was called Books4U, would Jeff Bezos still be the richest man in the world?

Whatever name you ultimately land on —hard to spell, hard to say, or neither, we urge caution. Ensure it’s original, and make sure you conduct the necessary searches so when the time comes, you can trademark it.

4. URL be sorry!

Forgive the pun, but making sure you claim a sensible URL is one step further towards gaining credibility and respect for your business. Don’t buy something cheap that no one has ever heard of. It may even make your prospects more reluctant to buy from you! 

Ask yourself which market you’re aiming to conquer. The global one? We suggest you choose .com. The UK? Then go for .co.uk. If you’re focussed on or based in a different country entirely, select the TLD (Top Level Domain) for that country, e.g. .de for Germany, .au for Australia and .fr for France. Tread carefully as some restrictions apply.

Check your preferred domain name is available before outsourcing your logo design. That way, if your ideal URL isn’t available (and someone else has it!), you’ll save a lot of disappointment. 

5. Inconsistent assets

Inconsistent assets belie good branding. Streamline all of your output, so it’s consistent and uniform but not dull. Whether via social media, radio advertising, flyers, invoices or letters, be sure you’re always giving out the same message. This means using the same logo with the same positioning and proportions, using the same colours, and achieving consistently high quality. And it means doing this all the time. People come to recognise brands, but only through repetition.

Startup as you mean to go on

Take Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s surname is rather distinctive, and he uses this point to differentiate himself and his brand pretty darn well. He’s the self-confessed ‘founding father’ of the personal brand. But his branding goes far beyond the personal, extending into every pie he has a finger in. Remember, although content is King, context is God.

Unfortunately, your brand won’t magically appear in a puff of orange smoke, but we’re here to help. Startup or experienced entrepreneur, we take the time to understand you and the market you’re selling to so we can provide the best possible branding for you and your business. Interested? Find us via Google My Business, give us a call or send us an email.

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belonging to the same family, group, or type; connected.

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