Startup Branding Comes From Leader and Culture

2019 Go-To-Market Trend: The Startup Brand Should Reflect the Leader, Culture

By Tara Spalding and Josh Glover

Many startups have a basic checklist for their startup or product launch. It often includes design elements such as a logo, branding guidelines, messaging and positioning platform, and the emotions behind the brand.

By following these elements to define the neophyte brand is taking a page out of the established stalwarts that the startup is competing with. This is a hard way to create a differentiated visual and emotional branding guidelines help distinguish a startup from the competition. And honestly, this is not enough to break the ice.

Josh Glover, Creative designer at Hen House Ventures

Josh Glover, Creative designer at Hen House Ventures

Josh Glover is Hen House Ventures’ creative designer. He’s been working on global brands for over a decade and has helped us create very strong and professional visual presence for the Hen House Ventures’ startup clients. However he has a trick to design a relatable brand image - and it originates with the company leader.

Designing Branding Comes From A Company’s Soul

Josh acknowledges that startup culture is absolutely captivating. The founding team’s culture is strong and constant in every aspect of the business. Hen House Ventures believes that the best brand development approach is by augmenting the character and qualities of the startup leader and feature the founding team culture. The person who drives the startup vision and will be the public storyteller should influence the branding. If the brand approach does not jive with the leader and culture, branding will be a forced experience, and the authenticity will be missing from the magic formula.

Josh believes that “startups should pay attention to why they are launching their company. By embracing the driving force behind the business drivers, and incorporating them into purpose and meaning, customers will recognize the authenticity and be attracted to it.”

“Branding furthers differentiation. People don’t buy products, they buy what the product gives them. Lifestyle, a moral high-ground, an idea, and that should be communicated visually and through your brand experience.”

How does this work in creative? It’s simple, Storytelling is key. Captivate your prospective customer’s attention through engaging narrative. Josh’s favorite point to make to startups,

“Be human.”

It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It

Josh warns that startups should avoid telling customers what to think about you. Instead, influence their perception of you. There is nothing more off-putting about a company boasting about their credentials or why they are better than a competitor. Influence perception by creating a conversation that adds personal value and inspires them to join your community or to trust your brand and innovation.

Josh’s tip is to create a “human brand”, and use your leader as the muse. “Human branding will be the next trend for the next decade. It’s vital for your brand to create a two-way dialogue with your customers, this really aids in harnessing the power of human,” states Josh. “Having a one-sided communication subconsciously places a perception of either authority or of a diluted nature onto the side that is doing all the talking.”

Startups that follow Josh’s advice in branding and creative development, startups will gain a self-growing brand community. People are much more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they trust rather than an advertisement.

Read the other Hen House Ventures 2019 Go-To-Market Startup Trends.