Top 10 Branding Tips for Ambitious Startups

Photo by NASA

Why do startups need branding?

Brand is the expression of your business.

It tells everyone who you are, what you do and why you exist.

It also tells the world and investors what makes you unique and why they should be interested.

Businesses that stand for nothing, appeal to nobody.

If you want to win, you need to clearly articulate your proposition and purpose from the very beginning.

Follow our Top 10 Branding Tips for Ambitious Startups.


#1 Walk then run

Just enough of what you need

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.com

Startups don’t need everything upfront.

You just need the brand foundations.

You need a Minimum Viable Brand (MVB).

Think of it as a lean version of a full brand strategy.

MVB is an affordable, work-in-progress approach to brand that allows for organic growth. It can be refined after launch when you have more time and resources. But it gives you everything you need at the start to get investors excited.

#2 One team, one vision

Align your team

Photo by paolo candelo on Unsplash

You have a clear vision for your product or business.

But does it align with the rest of your team’s?

Have you 100% checked?

Aligning your team is vital for startup success. You should all share the same vision for the business or product. Define your goals and purpose with the whole team right from the start.

Make sure everyone knows exactly what you’re collectively trying to achieve.

Because greater synergy means better results.

#3 Get your story straight

Develop a succinct story

Photo by Glynn Lowe — edited to black and white — https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/8394384671

Many startups wait a while to define exactly who they are and what they do.

But businesses need a succinct story from the beginning. Investors and customers need to know exactly what you’re about and why you exist.

Your story should address what you’re delivering, why it’s important and how you’re delivering it.

Focus from the start is essential for startup success.

Know your story, then bring it to life.

#4 You’ve got 8 seconds

What’s the big idea?

Photo by Krzysztof Wilk on Wikipedia

You need an elevator pitch, especially as our attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish’s.

So, you need to be able to explain your big idea in as few words as possible. It’s got to be concise and articulate exactly who you are.

You’ve got 8 seconds to get someone’s interest.

Ready? Steady? Go!

#5 What makes you different?

Focus on what makes you unique

“Black and white shot of a female ballet dancer in a split in midair as sun shines in the distance” by Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash

You need to offer something that nobody else is offering.

But saying you are different is not the same thing as being different. You need to find a truthful and marketable differentiator.

What is it you’re going to bring to the market unlike any other?

Dare to be different.

#6 Hit them between the eyes

Stand out in your market

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Research is a great tool in brand development.

If you can understand your competition, you can find a way to really stand out.

Once you’ve found your position in the market, turn the volume up to max. If you’re hot, make it hotter. If you’re smart, make it smarter.

Disrupt the market and make them notice you.

Be bold.

#7 It doesn’t have to be swooshy

Is that the right symbol?

Photo by Sarah G

A brandmark is a flag to identify you with.

It needs to be immediately recognisable and unique.

Throw out any pre-conceived ideas of sector-specific symbols.

Drill down into your key messages. If you say you’re ‘agile’, what does ‘agile’ look like?

Your brandmark is the short-hand for your business.

Make it yours.

#8 I like purple

The power of colour

Photo by Pimpelucha at https://pixabay.com/en/black-sheep-herd-1662838/

Colour conveys tone.

It’s one of the most important aesthetic choices you’ll make for your brand. So, picking a colour just because you like it won’t work.

Be careful choosing your palette as colours trigger different emotional responses. Think about what you’re trying to say, who you’re saying it to and what you want them to feel.

Draw the eye and be recognisable.

Choose wisely.

#9 Words and Pictures

Semiotics and how it works

Photo by National Archives UK on Wikimedia

Semiotics is meaningful design.

It’s the way language and imagery is interpreted, often subconsciously, by audiences.

It’s therefore important to ensure all your branding elements, from words to pictures to symbols, conveys the correct message. So, if you want to be fun, be really fun!

Think through every element because your audience will.

Even if they don’t realise it.

#10 Make It Real

People want to experience it

“A black-and-white child playing with a hula hoop outdoors in Aracaju” by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

Sometimes you have to see it to believe it.

This is especially true for investors.

Prototyping brings your unique vision to life.

It will help you create buzz around the idea as it can be seen, touched and trialled.

Show, don’t just tell.

Make it real.


We believe brand is an under-utilised business tool. It brings the business strategy to life and helps get investors excited.

That’s why Future Kings Ventures helps startups make ambitious ideas real through the power of brand.