How to effectively brand yourself at each phase of the tech start-up process

There are a lot of opinions about startups, as with anything else in life, about the right way to do things. Which comes first, the brand or the business? Do you create a brand first, then launch the business? Or do you create the business first, and then hire a branding agency?


This is a trick question- because the answer is yes. The brand and the business go together. And while you may need the support of a branding agency, you are also making hundreds of brand decisions on your own. Decisions like, what you’ll call your business. What type of people you’ll work with. How you’ll structure your services. Have a clear mission and vision, and strong core values, then decide how you will communicate that to your customers, as well as your employees. Determine a pricing structure and flesh out your business model and your positioning in the marketspace. 


All of that is branding. Who you are, and how you translate that to your leadership team, and to your business, is branding. Then that branding trickles right into your marketing and advertising and external communications. Here are a few ways to effectively brand yourself at each phase of your startup.


Before Launch

Before you launch your business, take some time to think about your business. Work with a brand agency that can use that to inspire a name for your company that reflects your brand story and positioning. Build your network and surround yourself with diverse but like-missioned people. A  name carries a lot of weight- this is a very important first step in the brand development process.


Work with a design team to establish a strong visual identity that will express your brand. You can communicate your brand through colors, fonts, and style. Once you’ve established a visual style and a logo, you can create a website. 


Start Where You Are

The best time to get started is now. Run with what you have and strive to define your brand, build a website, and create a marketing strategy as soon as you are able to. Once your business is launched, continue to network with as many people as possible. Share your website and utilize different marketing platforms. By having a consistent brand across all platforms, you can more quickly and effectively engage your audience. Take advantage of the new-biz excitement and generate a lot of buzz to let people know that you have a new way of doing business. 


Time to Grow

When you have been around a minute, and you’ve proven your work concept and ironed out some kinks, and it’s time to grow, do a brand audit. Look at what has and has not worked, and make some adjustments. Update your website, your marketing communications, and any other brand communications that may need a makeover. Look at all of your customer reviews and pull out some keywords. Whichever praises you have received repeatedly, pull those into your brand positioning. Are you the tech company with the best customer service? Are you the tech company with the best innovation? Are you the tech company with the best educational content? Whatever your thing is, use that to brand yourself as an official expert in your space, with the social proof to prove it. 


Time to Scale

Some marketing is about growth- but some is about scale. It’s important to not grow too quickly, or beyond the scope of what you want to create. Rather than  growing a company by adding more clients or customers, you can scale your company by going deep rather than wide.

For many, scaling seems like the scariest or most implausible stage of business. But staying in the baby stage can be like treading water- fine for a few minutes, maybe a few hours, but it is exhausting and you won’t have energy to enjoy the business you have worked so hard to create. Scaling your business allows you to make it past the breakers- to generate revenue with ease and stability so that you can enjoy both your business, and your life.

To scale, think about what other services or products can you offer your existing clientele to bring them more value. Refine your brand messaging as you gain deeper understanding of your customers so that you are only serving the clientele you want to be serving. This is the time to lean deep into your brand engagement and take your customer relationships to the next level.

Which stage are you at? We would love to help you audit your brand and brand yourself more effectively. Schedule a complimentary consultation call. {link}


Brand Brag:


One of our favorite tech brands is Netflix. When Netflix started, the CEO and creator was told that it would never work. This was a world of Blockbuster rentals. And streaming licensing was expensive and hard to come by. From conception, Netflix showed up with big bold letters, not unsimilar to Blockbuster, but in bright red. They introduced themselves by having both physical and digital options, so that customers could try something new (streaming) while they were waiting for what they were already comfortable with (physical dvds). Gradually they grew and rather than rely on licensing, Netflix began creating their own content. Good content. They invested in top quality actors to make themselves a contender in the growing world of streaming and licensing wars. When the pandemic hit, Netflix went big, and is in virtually every home. At each stage of growth, Netflix has maintained and evolved their brand with consistency and development. What are you streaming?

Applying Lean and MVPs to Web Development

Applying Lean and MVPs to Web Development

When you are launching a new company, or product, or brand, it’s important that you like it. But it’s really really important that you have customers who like it. 


A business without sales, has a hard time sticking around. So while your idea may be great, and you have a passion and a vision for it  If you haven’t tested it you really have no idea if it will sell. Lean Startup philosophy uses a technique called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) where you create a website to sell or pre-sell an idea that doesn’t exist in physical form to gather data about how the idea or product will perform in the market place. . Here are some keys to ensuring your MVP is a success. 


Build a Website  (It should say who you are, describe the benefit, include illustrations and diagrams, videos)


Incorporate E-Commerce (It’s not enough to just track visits, you want to know who will  buy in)


Build A Marketing Strategy (SEO, Digital Advertising, Email Campaign, A/B testing)


Track Your Data (analytics, tracking, CRM)


Manage Expectations (communicate how/when your product/services will be delivered)



Setting up lean and MVPs (minimum viable product) in your website can be a great way to test new language and marketing with your audience and gather feedback, so that you can have more conclusive data before investing the big funds in your messaging and marketing.

As a design agency, we specialize in brand communications, and we get especially jazzed about digital platforms. We start by understanding who our clients are, and creating colors, logos, fonts, and styles that express this identity within a snap-judgment second of web scrolling. We also think strategically. Aside from visual strategy, we work with expert copywriters to ensure that content is relevant and engaging, and we talk about all of the tiered goals so that we know what should be built and implemented now, and what we want to build and implement in the future after some user feedback. 


Some advantages that come with leaning into a tiered web approach could be more clearly identifying your target audience and their pain points, understanding how they use the website and how they want to use the product, understanding your direct and indirect competitors, and learning what to highlight so that you are differentiated from the competition.

Ready to get started? Schedule a complimentary consultation. 


Brand Brag:


One great example of an MVP site is Groupon. When Groupon first launched, this was a brand new concept- digital coupons. They started with a simple WordPress site, and used downloadable PDFs as the groupons. Once they proved a desire and made some revenue, they stepped up their game, and now have a net worth of 0.69billion dollars. 

Raffa’s Sea Isle City

Raffa’s Sea Isle City

It doesn’t get much more Jersey Shore than this. In Sea Isle City, Raffa’s is a house hold name that to locals means good times, and great food. To pay homage to the legacy of her father Jim, Owner & Operator Jeralyn Raffa along with her sister Vanessa launched a sea side charcuterie business. Known for their grab and go charcuterie cones and one of a kind tiki boards. Raffa’s is sure to be the hottest spot in Sea Isle this summer. From stickers to social and a whole lot of branded merchandise we made sure they had all the tools to maximize their visibility.

Ready to launch a new business? Send us a note.

5 things to consider when choosing the best creative agency to brand your tech start-up

5 things to consider when choosing the best creative agency to brand your tech start-up

You did it! You started a company. You know that you are amazing at what you do- but now you need to hire a creative agency to do the things you maybe aren’t all that knowledgeable about doing. But how do you know who to hire? When you don’t know what you don’t know, this can feel like a daunting task. You know you’re going to invest a lot of time, money, and energy, and you are ready to do so, but want to make sure it’s an investment, not a very expensive learning lesson. Here are 5 things to consider before choosing an agency:

 

  1. Do they understand you? Creatives are creative. It’s what they do. But there’s creative with ego, and there’s creative with empathy. When you’re talking to a prospective agency, pay attention to whether they ask more questions or make more promises. While many may wish that marketing was a magic button for growth, there is no such thing as magically knowing someone, or something for that matter. The only way to really know, is to ask. A good creative agency will ask you a lot of questions before giving you any answers. 
  2. Do they understand technology? This is an important question to ask if you are a tech company looking to hire a creative agency, but the answer is not as simple as yes or no. You also have to know who you’re talking to. If you are a tech company who is primarily talking to a non-techy audience, it behooves you to hire an agency that doesn’t speak technologically, because they will be able to translate what it is you are selling in laymen’s terms. If you are a tech company that is selling to a tech audience, you need to hire an agency that understands the technology industry. They need to speak the vernacular and understand the industry trends. Remember, it’s not about the agency producing creative work that you like- it’s about producing creative work that your audience will love. 
  3. Who is in their portfolio? Ask about the types of clientele an agency has served in the past. They don’t all need to look like you- but they need to resonate with you. You can find a lot of inspiration from other industries, so don’t be too quick to jump into that tunnel vision branding. But also be mindful to ask about the work process, the quality of work, and the design style. 
  4. Do they have what you need? When it comes to technology, you are probably going to utilize technology. You want to work with an agency that has the capabilities to deliver in the platforms that you need to use. 
  5. Are they easy to work with? This is one of the most important questions to ask. Think mindfully about whether you  enjoy talking to this person, or this team, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. Work with someone you enjoy working with, and who reciprocates the feeling.

 

Wondering where to start? Schedule a complimentary call. We would be happy to answer any questions and help you launch your start-up, or refer you to someone who is a better fit. 

 

Brand Brag:


One of the most impressive tech startups is Quera, located in Boston, MA. Founded in 2019, they have already generated over $11 million in revenue. Possibly more impressively (at least to us, a creative design agency), they have impeccably clean design and a gift for taking super complicated concepts, and explaining them in very simple words. Check them out. {link: https://www.quera.com/}

How to use NFTs to market your service business

How to use NFTs to market your service business

One of the best but most challenging parts of marketing is the constant evolution of tools and techniques. “Best practices” are constantly changing, and it seems in the digital era, a new platform or tool emerges every day.

One of the other great parts of marketing is that no matter how many new and shiny tools come our way, the basic best practices remain the same. At its core, marketing is still about using creativity and storytelling to share a product, service, or idea, with someone who didn’t know they were missing it.

One of our favorite new tools are NFTs- and we think they’re here to stay. 


An NFT, or nonfungible token, is essentially a digital asset that cannot be duplicated. The one-of-a-kind nature makes this a perfect branding tool for companies looking to differentiate and offer something to their customers that they can’t find anywhere else. While this may be a new tool, the principles are the same. Brands are using NFTs to create brand awareness, increase brand engagement, and grow brand revenue. 


There’s a few different ways you can use NFTs in your brand marketing:


  1. Sell digital products. You can create an NFT version of a product that is more accessible to a broader audience.
  2. Create a GIF. You can design a custom GIF that sets you apart from the competition.
  3. Promote philanthropy. You can auction off NFTs or give an NFT as a prize to raise awareness for both your brand, and your favorite charity.
  4. Create demand. By creating an NFT with a limited window for purchasing, you can drive urgency for brand sales. 

If you’re curious about using NFTs to grow your brand, schedule a complimentary consultation call. We’d love to help you create and design your first NFT, or help you elevate your NFT game. 


Brand Brag: 

One brand that is killing it in the NFT game is Taco Bell. More than 80% of millenials prefer to do business with brands that align with their values. This means it’s more important than ever for brands to not only be clear on their values, but to find creative ways to invite their customers in. Taco Bell created a series of NFT GIFs to support the Live Más scholarship fund. This successful campaign not only sold out, but also drove brand awareness, increased brand loyalty, and increased revenue and sales.