Branding for Startups? Here's what you need to know

Branding for Startups has its own challenges and struggles. If your product moves fast, your brand should too. Here are some tips for you to follow.

Branding as we knew is dead. And if you are a Startup, it was just never alive.

Today's world moves too fast for your branding to be stable. If everything is moving why is not your branding doing the same?

The days when an agency handed you a logo and a couple of slides explaining how to write a copy for your social media are over, and if you are getting that as a result of your branding strategy, stop now and ask for your money back.

Besides, if you are an Early Stage Startup and think that branding is not for you; or that this is not the right time. It would be best if you also stopped, breathe and keep reading.

Because every day is a good day to start building a brand.

Maybe the day has come. Let’s see if we can convince you.

Branding for Startups 101

Change is in the nature of Startups, which is contrary to everything we have heard about branding.

Some iterations of Polymath's logo based on user feedback
Some iterations of Polymath's logo based on user feedback

Brands are supposed to be stable, to represent a promise, to mean something important for a specific group of people.

But an early-stage startup can’t do that. “If I’m just building my product, how can I create a brand to represent it”.

That’s exactly the trick. Most people still believe a brand should be something to work on only when a product is proven and validated, what they are missing is the power of using a brand to test and iterate the product itself.

Let’s picture this:

You have an MVP in which you have been working for a couple of months now. You tested it with real users in one-to-one meetings, to see their reactions and catch their feelings and behaviors when interacting with the functional prototype.

Now you are ready to: (1) Find critical mass to effectively validate willingness to pay and (2) start pitching some early-stage and angel investors to see the viability of the funding for your solution.

Well, good luck doing that without a brand.

Just kidding, but seriously, both those processes can be done without a branding strategy, but they can also be improved and optimized by having one.



Because branding gives your product more than just a problem and a bunch of features to solve it. It gives you a speech, and identity, a symbol to condense the change you are trying to make in the world.


Heads up: When we say a symbol we do not mean, by any chance, a logo.

The logo is part of it, of course. But a symbol is more than just that, it’s a representation, a significance, a container filled with meaning and made of several ideas and promises that come all together in one abstraction.

That’s a brand people! And that's what you should start building from day one because it will help you explain yourself better and really showcase the differentiation of your product both to users and investors.

The evolution of Tani, its naming and logo
The evolution of Tani, its naming and logo

We are not asking you to have it all figured out from the beginning, on the contrary, we are saying you should use your branding as part of your testing strategy.

When you are launching a product, you are not only interested in seeing if people can use it, but you also have to test how to get them to use it, and that's nothing more, nothing less than branding: The way you convince people that this is important for them.

If you create a strong brand from the beginning, if you test it and let that brand flow with the changes of your product and company, you will also get a deeper understanding of what needs to be said, and how, to make your potential users give a chance to your product.

Are you convinced yet?

If not, let us share some numbers.

Branding key statistics

74% of S&P 100 companies have rebranded their business in the first seven years.

The key message here: Don’t be afraid of change.

Do not take it lightly either, but always prioritize your learnings over false stability.

If you realize you made a mistake with any aspect of your brand, change it. Make as much A/B testing as necessary to ensure your new hypothesis is true, but in the end, just do it (see what we did there?)

64% of consumers form brand loyalty because of shared values (Harvard Business Review)

Going back to your brand is not only your logo. The values and purpose that identify your company should be explicit in your branding strategy.

Be vocal about what moves your product and make your actions speak louder than your words, sometimes values stay on the about page of your website when they should be a banner you carry everywhere.

92% of marketers say authenticity is essential to their brands (Stackla)

Yes, and if you are a Startup, we believe there is no other option. If you are building with and for your users, you also should be able to present your company as it is, with its struggles and victories.

People value companies that recognize themselves as humans (capable of making mistakes), that’s why everyone says you should humanize your brand because people are more inclined to connect with each other, rather than with cold distant entities.

Consumers that emotionally connect with your brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. (Harvard Business Review)

Here’s when the money comes in. If you are an early-stage startup this kind of lifetime value will look amazing on your pitch deck, so it is important to start building that emotional connection from early on, because if you master it early, you are going to rock at it as you scale.

It takes a consumer 5-7 impressions to recognize your brand (Phycological Science)

This is a reminder that branding is also a process that does not happen magically. It takes time, experimentation, and a lot of feedback to really crack into the details that make your users love your brand.

Almost nothing in life happens overnight, if you are an entrepreneur you know it firsthand, so take your time to work on that branding, and give your company the possibility to reach your users as many times as possible.

Next steps

If you got all the way here we expect you are ready to take action.

Building a brand for a company that’s just being born is scary and hard. You don’t want to make promises that you don’t know if you will be able to keep, and the work that needs to be done to build an impactful brand is usually more than founders can manage by themselves.

We are preparing a guide to help you started. But, as we stated before, nothing happens overnight so we ask you to wait patiently and stay tuned to our social media channels so you can know when it’s ready.

For now, we invite you to visit our library where you can find content related to startups, company building, venture capital in Latin America and more…