Branding for Startups

Don’t forget how people perceive you before you’ve even had a chance to explain yourself…

Daniel Kempe
3 min readJul 28, 2015


Branding for Startups

Branding is important even from the get go, so don’t forget it.

Everything you do resonates from these initial guidelines you’re about to create, the way you talk to your users, the way people perceive you as a company and the way you look!

So let’s get started!

So you’ve just come up with an idea, or have been working on one for a while but have not even thought about branding, then this article is for you.

The Idea…

This is the key, it should encapsulate what makes you different, what you offer, why you’re doing it and how you’re going to present it. It’s the glue that binds together all the elements of your brand and ideally it should inform everything that you do, no matter how big or small. Basically, just jot down your idea as succinctly as possible.

The Vision…

Where do you want your company to be in the future and how will it challenge the existing market? What are your goals? Put down everything you want to achieve as a company, and eventually you’ll narrow this down to one or two statements.

The Personality…

The way you decide to present your communications — the tone, language and design for example — can be said to be the personality of your company. Choose 5 words that describe your personality (This usually has a lot to do with the founder).

User Values…

What do your users value most from your service? It’s important to ensure that your brand is always focused on appealing to the user. Put down the most useful parts of your service that appeal most to your users and what do they get out of it?

Your Values…

This is a set of words your startup lives by. What do you as a company want to live by? Future employees will be able to look at these words and know how you work, how you act and how you communicate.

Your Story…

So why did you start this project? Where did the idea come from and why? And why are you the one for the job?

Brand Voice…

This is how you talk to your users no matter which medium you’re using; Email, website, phone. This is 5 words that sums up how you communicate with your users. An example would be “Helpful”.

Value Proposition…

Otherwise known as a tagline. It is the shortest, most snappy way of describing your startup. Perfect for a landing page!

Brand Essence

The brand essence is the single intangible attribute that differentiates the brand from your competitors’ brands, as perceived by the audience. It is the way your customers should feel when engaging with the brand. This is pretty tough, but you should come up with one word that sums up how your users feel when using your service. Does it give them something extraordinary, do they feel empowered?

What next?

So now you should have a pretty decent overview of your startup, you can start putting it all together, and working on a design that matches up with your brand, taking everything into consideration. The image below is a pretty good way to match up your brand to potential colours, plus it will most likely give you some good ideas for some words you could use in your brand guidelines.

So that’s branding “in a nutshell” for startups.

Thanks for reading!




Daniel Kempe

Husband to one, Dad to two, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Entrepreneur, Founder @Quuu_co