You’ve been working hard on your company. Now you’re at a point where you’re ready to seek investors. One final question remains: Is your brand up to the task? Brand Identity influences whether or not people choose to do business with you, more so than any other reason (e.g., the company offering, financial projections, etc.). Early meetings with potential investors are all about first impressions. They won’t be wowed by your Pro-forma building prowess. They will, however, be wowed by your company’s Brand Identity. Your brand has to appeal emotionally to investors and clients alike. Neuroscience has shown that we make decisions based on emotions1. Potential investment partners will view your brand as a person and ask themselves: “Is this the kind of person I want to work with?”. Brand Identity answers that question. Below we highlight 5 crucial pieces of advice to improve your Brand Identity. What’s at stake isn’t your personality but your prosperity.
1. Your Brand Identity Needs Building Yesterday
The best time to start thinking about Brand Identity is immediately. However, most companies think of Brand Identity as a secondary concern and don’t think much about it until after its launch. Companies underestimate brand development at their peril because if your brand doesn’t stand out, investors will brush companies aside. The amount of competition for investment money is enormous, if your company doesn’t stand out, your dead in the water.
Luckily, you don’t have to commit a majority of the budget from the start. A little can go a long way. And we can’t understate the importance of starting early – your Brand Identity will be built with or without you! If you start early, you ensure that you’re in control of the building process.
2. You’re In It For The Long Run
Your company is in it to win it. All your hard work serves one purpose: growth over the long term. You need a Brand Identity that’s strong and resilient to go the distance.
Do it right the first time. Make sure you take time to prioritize research around your company’s offering to build a solid brand foundation, so you don’t have to spend years and, potentially, millions of dollars fixing your brand. Ensuring your brand foundation is strong will allow you to focus on building the business and, critically, give you direction and guidance in your company’s development. Brand Identity serves as the north star, giving you direction when you’re lost.
3. Commit Considerably To Your Logo
The logo is the most critical aspect of your Brand Identity. Your logo will be the very first impression that potential investors (and clients) will see. They need to feel inspired. Since your logo will be with you for the long haul, invest as much time and money as you can afford into it. Below are a few key features that highlight your logo’s importance:
- Captivate New Business: An attention-grabbing logo will get the attention of a new prospect. Investors want to see that your logo will attract new business easily.
- Be Distinctive – Most companies copy others’ logo style, and they don’t stand out. Create one that makes you stand out.
- Create Brand Loyalty – Your logo needs to be the definition of high-quality, best-in-class service. Repeat clients will associate your logo with a satisfaction guarantee, and they will spread the word.
- Promotion – Your logo should be everywhere: websites, social media, t-shirts, etc. Each placement is a unique marketing piece that builds Brand Identity.
4. Give Your Brand Personality
We judge others on their personality, whether it’s loud, quiet, pushy, convivial – in every case, we make a judgment call. Investors make a call on your brand’s personality as well. They will give money to brands whose personality they like; prospective clients do the same.
Think of your Brand Identity’s personality, makes sure it resonates, and glows with your offering. If your company has a high-tech offering, your Brand Identity needs to bear traits such as: “modern”, “smart”, “sophisticated”. If your company’s goal is to make the world a better place, then “compassionate”, “magnanimous”, “nurturing” should be the Brand Identity’s personality.
Create the personality early and use data-driven methods to niche your personality to your target customer. Amaze your investors with your attention to detail and your thoroughness in your Brand.
5. All Feedback Is Good Feedback
Brand Identity is not a stone statue. It can be changed. The early stages of your business, or your offering, are the perfect time to fine-tune your Brand-Identity. Listen to your colleagues and potential investors. You may have done your homework and built a world-class Brand, but most sophisticated investors and venture capitalists will have special insights into what makes a company successful. Heed their advice, adjust and improve.
When you have a client base, collect data. Collecting and analyzing data about your current clients will test your assumptions and improve your offering. You can test different versions of your logo and see what kind of response you get. Verify your assumptions, listen to data-driven feedback, adjust, and improve your business. Your client will love you for it. And investors will flock to you because of it.
Your Brand Identity needs a great personality. If you meet your brand at a party, would you want to talk to it? Can your brand be understood and appreciated by children? If your brand can inspire people that you meet, it will inspire investors.