Why is a brand so important even for early-stage startups?
Building a brand early on is essential for achieving long-term success. Waiting until after scaling your business is risky and can end up being very expensive.
Founders often question whether they should invest in a brand before proving product-market fit and gaining traction. This contradicts the "lean startup" and "test to success" approaches that many earlier tech companies embraced. With so many new companies launching every second, founders can no longer simply put out an idea, see if it gains momentum, and iterate on their brand as they would on software features. Simply having a great idea, better pricing, or faster shipping is no longer enough to ensure business success.
If you only invest in the function of your product and neglect to invest in your brand and emotional connection with customers, they may love your product but not feel any real affinity or loyalty to your company. This can result in them switching to other brands. In such a situation, attempting to rework your product and pricing to be more competitive while also building a brand that customers care about can be challenging.
Internal benefits of a early-stage brand
Having a brand early on can also provide internal benefits. When I worked for a venture, I was in charge of hiring the design team. Before we established the brand, it was a nightmare. However, once we positioned ourselves as a modern brand, we were able to easily attract high-quality candidates.
A brand serves internally in three key areas:
These groups, no less than any others, consist of individuals who seek to feel a sense of connection to your mission and your brand when making a life-changing decision to work with you.