Branding for Startups of Service-Based Businesses: A Complete Guide
Updated: May 3
If you were a 1 person startup, how important is it for you to spend money on branding? Is it even important for the launch of your business? If you are a subject matter expert, or a service-based consultancy, then you know that you are in a highly competitive space, that means branding is everything.
Recently on Clutch.io we were ranked as one of the Top Branding & Design Agencies in Toronto, Canada. The interesting thing is, that you won't find any well-known multinational global brands in our portfolio of work. Since our agency's inception, our goal has always been to help small (one person) business startups establish their brand from scratch. Our strength has always been in working directly with the founders of startups and small businesses, in helping them materialize their vision for their brand.
Let's first try to understand what does branding refers to.
Introduction & Goals of Branding
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BRANDING? Branding is a marketing strategy aimed to make people quickly identify and experience an organization’s brand and products and select them over competitors’ products & services.
The strategy involves the practice of creating a name, a logo, and other design assets that are easily identifiable as belonging to the organization. An organization’s brand has to be the true representation of who they are as a business, the missions you have and how you want potential customers to perceive and think about you. WHAT IS THE BRANDING PROCESS?
Typography (Primary & Secondary)
Social Media Post Template Design
Development & Delivery of all branding assets
For the last two years, as the pandemic was in full swing – a lot of people chose to quit their corporate 9 to 5 jobs, and set up their own independent consultancy where they were able to run their business from the comfort of their own home. And that’s where we were able to help these business with their branding, design, & social media marketing, that helped them connect with their ideal clients who were willing to be on a waiting list, and pay top-dollar for their services. The kind of startups that come to us are as follows:
The thing that all these professions have in common, is that they all able to charge premium prices for their deep-seated knowledge and expertise. To be seen as a “premium expert”, you need to share your unique thought leadership and knowledge with prospects through social media in order to gain their trust
By combining branding & social media marketing, you are able to send a message about who you are and what you’re all about in as simple and creative way that’s not too salesy, and establishes trust. .
We here at Rayvn always believe that Marketing that Teaches, does way better than Marketing That Sells.
The above philosophy is something that has worked for our own business in generating leads.
How To Create A Brand For Your Startup.
There is so much that goes into creating a successful brand. The first step is to start with your Brand Strategy.
How to create a brand strategy?
A strong brand strategy consists of the following 4 elements:
1. YOUR BRAND HEART
We all have a need for connection. Your BRAND HEART allows your customers or donors to connect with your brand on a deep and meaningful level. Your BRAND VALUES also serves as the compass that will guide your brand and the decisions you make now and down the road. This dictates the following:
Purpose. Why do you exist?
Vision. What future do you want to help create?
Mission. What are you here to do?
Values. What beliefs are guiding your choices?
2. YOUR BRAND POSITIONING
Your Brand Positioning is the the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”. Basically, it helps you focus on what sets you apart from your competitors and the space you want to occupy in the mind of of your consumers. Successful brand positioning will allow you to be relevant, differentiated and credible.
Brand Positioning Consists of:
Audience. Who are you building your brand for?
Market. Which market category do you want to be associated in?
Goals. How are you differentiating yourself and how do you plan on delivery that to your consumer?
3. YOUR BRAND MESSAGING
Your Brand Messaging is all about what you say and how you say can make or break your brand. Learn to find your voice and communicate in a consistent way by developing the four pillars of brand messaging. Let’s start by defining each one. Brand Messaging Consists of:
Personality. Your brand’s human characteristics.
Value proposition. What problem are you solving with your products or services.
Tagline. A short phrase that encompasses your company’s brand heart, personality and value proposition. It’s typically catchy and memorable.
Brand promise. The value that you commit to deliver to your customers every single time you interact with them. The more you can deliver on this promise the stronger your brand will become in the eyes of your consumers.
4. YOUR BRAND PERSONA
Your Brand Persona is The FACE of your brand. Persona is what most people think of when they think of branding. Having a beautiful brand is one thing but it needs to work with all the other elements of brand strategy too.
Logo. Think memorable and simple. Two factors that lead to a good logo, every time.
Typography. An extension of your logo. The font you choose should reflect your brand but should also have the ability to be used across all brand applications.
Colour. One of the most powerful and influential tools. Colour psychology is a real thing and can have a huge impact on how your brand is perceived.
Imagery. Secondary visual aids that help you communicate. Maybe editorial black and white photography suits your brand best, while bright and playful cartoon illustrations could work better for another one.
If you employ all 4 of the above pillars into your brand, and use it in a cohesive manner, you will be able to create an amazing brand for your business.
How We Became a Top Branding & Design Agency In Toronto
The startups who come to us for our branding & design services, knows we're not the cheapest option around by looking at our prices. They come to us because they are looking for a premium brand. They are looking to elevate their service-based business, attract high-paying clients, and create a waitlist worthy brand experience. The industry will listen to the needs and goals of the company that wants their voice to be heard.
Take the example of our client, Centric Solutions (an IT project management startup consultancy based in Toronto). They needed help with its branding & design. The scope of the engagement included the creation of their brand identity, marketing collaterals as well as a new website.
Below is the review they wrote for us, after the engagment:
According to the review, they chose to partner with us because we took the time to listen to what they needed instead of just prescribing a solution right off the bat. We take great pride in our customer-centric approach and the fact that we won a project on the back of it is music to our ears.
In addition to the website, we also developed the logo, photography, color palette, business cards, as well as branding on their Instagram and Linkedin accounts. Our client’s general attitude about the whole thing can be safely summed up in the score they gave us in their review. But those who want to read more details about the project can do so on our Clutch profile.
While the appreciation of our work by clients is more than enough recognition for our team, this particular review had one unexpected effect that is helping us build our reputation. We’ve been recently made aware that Rayvn Design was officially recognized as one of the best Canadian branding agencies by Clutch because of the collectively high scores on our reviews.
This was an unexpected development but one that’s most welcome. Branding is one of the most competitive industries in the world and to be counted among the best is an achievement we’re going to shout from the rooftops.
However, we realize that we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. Just because we’re where we are today doesn’t mean we’ll stay here six months from now. This is why we encourage everyone to visit our website and take advantage of the proven quality work that our team has to offer. Contact our team today and we can begin discussions on what your business needs to stand out in your field.
Hi, I'm Denny Kurien. I'm the Creative Director & Co-Founder of Toronto branding studio, Rayvn Design. We build brands for subject-matter experts, so they can turn expertise into profit, and attract high paying clients.
My goal through my blog is to clarify and simplify the elusive idea of "branding," and share practical tips and tangible steps to help businesses find their unique brand voice, and help them attract their ideal clients.
Our strength has always been in working directly with the founders of startups and small businesses, in helping them materialize their vision for their premium brand. If you want to elevate your service-based business, attract high-paying clients, and create a waitlist worthy brand experience, then check out our prices, and if we are within your budget — then book a 15 minute consultation with us to see if we are a good fit to work together.