5-Steps DIY Startup Branding Method – Complete Guide With Examples

5 Steps DIY Branding Guide

For startups, branding is pivotal in setting the stage for your business story, attracting the right audience, and carving out a niche in a crowded market.

In this article, we’ll follow a hypothetical startup named Nourish&Go and do its branding. This ensures you DIY your branding, providing a step-by-step roadmap and the best tools to create a memorable identity on a budget.

NOTE: Creating a unique brand identity on a budget doesn’t mean compromising quality, but you will prefer quality over “time” and money.

Step 1: Understand Your Business

While you brainstorm everything related to your business, try to answer the following questions;

1. Why You Exist

Deeper than your product/service. What problem do you solve for your ideal customer? What change do you want to make?

NOTE: Simon Sinek’sStart With Why” can guide you through this process.

Nourish&Go

A healthy food delivery startup focused on busy professionals. They solve the lack of convenient AND nutritious meal options, empowering customers to prioritize their well-being.

2. Core Values

Guiding principles shaping your startup’s personality (e.g., innovation, sustainability, customer-centric). For instance, TOMS Shoes has built its brand around the mission of “One for One,” donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold – tying every purchase to a social cause.

Nourish&Go’s Core Values

Providing 100% healthy food at the right time, right place where they want.

3. Differentiators

What makes you unique in a crowded market? Don’t be afraid to be niche! Consider Dropbox, which simplified cloud storage by making it user-friendly and accessible anywhere.

Nourish&Go Differentiators

Unlike competitors, they offer fully customizable meals catering to dietary restrictions and are delivered right to the office.

Step 2: Define Your Target Customer

1. Ideal Client Profile

Go beyond demographics. Interests, pain points, online hangouts – get specific! Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Brandwatch Consumer Intelligence, and BuzzSumo will be a great help in gathering data about your audience’s behaviors and preferences.

Nourish&Go Example

Ambitious young professionals, health-conscious but time-starved, active on Instagram and LinkedIn.

2. Customer Journey Mapping

Outline steps they take from awareness to purchase. Where will your branding need to reach them?

Nourish&Go Considerations

Targeted social ads near office buildings, partnering with health-focused podcasts or newsletters.

Tools to Help

  • Survey: Even without a product yet, ask potential users to fill out a survey (incentivize if needed!)
  • Competitor Analysis: See how they position themselves to identify market gaps or underserved audiences.

Nourish&Go Learnings

Maybe competitors focus on weight loss; Nourish&Go doubles down on messages about energy and mental clarity to serve their niche better.

Step 3: Start Developing Your Brand’s Visual Identity

1. Logo

    • Keep it simple, scalable, and memorable.
    • Free logo design tools: Canva, Looka, Hatchful by Shopify
    • Consider crowdsourcing sites: 99designs, Fiverr, and Upwork (if you have a bit of budget)

Nourish&Go Ideas
Leaf iconography symbolizing freshness? A bold font choice to subtly project power? They’d likely avoid whimsical visuals often associated with general “meal prep” brands.

NOTE: Sketch out multiple concepts before finalizing on one.

2. Color Palette

Nourish&Go

Earthy greens, vibrant accents (yellow? orange?) to hint at flavor, sleek grays to convey professionalism.

3. Typography

    • 2-3 fonts max (headings vs. body text)
    • Free font libraries: Google Fonts, Fontjoy, Font Squirrel

Nourish&Go

A modern sans-serif font for headings and easy-to-read body text on menus and packaging.

NOTE: Ensure that your visual elements are consistent across all platforms, from your website to social media.

Step 4: Find Your Brand Voice

Decide how you want to communicate with your audience. Should your brand voice be professional, friendly, or perhaps witty? Innocent Drinks uses a playful and casual tone to engage its audience.

1. Personality Traits

If your brand was a person, how would they talk? (Formal, Professional, Authoritative, Playful, or even Witty?)

Nourish&Go’s Voice

Motivational but not preachy, friendly but professional. They might use some fitness slang (“Crush these goals!”) while emphasizing whole-food ingredients.

2. Messaging Guidelines

    • Key phrases you will (and won’t) use.
    • Example: A playful brand avoids corporate jargon.

Nourish&Go Example

They’d AVOID overly salesy language, focusing instead on customer transformation (“Invest in your best self”).

NOTE: Develop a style guide to maintain consistency in your messaging. This should detail how your brand uses language and visuals.

Step 5: Brand in Action!

1. Website

Even a basic landing page must align with your visuals and voice. Templates to the rescue! (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.)

2. Social Media

3. Pitch Deck

Investor presentations NEED strong branding, not just the idea.

4. Blog Posts and Articles

Share insights related to your industry to assert your expertise and enhance SEO. Use your website to backlink your published articles on other platforms; Quora and Medium are great platforms to start with. HubSpot’s blog provides valuable resources for inbound marketing, establishing them as leaders in their field.

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5. Social Media Engagement

Plan content that resonates with your audience. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help schedule posts and analyze engagement. Use tools like Lumen5 to create engaging videos for your brand.

6. Email Marketing

Keep your audience informed and engaged through regular updates. Mailchimp offers budget-friendly solutions and easy-to-use templates that are perfect for startups.

Nourish&Go in Action

Imagine how their voice comes through in:

Social Captions: Upbeat, encouraging followers alongside mouthwatering food photography.

Website Copy: A blend of benefits-driven (“Peak performance starts with your plate”) and community focus (“Join the #NourishAndGo movement”).

Consistency is Key

Branding is an ongoing process. A DIY brand style guide (even a simple doc) keeps everything cohesive as you grow.

Need a Deeper Dive?

StartupMAXIM (www.startupmaxim.com) specializes in helping startups refine their brand strategy and develop compelling marketing materials. Get in touch for personalized guidance and support!

Remember: Branding is not just about a logo or a name; it’s about crafting a story and experience that will resonate with your audience. By following these steps, you can build a brand that not only stands out but also stands the test of time. Happy branding!

Ready to get started?

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This Guide Contains Some Affiliate Links!
Disclosure: Just so you know, some of the links on BrandBusinessInfluence.com are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I might get a small commission, if you decide to buy something through one of these links – it’s a way for me to support this blog and keep sharing awesome content with you to start, grow, and upscale your startup.

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