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Make Your New Brand Image Bland And Unmemorable

…was the advice I gave an entrepreneur last week. Wait, did I just really say this out loud? Yes, and here is why:

Like many entrepreneurs at the early (very early) stage, he was at a point where he needed to have a brand presence, just enough to get him through meetings looking legit. A business card in hand, a Powerpoint design to show and a web site to link back to. He was at a point where he needed to discuss his new venture in a professional manner with potential collaborators to further shape his concept. There was no outside investment and the core of the company strategy could sway depending on these initial meetings. It was not a time to invest in brand design, it would put the cart in front of the horse. So what to do?

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There was no way for him to create the brand design the right way, so instead of applying any kind of distinct design language (making it memorable), he thought to make it “meh.” Make it bland, make it colorless.

I sincerely agreed. In this very rare case you actually do not want your brand image to stick in your customers minds.

People should be educated about what you do and who you are, but you should not create a memorable brand design and language around a very early stage concept if you know it will all change, very soon. Once the startup strategy is formulated, the brand can be shaped.

So go out there and have them call your number rather than recall your brand image.


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  • mike802

    I couldn’t agree more. What could be worse for your image than losing potential sales, customers, or even visibility because you got hung up on something like getting your logo exactly right. Hopefully you’ll find something that works as your company matures.

    • Fabian Geyrhalter

      Thanks for that comment Mike. That being said, branding (not just the logo in itself) can tremendously boost sales if done the right way. Obviously we are big believers in that, as we are assisting startups in achieving that goal daily, but if you can not do it the right way (lack of resources and not a defined company strategy in place), refer back to keeping it neutral so it does not get in the way of growing your strategy.

  • Sandra Larkin

    This makes a lot of sense. Too many early-stage startups create their own branding, because they don’t think they can afford to hire someone, and then get locked into something that doesn’t really work. Many entrepreneurs think they can do it all, or they have to do it all, and do a mediocre job of things that aren’t in their area of expertise, rather than focusing on what they do well.

    Using something simple until you have a good handle on your product and your market means you can hire someone with mad skills, and that person will be able to create something that represents your brand with authenticity and style.

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