Branding for Startups Begins With Your Vision

This is a guest blog by Patrick Mork, Board Advisor of Connect and former Entrepreneur in Residence at Signia Venture Partners.

Most startups don’t do well creating a brand, a mission, and a vision that inspires people. They identify pain points, they come up with a product but they don’t really come up with an inspiring story, and without that, it’s really hard to cut through all the noise especially when you’re a small company with limited resources. For example, one of the startups that I advise has an app that allows you to put all your contacts in one single place and then instant message people within the app. It’s a communications tool that saves a lot of time; but that's not what they "want" to do. Their mission is to empower people to build and maintain relationships over a lifetime. That’s very different than “Hey, we’re building a communications app.”

Your brand is one of the most important things you'll build as an entrepreneur and can add immeasurable value to your company. But what really is branding? Why does it matter and what kinds of benefits can it bring? As a mentor for Yodlee® Interactive Incubator, I created this short presentation to help answer some of these questions and also provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a short guideline on how to get started building lasting, memorable brands. Here are a couple takeaways that I would advise any startup.

First, branding is a key differentiator these days and it’s becoming more important all the time. Consumers are surrounded by a lot of noise. There are a lot of brands, services, and products vying for their attention every minute of every day. So startups need to start thinking about branding and marketing early in the process.

Second, this branding process has to be started very, very early and done with your mission in mind. Not the features it has or the pain points it solves, but your mission and vision when you started the company. Startups that are good at branding have a very clear purpose for what they want the organization to accomplish. They understand that consumers care about your story. People want to know why they should care about you versus everyone else.

In essence, the message is to start the process very early and define very clearly for yourself, your employees, and your customers what your vision is. Even while you’re building your products and defining your market, think about who you are as a company and the story you want to tell about what you have to offer. If you have any questions about branding, feel free to contact me at To learn more about Yodlee Interactive Incubator, visit the website showcasing mentors, experts and startups.