Key Takeaways From San Francisco Meetup: Branding Your Business

May 6, 2013

How often did parents have to think of giving a name to something or someone? Probably not too often if not take into account giving name to you :).

Today each of us is facing with the problem of naming or branding something whether this is your blog, newsletter, mobile app or company. And this is where some of you will be very meticulous and picky while others will just pick up something first that came to their mind and go with it.

What approach for branding is correct? The one which won’t slow you and your company down. You always can rebrand! This is the main takeaway from the latest meetup organised by Wix. More details you can read below.

branding for startups

Eric Mason, director of communications at pointed on six main principles of branding which were proved by numerous Wix customers.

  1. You need to believe it
  2. Be honest
  3. Be mindful
  4. Listen
  5. Let go
  6. Have fun

Samantha Strom, founder at Miss Marketing focused her presentation on experiential marketing and suggested to divide whole your potential market to the three segments: masses, discerning customers and experts. For each group you need to understand who is your customers and where they are. Later this will help to use right PR and marketing tools to reach your clients.

Jenny Hansen, founder at Small Business Big Plan reviewed branding from two perspectives – conventional and personal. I would like to deep into details of her presentation a bit more as I believe it would help you to avoid some common mistakes at the start.

Conventional branding:

  • takes its cues from the established companies already operating in its marketplace
  • hews closely to the status quo
  • seeks to minimize risk
  • strives for an instant read
  • asks for little or no interaction from consumer


  • clarity of messages
  • leverages the work already done by established business


  • can be too slick for a new company needed to make an impression
  • in a new market category, convention only represents the current design trends

Personal branding:

  • stems from the vision of the founders
  • seeks to position itself outside the status quo in its marketplace
  • assumes the intelligence of its customers
  • is willing to take the first risk in the interaction
  • encourages engagement in return


  • the founders naturally and believable embody the brand
  • has build-in latitude for adaptation and growth
  • unlikely to become dated


  • brand guidelines must be well-defined it you have other contributors
  • care must be taken that the overall message of legitimacy is never obscured

Case Study: Whole Foods vs Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods plays it safe:

  • their site features contemporary but very template-looking design
  • their copy is just this side of marketing speak

Trader Joe’s takes risks:

  • their graphics are a hodge-podge of clip-art-it makes designers cringe!
  • they play with the company name

They set your expectations in multiple ways and consistent over the long-term, they aren’t trying to be clever – they actually are clever. They recognize that it’s not as risky as it seems and they back all the silliness up with the excellent products and loyal employees.

How to understand what approach is right for you?

There’s no one right way to do it, so don’t stress over that. Work in your comfort zone. Don’t delay doing business trying to get your branding perfect the first time.

Remember that the big brands are revamping their logos constantly. You will update yours eventually. You can always rebrand it you get a better idea later. True.