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APX Expert Talk: Branding Deep Dive

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Last Monday, together with 99designs and Porsche, we were happy to share our knowledge on “Growing your Brand for Startups”. Katy Campbell, our Head of Brand and Communications, was leading the open conversation, interviewing experts Eva Missling, General Manager Europe at 99designs, and Deniz Keskin, Director of Brand Management at Porsche brand worldwide. They dove into their experience, tips and failure stories around the topic of branding. We caught up with the panel to dive into the topic a little more.

APX: What were the learnings you had through your branding history and what would you do again differently?

Deniz: Proper branding is absolutely essential, not only for a professional appearance but to stand apart in a market place. The key is to invest in processes and understanding of your own employees, because brand building always starts from within.

APX: Speaking about employees – what role do they play in creating a company brand? 

Katy: It’s easy for companies to forget that they have one key resource to tap, without needing a huge communications budget, their employees. This is a company’s competitive advantage, no one has the employees you have.

If you combine the three simple facts that; 84% of people would trust a recommendation from friends and family over marketing campaigns, that on average employees have over 1,000 social connections and that they know your company better than others, it would be a miss not to encourage them to be part of your storytelling. From generating blog content, to social media posts or having them to represent you at events or conferences, there are plenty companies can do involve their employees more in brand building.

APX: Going back a step: founders struggle with creating the right logo or company name. What is a mistake you’ve noticed companies doing when it comes to visual branding?

Eva: One mistake we often see founders making is that they pick a logo they like, without testing how their customers react to it. It’s crucial to figure out how your target group perceives the positioning of your company, so you can make good branding decisions.

APX: If you could give one piece of advice to early-stage startup on the topic of branding in general what would it be? 

Deniz: Branding does not make sense without thinking hard about the essence of your brand first. This is not a mere marketing activity, but a fundamentally strategic exercise. So, make sure you spend enough time on that and get external sparring partners on board.

Eva: When you are in the process of creating a logo and looking at potential logo designs, don’t let small things like color choice or font types distract you – those can be easily adapted. Really look for the best logo concept and work with the designer to perfect it. 

Katy: You are not the hero of your story. 

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