Start-ups are in a rush to do everything, including building their brand. But some things can't be done in a hurry beyond a point. The price can be heavy.
Many of our recent conversations with brand founders have an unwelcome commonality. There seems to be a wave of impatience to 'launch fast'. There's also growing comfort with replicating brands one finds overseas.
Everyone seems to be in a hurry to launch, is rushing to scale, and is scurrying with numbers and charts!
To my surprise, many of these founders pay little or no attention to research. Further, manifestations of brand strategy, be it with regard to packaging or digital presence, are expected to be churned out in a matter of days.
"The cost of rebranding, shortly after launch, can be very expensive. Young brands risk confusion and chaos."
While there are means available to achieve these, should founders, nevertheless, opt for these methods?
The cost of rebranding, shortly after launch, can be very expensive. Young brands risk confusion and chaos.
Why are so many founders skipping the most important aspect of building a business? Why is there such little focus on building brand love? Finding an authentic voice to your brand should certainly not be something to 'do later'.
Our approach, at Stratedgy, is strictly 'research first'.
The value it adds, in both the short and the long term, far outweighs the time and the investment that research demands.
I’m not for a moment advocating that we chase perfection. I know first-hand about the dangers of taking that route. Still, founders could consider a wiser, slightly more patient approach to building a lasting brand narrative. Knowing thy consumer must be a fundamental belief.
It is much better to create a brand that lasts than one that is launched quickly. This odd need to take shortcuts in brand building often ends up as blatant plagiarism. Founders are quick to share 'strong references’ to ‘get inspired’.
We’ve refused to go down this path since we were a year old and we continue to refuse even today, at 12. For us, this is a moral choice. We honour our craft by staying authentic. For brands, this could have many other repercussions.
This year alone, a regional player was taken to court by a major snack brand for copying its packaging. A health bar brand has recently invested heavily in fixing its earlier packaging, which was blatantly copied. A much-loved local skin care brand copied its packaging from a relatively little-known overseas brand down to the last dot.
Rebrands are expensive – apart from being embarrassing.
Is any of this worth it for the brands involved?
When founders assume a brand overseas can be copied without repercussions, it is probably their naivete. Perhaps, partner agencies can educate their clients on the legalities of ripping off someone else’s brand language. But mostly, I'd suggest founders demand that their narrative be authentic.
In my experience, thus far, founders want what is best for their business. Who doesn't? But good things take time – so get immersed in the process and enjoy yourself.
(Kruti Berawala is the founder of Stratedgy, a Mumbai-based agency. Stratedgy is one of the early members of afaqs! Marketplace.)
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