Branding, and indeed rebranding, is a vital step in the journey of every startup. Like product development, startup branding is the natural process of developing, testing, and readjusting your strategy to achieve product-market fit. If you feel you’ve outgrown your existing image, you have no option but to rebrand – and readjust your brand’s image to the market. That’s how we work with our clients. And that’s what we did with our own brand at Wunderdogs.
Here are some of the reasons why we decided that we needed to build a new brand for ourselves.
1. We tested the market and adapted our service
For Wunderdogs, the first year was a time to test our product-market fit and verify demand for our services, while at the same time proving our capabilities. Last year we helped our clients raise over $143M* in funding, and of those, we’ve retained 9 out of 10 our clients. We tested our market fit, we proved ourselves to our customers, and we gained lots of feedback. As our company continued to expand, we felt that our brand identity and market positioning should reflect that. And our website needed to step it up too.
2. We tested our vision and refined the path to achieve it
From the very beginning, Wunderdogs’ mission was to transform “amazing underdogs” (startups and growing companies) into “big dogs” (big brands and sustainable businesses). That’s where our name comes from. Our mission hasn’t changed, but we’ve sharpened the steps to achieve it.
We are not a traditional agency. Founded by two businesswomen, our team consists of a vast array of professionals: creative and marketing experts, engineers, investing professionals, consultants and entrepreneurs. Back then, we decided to build a new type of agency, for a new type of businesses that can thrive in the ever-changing environment. Our first year showed us that working on startup branding is not easy – by trial and error, we had to learn to adapt traditional agency services to startups’ needs in order to fit in their fast pace and accommodate their love for perpetual pivot. Our first year also made us realize that, even though a hard one, our mission is worth pursuing.
3. We extended our target audience and service offering
We’ve always loved working with early stage startups, our primary audience. However, we were growing together with our clients, and as many of them moved on from early stage to growth and sustainability, so did we. We’ve grown strong enough to broaden our target audience to include growth stage and established businesses. As a branding agency, we know that an extended target audience requires a change in positioning to broaden reach, and we had to rebrand accordingly.
In the beginning, we focused on supporting startups that needed fundamental brand strategy support in order to fundraise. Our main specialty has always been rebrand and branding, pitch decks and corporate websites. However, as our audience expanded, we were looking for more ways to solve the needs of our clients – so, we decided to officially extend our services to support businesses in different stages of their life cycle.
4. We take an entrepreneurial approach to our brand
In our work, we apply an entrepreneurial approach to brand strategy and startup branding. We do this by testing product-market fit first and providing an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) strategy first. We start small and create the assets needed for testing, positioning, and assessing the target audience. For example: logo, typography, colors, and basic messaging document). This, in turn, helps us create the “life-savers” – assets that our clients would typically need for their fundraising (e.g. pitch deck, fundraising collateral or a simple landing).
Our entrepreneurial approach to branding allows the founders to experiment with their visual identity and have a company and product development period. Founders can A/B test their ideas; run their brand essence by potential customers; and adjust it to fit the target audience. They can run this through several such iterations. By approaching our project with this thinking, startups can then prepare to invest in scaling their brand identity.
We did the same thing for ourselves; even though we loved it dearly, our first brand identity was an MVP for us. We tested, adjusted, iterated it, proved it; and we built on this foundation to take our brand to the next level.
4 1⁄2. P.S.: Rebrand of a startup is all about courage
Rebranding (or branding) your company is always tough. In fact, it’s so tough that not even big dogs get it right every time. A secret to creating a strong brand identity and concluding a successful startup branding is hard work: it takes strict brand guidelines, strong focus, commitment to keep your brand elevated no matter what, but most of all – it takes a lot of courage.
It takes great courage to adapt to changing market forces while sticking to your core company values — it takes courage to rebrand your startup. But a truly strong identity can do wonders for your company: it becomes a North Star that guides you in creating a consistent company experience for your customers, partners and employees.
Follow your North Star, and never lose your sense of Wunder.