Hugin&Munin – Branding for Startups

On Thursday 30 June, Madrid Google Campus hosted a brand communication workshop for all startups (21) selected in the second batch of the IoT accelerator programme run by Startup Scaleup. The workshop was part of IoT week, a 5-day event where startups selected by Startup Scaleup receive mentoring, talks and workshops before beginning their 6-month journey to acceleration.

Led by Hugin&Munin, Startup Europe Press Office, the workshop focused on addressing startup branding needs in a personalised way.

Following a brief introduction on branding, many activities such as group work and individual tutoring were held. Those exercises helped to highlight some of the challenges facing startups: the ability of making their brand stand out, how to achieve the X factor. Branding is not typography, a concrete colour or a flyer – it’s a mixture of everything, it’s about what messages are imprinted in the consumers’ mind.

– If I tell you that I am the most good-looking at this table, this is marketing.

– If I repeatedly tell you that I am the most good-looking, this is advertising.

– If Alberto tells you that I am the most good-looking, this is public relations.

– If you state that I am the most good-looking, this is branding.

This is how Víctor Teodosio, co-founder of Hugin&Munin, explained the differences between those technical concepts.

Once these notions had been fully comprehended, the workshop moved to a deeper analysis of website logos, informational material, social networks, all with the help of hands-on exercises. Depending on the startups’ objectives, ideal customers and sector, a set of recommendations were given on the visuals, the tone, the channel that would convey the message best and, of course, the message in itself. All those key parts would then lead to fostering brand value.

–     the use of social media channels always has to be coherent, and this is achieved by adopting the same tone: do you think that Media Markt Community Manager never has a bad day? Branding is a slow process, but it takes very little to destroy it.

Alberto Pascual made a contribution to one of the biggest headaches that all startups share: which social media networks to use, how to feed them, and if they were really useful based on their resources, targets and products offered.

The workshop ended up lasting twice as long as scheduled, i.e. 4 hours, where Hugin&Munin dedicated about 15 minutes to each of the 18 out of the 21 selected startups that attended the event. Undoubtedly it was a very short time to carry out a deep analysis for every startup, but just enough to be able to work with them internally afterwards and then send personalised emails where concrete advice was addressed and summarised in such a way that startups could keep working on their branding.

–  all startups have something that makes them special, not only the idea, but the person who is behind them, his or her inborn qualities as a communicator, or perhaps a picture they took with the phone camera and then uploaded on the web, maybe a slogan that perfectly summarises their core value or a typography which perfectly fits with the image they want to transmit. There’s a need for a brushstroke of creativity to tell their story, they’ll have to change sections and organise their visual image so that there’s always a pattern, but you can tell why they’re here. They deserve it.

Closed Victor in an internal chat with Andrés Carrillo, Director of the Cloud Incubator HUB.

What did startups think?

The overall feedback was highly positive, startups enjoyed the experience and thanked Hugin&Munin for the mentoring. They even asked whether it was possible for them to keep cooperating with Hugin and Munin within the IoT acceleration programme.

Conclusions and a bit of advice:

Branding is still not being given enough importance but hopefully, after this mentoring, startups will see it as a way to reach their objectives and be successful.

Branding is something that needs to be taken care of from the outset, and its use varies according to the resources available. Also, everything they do will have an impact on branding. This will make them have to think carefully before making it visible to the public, using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. As a matter of fact, many startups have started to rethink their logos and pay more attention to their websites.

A last piece of advice for good branding for startups would be to work with a branding agency that really understands what a startup is, and knows how to make the most advantageous use of its resources. And startups should also invest more time and effort on good branding, as it’s just as valuable as investing in a good labour force: those are outlays that startups simply can’t afford not to make.