Why Do You Matter? The Age of Cause Branding

Why does your tech company matter?

In order to achieve success in any tech startup, you need to prove that your brand is the best on the market. You should do this in as many different ways as possible. There will be an endless stream of competition, all claiming that their product is the be-all-end-all of the tech universe. This is why it’s so important for your brand to focus on what makes you a better choice.

That’s where cause branding comes into play. Cause branding is a powerful way that you can demonstrate your social, economic and ecological awareness. Showing your customers or any other interested parties that you are trying to push forward a positive, environmentally friendly or socially justifiable product.

As far as I know, Cause Branding is a term coined by myself. It derives from the term “cause marketing” but with one huge difference; it’s not a stunt. It’s a driving force behind your brand and a leading part of why a client might choose your product over another.

What is Cause Branding?

Cause branding is a demonstration of how a brand might recognise their social, health or environmental impacts. A brand will identify what causes they stand for, contribute to or support, before incorporating this into what makes their brand stand out.

Successful cause branding must be authentic and thoroughly represent what the company stands for: for example, a tech company might be aware that they have a detrimental impact on the environment. Maybe this is via the amount of energy they consume. This company could pledge that their brand will focus on significantly reducing the impact they have on the environment.

In order for a company to benefit from cause branding, they must make sure that the causes they stand for lie at the forefront of any business decisions. A business must make the cause an essential part of the brand’s purpose and image. They must use their startup or company to make positive changes or reinforce certain goals or ambitions.

All Talk, No Action

Brands must not just talk about their cause or how they are aware of the social impact they might have, but they must demonstrate it through their actions.

An Edelman brand study showed 6 out of 10 people think “doing good” should be part of a brand’s DNA. This means that consumers are much more likely to purchase a product or service if they know it has a positive impact in the world.

Why Should You Practice Cause Branding?

Brand consumers now hold more power than ever when it comes to your tech product. Long gone are the days where the more money you make, or the more advertisements you create, the more successful you will be.

People no longer just buy into what you do but also the how and the why. Simon Sinek speaks more about this in his riveting TED Talk.

Taking this “why” a step further and combining with the knowledge that so many consumers believe that brands should be actioning against worldwide issues along with the rise of technology and transparency is also something consumers expect. We now have enough evidence to show that tech brands who don’t stand for a cause actually suffer from lower profits or consumer interest.

“We now have enough evidence to show that tech brands who don’t stand for a cause actually suffer from lower profits or consumer interest.”

Brands with a cause outperformed the stock market by 206% over 10 years. In fact, 77% of consumers would actually pay more for products that demonstrate social responsibility. Meaningful Brands have run a report on how a socially aware company can financially benefit from marketing whichever causes they stand for, proving that customers prefer businesses or companies that make use of cause branding.

Are You a Social Enterprise?

Some brands even go as far as registering as a social enterprise in order to identify themselves and their purpose as being solely in existence to promote their cause. It isn’t uncommon for large brands to operate their own charities, either. Take, for example, McDonald’s – one of the most internationally recognised brands in the world. They use their Ronald McDonald House Charities to prove that they are socially conscious of the decisions that their brand makes.

Consumers are showing that they actively want to hear about how their favourite brands are doing social or environmental good in the world. The consumers also fundamentally believe that brands have more power than governments in solving world issues; after all, brands are more social and vocal about what they do and branding in itself recruits returning loyalty. There’s a lot of power If a brand can instantly broadcast a statement and its loyal followers respond to it. This power should be taken very seriously.

What Are The Consequences of Cause Branding?

Some analysts believe that brands risk alienating certain groups of potential customers by taking a stance on a cause, as it could demonstrate political positions or go against what a certain majority might believe.

2019 shows a perfect example of how the market is constantly changing. Brands can no longer try to appeal to everyone, as it simply isn’t possible; someone will inevitably take offence at specific decisions, especially if it does not align with their personal moral code.

Branding has moved into an era of quality over quantity, meaning that a brand must actively show a strong personality. This will allow them to develop a stronger relationship with customers, encouraging loyalty and returning custom.

Consumers may closely identify with a brand that has a shared ambition toward a cause, and in-turn will quite literally buy into their ecosystem in an attempt to further accentuate their dedication to a specific issue. It’s an easy and simple way for consumers to feel as if they play a part in something bigger, or that they are contributing towards an important issue without having to go out of their way.

This suggested “alienation” can, therefore, be considered a good thing. Once consumers are hooked on your brand’s purpose via your cause, they will be returning customers for life albeit fewer of them.

What About Internal Benefits?

Your technology company’s internal culture is absolutely crucial to its long-term success. We analyse this further in our blog post “Why Is Branding Essential For A Tech Startup in 2019” but we’ll breeze over the general idea here.

It’s not just consumers who are attracted to a cause. Potential employees are also much more likely to be reliable, loyal and hardworking if they believe that they actively contribute towards an ongoing issue.

“Employees not only want to do great work but they also want to know that the work they do is for good.”

Your brand and your “employer branding” are very closely related; employer branding should be an extension of your tech company’s values, mission and vision, so It’s no wonder that if your company represents a good cause that this will feed well into your recruitment efforts.

In this survey by LinkedIn, 75% of potential candidates will research your tech company’s reputation before applying for any given role. Unemployed or not, 69% of those won’t even apply!

According to that very same survey, you’ll receive 50% more qualified applicants if your company has an outstanding reputation. This means that you’ll have a competitive advantage if your brand remains a positive one.

Making the Wrong Brand Decision Can Impact Your Brand

Uber is one of the biggest brands to recently have been affected by poor decision-making based on political misjudgement.

The #DeleteUber campaign was born from the fact that during a taxi strike in opposition to President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, Uber continued to pick up people at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where the taxi strike was taking place.

This received a huge backlash as it demonstrated a lack of awareness and social judgment, making the company look as if it only cared about making a profit – regardless of the impact it would have.

Competitor Lyft took advantage of this situation by pledging $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which not only made them look like a more socially conscious entity but also allowed them to secure a large amount of returning customers who would likely remain loyal to Lyft.

This goes to show that the decisions you make as a company will have an effect on how people see your brand, in some cases resulting in not only a reduction in sales but potential fines.

As a brand, you must remain vigilant and aware of any ongoing causes or concerns that can affect the way your business operates, using them to your advantage wherever possible.

How can you use cause branding to your advantage?

Cause branding will undoubtedly have some effect on the success of your startup. You should look into ways that you can utilise cause branding to build a solid foundation for profitability whilst positively impacting the world around you.

There are a few ways that you can cement your cause

Be Authentic

When you make a stand, it should be one that clearly aligns with your company’s mission and vision.

You absolutely must be authentic in your goals as a company. Make a stand for the things you genuinely believe in and represent your ideals in every action you take.

Customers will be able to see through any fake attempts at cause branding, which will harm your brand. Furthermore, by only supporting causes that you believe in, you completely eliminate the risk of being ‘caught out’.

You will be much more passionate about a cause that you feel strongly for, so your brand will be in a better position to actually make the changes it wants to.

Be Committed

Is this something my company will care about next week? Next year? In the next decade? Is my interest sincere? If not, it’s not your issue to undertake.

Do not just hop aboard the next fashion trend, just because that’s what’s ‘in’, as it will make your brand out to be shallow and insincere. You absolutely must be committed to the cause – by making it an essential part of your brand, you are pledging long-term backing that will forever impact your image.

Be Relevant

Above all else, listen to your customers!

Your customers are the very foundation of your brand – without them, you will not be able to maintain a business. In order to stay successful, you need to listen to the people that continue to buy your product.

This doesn’t mean that you should change your image or cause the second someone says something negative about the company. You should work to maintain the standards that your customers expect from you.

React positively to changes within the industry. It isn’t completely unheard of for a seemingly good or just cause to be suddenly viewed in a negative light – if this does happen, then adjust your vision in line with your company values.

Pave the Way to a Brighter Future

Cause branding is, essentially, the future of commercial success – and rightly so! I like to believe that I have a positive impact on the world around me. I will always choose to support companies that have a similar vision. It makes me feel as if I’m making an indirect change for the benefit of the human race.

Future companies and brands will only find success if they successfully implement cause marketing. The world isn’t what it used to be. The majority of consumers are aware of how they can negatively impact the earth.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the longevity of our planet. By working with customers and brands alike, we do have the power to make the world a better place.

Remember, cause marketing should not be a trend. It should be an integral part of who you are and what you stand for.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and make a change!


I’ve been working on this theory for a while and it wasn’t until I read the book “Bigger Than This” by Fabien Geyrhalter that it all started to make sense. I strongly suggest this book if you’re interested in learning more. It also contains some practical tips on how you can develop your cause branding.

A Rubbish Brand Name Can Completely Screw Up Your Tech Business

Naming your tech company or product is a huge deal and the difference between a bad brand name and a good brand name can make or break a company. Don’t believe me? Let’s get to it!

Your brand name is one of the first things people see or hear before they know what it is you do or offer so you can imagine first-impressions here are vital. It’s crucial that you get a brand name right early on and that you take some time to do it well after all, your brand name is a tech company’s most valuable asset (Nielsen)

Having a poor brand name can also mean you’ll lose traction in the market as you’ll be forgetful and uninspiring. Developing a name for your product with a care and attention is the only way to prevent this. 

What You’ll Learn

  • First we’ll look into the things that make a bad name. These are things that plague the industry and the approach to developing a name. They are things to avoid which can lead to the tell-tale signs of poor planning and negligence to the importance of a decent brand name. 
  • Next, once we’ve looked at the foundations on which you shouldn’t base your name on we’ll look at things to avoid when deciding on a name.
  • Then we’ll look into what considerations you should have with renaming if that is or ever becomes an option. 
  • We also take a look at one big consideration that may completely change your tech product or service!..
  • You’ll also learn the secret to getting the perfect .com domain for your brand!
  • We’ll dive how you too can actually create your own tech brand name name using the methodology we follow here at Jupiter and the Giraffe.
  • Finally I’ll leave you with some final thoughts on your next steps to building a tech brand. 

Benefits to a Strong Brand Name

  • Brand recognition – Having a name that sticks is a great way to be top-of-mind in the consumer (and stay there). 
  • Customer loyalty – We’ll get into the values but when your name expresses your values this encourages the right kind of customer who will remain loyal increasing their average lifetime value. 
  • Competitive edge in the market – Another benefit to a sticky name is standing out in the market above all the hugely generic names. 
  • Enhanced credibility – Having a well-thought-out name enhances credibility and looks profession. Consumers sense when a name has taken a serious amount of time to develop.
  • Ease of purchase – All of the above culminates in an ease of purchase as it develops trust and familiarity. 
Do not enter sign

4 Things To Avoid When Developing a Brand Name

One Dimensional

To create a great name you must understand your brand. To understand your brand is to not only understand your customers but you must begin to understand yourself and what you stand for. A name simply rooted what you do can be helpful (more on that later) but it doesn’t contain any hidden treasure for a perceiver to unravel and understand about you. 

Think about your values as a business and what you stand for. Think about the emotions you give your customer of the benefit they got from your tech product or service. Not having depth behind a name results in a lack-lustre experience with the brand and not a memorable one.

Disengaged

Like we spoke about earlier, your company needs to understand its users. If you have a brand name that doesn’t take into account its users it wont resonate. There will be a missed opportunity to engage your audience by your name by simply understanding your customers and what they respond to. 

Think about how they speak or act. Think about how they engage with your product.

Unstimulating

Having a name that stimulates emotion and imagery is another way to excite and engage your customers. Think of Apple, the ideas that conjures up when you think about what Apple does. The tree of knowledge, Isaac Newton. It’s a visually stimulating brand name.

What’s the story behind your business? How did it come to be?

Non-conceptual

Having a name that doesn’t revolve around a theme or concept doesn’t give it the ability to extend any further than simply what you do. The name Jupiter and the Giraffe gives us a vast back-story and allows us to explore many different ideas of space, travel, science… the list goes on.

If you don’t avoid the above points your brand name won’t move people. It won’t inspire or invoke any kind of emotional response and that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? You’ll be missing out on huge brand awareness and you’ll fail to relate to your target market.

Even if you avoid these things and your brand name somehow has depth and meaning, there are still ways to fluff it up so let’s discuss that.

Broken window

Things That Can Break a Brand Name

Even with a great tech product and a terrible brand name you’ll be received well in the beginning but the success will only last so long. You could compare it to a one-hit-wonder. All the hype around something new and fresh but lacks any sort of depth and longevity and your future efforts will go completely unnoticed. Don’t be another “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.

If you have a name, take a look at these next steps and see if you fall victim to them.

Looks Like a Typo

Yes, the letter X or Z rock but Xerox are about the only company to ever pull off a complicated name. “Svpply” get my vote on the most awful name (although they did get bought out by eBay so I guess they’re the ones laughing now).

Imagine working for this company and telling people your email address…

YOU: It’s SUPPLY spelt with a ‘V’

Customer: ‘P’?

YOU: V! VICTOR. S-V-P-P-L-Y (.com)

Customer: Well that’s a stupid name

Samuel Gregory: I KNOW!

Try not to be too clever with your name. It over-complicates things unnecessarily for the customer and pretty much everyone else.

Following the Trend

I want to strangle the person who first came up with “ify” on the end of a name. Is it supposed to be making the brand name into a verb? If it’s a strong enough brand it will become the verb (Selotape, Hoover, Post-it).

How many tech brands follow suite from Shopify or Spotify. It’s not fun and it’s not clever. Stop it.

Lowercase ‘i’ is another copycat name following a dead trend. Again, who is going to be fooled into thinking your rubbish clock radio is an Apple product because you’ve stuck the letter ‘i’ before your name? AND you’ve painted it white! Please…

Ignore what is popular because in time you will look dated. Focus on yourself and be practical. 

Limits Growth

Again, saying exactly what you do is not only boring but as a business, it limits the potential for you to brand to branch out into different areas. If you stick the name of your town in your brand name or the actual thing you produce this means you’ll only ever be known for that one thing. I guess an upside is SEO but it really depends where your priorities lie. Being a memorable brand that’s making a difference or number one in google and just a convenience to those searching for something you offer?

Too Descriptive

Carrying on from before, having a descriptive brand name is great for SEO and clear to the user but its lifeless. Another thing I see which in my personal taste is lazy is mushing two words together. This can be done very cleverly or it can be very lazily. 

My quick tip on this one is that if you do this, make sure the words you use are elegant and articulate. Make sure they have meaning and depth and try to avoid trying to hard. It should be easy to pronounce and read. These, to me, are when made up names or portmanteaus work best.

Curse of Knowledge

This one gets my sympathy. Curse of knowledge in itself is a hard one to spot and an even tougher one to balance. You’re trying to come up with a brand name that resonates but you don’t want to alienate new users by having a brand name that only select people can understand.

There’s only one way around this one and that’s testing. Ask coworkers, ask friends, ask strangers. Get a feel if your brand name is suffering from the curse of knowledge.

Impossible To Say

Maybe “Impossible” is too harsh word to say but I think I want to get across the point that it should say like it reads. Did you know there are people in this world that pronounce it “Ah-Dobe”? 

Once again, ask around. Find out if people are pronouncing it like you think it should be pronounced.

Renaming Your Tech

If you’re already an established brand or have an established product and you’ve now got a sinking feeling in your stomach that you’ve made a big mistake, fear not. It’s actually not that uncommon for tech brands to rename themselves (either they legally had to or did it through choice).

Did you know that Google started out as a search engine called “Backrub”? PayPal was called “Confinity” and Nintendo “Marufuku”?

Don’t be afraid to change your brand name. Legally you may still be registered as your previous name (if that’s a legal nightmare to overcome) but you can operate under any name you choose as long as it isn’t taken.

The Convenience Factor

In the same Nielsen study they uncovered an interesting fact.

“More than one-fifth of global respondents (22%) say they purchased a new product because it was convenient, and slightly fewer (19%) say they purchased it because it made their life easier.”

Nielsen

When we think about this in context of your brand name It’s important to make understanding your brand easier and enjoyable. Causing the customer extended cerebral stress just by simply presenting them with a name that’s difficult to pronounce or is highly irrelevant to what you do is not good. I call these micro-stresses that, individually, don’t do much but collectively they create mental strain. 

You can alleviate this by at least making the process and discovering of understanding your brand fun. Giving the name depth and meaning that is a joy to discover.

Hands, typing on a laptop keyboard

Coming Up With a Brand Name

Now that you’re common experts on what makes a good brand name, let’s take a look at how you can begin to develop your own name. This is the process we run a Jupiter and the Giraffe where we successfully brand and name tech companies.

Write Down Brand-Related Words

You can do this in a group or you can run this bad boy solo. It really depends on your preference (or practicalities).

Pick out up to 12 keywords that reflect your company, what you do or what you make and most importantly, your values. This is a common practice when you’re establishing a brand as they can bring to light what you stand for as a company but that’s for another post.

Become Detective (Wombat) Holmes

A great tool we use is MindNode for this exercise. Create nodes of all of your words and then using anything you can get your hands on (thesaurus, dictionary, Google, Pinterest), simply start digging. Digging like a little wombat, burrowing for clues to a crime. One at a time, type in your word and look for associated words and add that node connecting to its parent word. Keep doing this until you’ve exhausted your self. Write down words you don’t understand and also write down words you feel could go somewhere. Do not write down words that you do not like. They are useless.

Use imagery too. Google image search your words and see what comes up. This may be the best way to start your mind wondering on a tangent, loosely tied to the original word. Let it wonder, this is good. Create nodes on words you find and just keep digging.

Try not to put too much thought into this process. Just write down anything and everything you find.

Pick Your Faves

Unfortunately, if you’re not creative, this is where it starts to get a bit tough but stick with it. You’ll need to think a little abstractly and a little less laterally. Lateral-thinking is fine but try to let go a bit. I personally hang on to my lateral thinking as I like names that are both clever but also simple. I want a name to scream “OMG why wasn’t it this obvious from the beginning”.

Now that you have what is hopefully a huge list of words, some should start to jump out. Start to pick out some of your favourites and try to think creatively about how they could be used while still staying true to the above “rules”.

Add modifiers

Most of your words are probably taken both legally and in a domain name capacity. Adding modifiers can help bring a bit of relevance to your tech company. It could be “Traversal Starships” (assuming Traversal has been taken). It gives you the ability to use that word you really like as well as be unique and be slightly more descriptive about what your company does.

You could also combine words, although you probably thought about doing that already. Now, at least, you have a list of well-thought-out words to take your pick from instead of joining the two most obvious ones together. Truncate a word but, of course, make sure it’s not annoying and it’s pronounceable!

A lot of our clients get caught up on getting the .com for their chosen name. I think with the rise of domain name extensions, you can have some fun. Also “Get” is a popular prefix to your brand name as a domain name. This especially works well if it’s a product but take a look at some other verbs that might work but don’t get too hung up on this, It’s really not as big of a deal as you think.

Finishing Up

There’s not really much to it beyond this point. A little creativity here and some exploration there. The bulk of the work is done via your keyword researching. This serves as the foundation to your brand name and using these it’s a case of exploration and trying to join the dots.

Once you have some finalists, I would strongly suggest putting them against your competitors. How do they stand out? Do they compete with the giants? This tiny exercise really puts context to your efforts and should get your juices flowing seeing your name in amongst some of the biggest names in tech! If your name looks a bit flaccid here, it probably is, so maybe go with another.

However you choose to create your name, I think the point of this article is to in a way force you to just sit down and give your brand name some serious thought. It really is a valuable asset and key to start to build a brand.

Let’s not get too excited. In this article, we’ve explored the do’s and dont’s of naming your company or product. We’ve even looked at how you too can create an incredibly insightful, in-depth and, most importantly, relevant brand name but this is just the beginning. You have your brand and you have your values. You have a name that resembles this and you understand your customers. Building a brand starts with a good name but there’s much more to a brand than just a name.

Building a reputable brand is a journey that is beyond the scope of this article but there’s a fantastic article that covers the misconceptions of how to build a build a brand

With all that said why not download our FREE ebook “How To Launch An Awesome Tech Brand” and carry on the journey!

I want to give credit to the awesome book “Hello, My Name is Awesome” as well in this post. This article takes many of the ideas from that book and distills it into a short read. If you’re looking for more info to create a great brand name, read that.

How To Design a Crazy-Good Tech Startup Pitch That Wows VC’s

We get it.

You’re a brand new tech startup, ready to take the world by storm; you’re convinced that your new and innovative product or service is going to change the world and inspire humanity. There’s just one little problem: funding.

  1. More Than Just a Presentation
  2. Define Venture Capital
  3. A Tech Startup Funding Deck
  4. How to Create a VC Pitch Deck
  5. What Should Your Pitch Deck Include
  6. Getting Your Tech Startup Funded
  7. The Basic Design Do’s and Don’ts
  8. Present a Brand as Well as an Idea
    1. Tell a Story
  9. Battle of the Brands
  10. What Does a “Good Design” Actually Mean?
  11. Summary

Whilst it seems counter-intuitive, there’s one thing that’s true to any business or startup. That is you need money in order to make money. Without the necessary funding it will be extremely difficult to market yourself, create mock-ups or test products, or even get your first sale through the door. This is why it’s endlessly important to obtain some kind of financial assistance to help your brand.

If there’s one way to really pitch your tech startup successfully to larger businesses or investors, it’s via a well-designed VC funding deck.

More Than Just a Presentation

Stars, space and nebula

A clever design is absolutely crucial when it comes to marketing and selling your product or service; this applies to both your funding pitch as well as whatever it is that you sell. In fact, a smartly-designed funding deck might even be more important than the product itself!

Potential investors will not only be considering your business. There will be countless other brands asking for financial support and fighting to be seen, and investors will only ever see you as a product – something to make them more money.

So, how do you make sure that your startup gets seen amongst an ocean of similar tech services? Easy – a killer design.

We’ve all been there: choosing one product over another simply because it has a better design. or a more interesting “story to tell”. Half of our brain is devoted to processing visual information, and this simple implication can be something that YOU can utilize for your own personal advantage. Especially  if you have a clear goal that you’d like to achieve.

Let’s have a look at some sure-fire ways that you can design a great VC funding deck for your tech startup:

Venture Capital

Venture Capitalist Funding for Tech Startups

Before we can consider how to design a standout VC funding deck, it’s important to properly understand the terminology used. For example – what even is a funding deck? And what does VC even mean?

Let’s start with the latter question: VC stands for ‘venture capital’. A term that I’m sure you’re all at least somewhat familiar with. If not, you certainly will be by the end of this article!

Venture capital simply refers to financing provided to startup companies from investors that believe them to have long-term growth potential. You might have even heard certain investors referred to as ‘venture capitalists’.

It’s important to remember that VC is NOT just free money, and investors will need to believe that your company is likely to succeed as, at the end of the day, your brand or product is only an investment for them to earn more money in the long run. This is why it’s important to make sure that your pitch is well designed, as it can instil an additional layer of security or trust with a potential investor!

The term ‘capital’ implies that these investments must be in monetary form, but this is not always the case; VC can also be provided in the form of professional expertise.

Investopedia has a very eye-opening and in-depth article on the concept of venture capitalism.

Tech Startup Funding Deck

Now that we’ve got VC out of the way, we can move on to the more interesting stuff: funding decks.

A funding deck, often referred to as a pitch deck, is essentially just a presentation shown to potential investors that shows off what your business does, and why someone should provide the VC that you need to get your startup off the ground.

It’s important for your funding deck to not only showcase an outline of your product or service, but to convince investors that they NEED to buy into whatever you’re offering. You need to make sure that your funding deck definitively shows off how and why your startup is going to make the investor more money, and why it will become a sustainable long term growth project.

The smarter you are with the design of your pitch deck, the more successful you are likely to be, and it could be the deciding factor in the success of your startup!

How to Create a VC Pitch Deck

Creating a tech startup pitch deck

On to the most important part: how to actually create a VC pitch deck. Whilst the design is integral to your success, you need to learn to walk before you can run!

At its core, a pitch deck is just a presentation that outlines what your product is, and how it will help your target demographic. You should put it together with the intention of selling your idea, with a major focus on how you intend to grow.

There are plenty of services that will help you put your pitch presentation together; from PowerPoint to Prezi. There is no industry standard software, though you do need to make sure that your presentation is compatible with the systems used by your potential venture capitalist.

The most effective pitch presentations are clear, concise and simple. It is essential that they are easy to read, follow and understand whilst gripping the audience’s attention and encouraging their interest. As covered by Forbes, the three keys to powerful pitch decks are:

  • It must be clear and Simple
  • Easy to Act on
  • Compelling

Research has shown that most funding decks are 19 slides or less, so you should always aim to work within this limit.

What Should Your Pitch Deck Include?

Tech startup writing funding deck checklist

In order to win over the support from your investor, your pitch deck must outline a specific problem, and how your startup is going to solve it.

Ask yourself (and answer!):

  • Who is this startup for?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • How does it solve the problem?
  • Why is it better than the other startups?
  • Why is it going to be successful?

It is extremely important to make sure the ’problem’ is relatable enough to generate a large need in an unsaturated market, and that it isn’t too niche that you’re unlikely to sell many units. To put it simply: find a gap in your chosen market and fill it!

An investor is much more likely to show an interest in what you have to offer if they can relate to the problem it solves, or if it shows a promising potential for growth. As for the solution, you need to demonstrate why funding is going to benefit you and how it will impact your growth. For example, you know that your product is going to work anyway – why does your tech startup need funding? How will funding increase your output? This is called scalability, and a successful pitch will perfectly represent the scalability of your startup. More money = more output = more money.

Let’s have a look at some essential do’s and don’ts of creating a massively successful funding deck:

Do:

  • Be clear and concise
  • Directly define the problem and how you will solve it
  • Know your audience and target market
  • Have a clear business plan and direction
  • Demonstrate scalability
  • Show metrics to show the success of your product
  • Share testimonials
  • Show the current growth rate of your startup
  • Be original in both execution and direction
  • Recognise your competition and determine why you’re a better solution
  • Use visuals, such as diagrams
  • Showcase your financial and personal business goals

Don’t:

  • Be cocky
  • Assume your success
  • Count your chickens before they’ve hatched
  • Make blanket statements
  • Assume that you’re the ‘first’
  • Ask for a specific amount (instead, provide a range – it will give you more opportunity!)

Finally, let’s have a look at some slide ideas to get this ball rolling:

  • The Problem
  • The Solution
  • Your Product
  • The Market
  • Growth So Far
  • Growth Plans
  • Your Team – (who’s who and why have you chosen them?)
  • The Competition
  • What Resources Do You Need?

Obviously, these are only suggestions and it’s important to make sure that you are as original as possible!

Getting Your Tech Startup Funded

Rocket ship launching

Now that we’ve touched on how your brain can use visual cues to impact purchases, we want to point out the importance of this “visual aid” on a bigger scale: in particular, when talking about tech startups.

Succeeding in the tech world is anything but an easy task. Instead, it is more like a road paved with challenges and the most important one is winning a startup pitch deck and getting that all-important funding.

Pitching your idea in a visually appealing and organized manner to potential venture capitalists opens more opportunities for you to earn the essential funds needed in order to accelerate your tech startup’s growth. If you think pitch deck is a simple PowerPoint/Keynote/Prezi presentation with twenty slides and a plain theme you are wrong in so many ways.

A well-designed pitch deck will allow you to get the attention of investors and tempt them to take action. The problem is understanding what makes a good design, and what will catch the attention of those all-important investors that you’re so eager to impress?

Well – we’ve provided the tools you need to understand how to not only build the perfect pitch deck, but how to make sure the design is impeccable too.

The Basic Design Do’s and Don’ts

As we’ve mentioned above, the content placed throughout your tech startups funding deck should be easy to understand, create trust, and show growth traction, or the potential to be profitable in the long run.

In terms of design, the pitch deck should get your message across in a creative, conceptual, and most importantly, memorable way. In translation, this means that one glance at a single slide should be enough to grasp the idea behind it.

Another important feature of any successful pitch is to showcase no more than one idea per slide. One headline, one additional sentence to complement your headline, and one image or diagram per slide – otherwise, you could run the risk of your pitch becoming muddled and difficult to follow.

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t rely on words to get your point across and should aim for an average of around 20 words per slide. You don’t want your audience reading: instead, you want them to listen to you, distractionfree. The design of each slide should be just a visual aid to what you say, providing helpful diagrams or product research.

Focus on a simple yet striking layout and sentences written with a large, easy to read font, a limited number of bullet-points, and picture-rich presentation delivered in approximately 10 to 19 slides.

Present a Brand as Well as an Idea

Hand holding a lightbulb

Above, you’ll find the ‘essentials’ of a quality pitch deck – now let’s have a look at some of the more profound design elements that reflect your tech startup’s brand, ideals and vision.

If you haven’t yet developed your brand then we suggest downloading our FREE ebook “How To Launch An Awesome Tech Brand”. Here we give you the tools to create your own future-thinking tech brand that stands out.

Instead of presenting a simple idea and a must-have revolutionizing tech product or service, you should also focus on presenting the personality of the business, the people involved, and your vision as a founder. This will demonstrate that you value not only design and creativity but integrity and pride too; this is a great way to prove to your audience that you care about your startup, business and user base and are fighting for a cause. Your cause is the clincher here and will be a sure-fire way to touch your audience (and subsequently your customers) on a deep and meaningful level.

Tell a Story

Enchanted brand story

Designing a pitch deck which will stand from the legions of other companies aiming to be just as successful includes creating an engaging story about how it all started, and where your passion comes from.

Tell an exciting origin story of your tech startup and play to both logic and emotion, because investors will take the two of them into equal consideration before making any decisions. Define why your product is the right answer as well as the only logical solution, and make sure that you provide concrete evidence to any statement you make whilst displaying well researched statistics that showcase exactly how your product will help.

Logic plays an important role in any funding deck, though you should aim to include emotional content that will play to the audience’s heart. For example, you can use your business’ story to ‘tug on the heartstrings’ of potential investors, and really make them want to see you succeed. You essentially want to replicate the positive effects of a good sob story on a certain talent show!

Demonstrate what the company means to you and why you feel that it’s important to succeed, alongside any hard evidence of potential growth and the impact your tech will have on the world to make the most from both a logical and emotional standpoint.

Battle of the Brands

Proper branding is not only having a name, logo and an advertising campaign; it’s all about having a personality, core values, and a style. Branding is also about creating a stable emotional connection and securing loyalty between your startup and your potential customers, and about narrowing down your audience to a specific target demographic.

It’s imperative that every business should know EXACTLY who their target audience is, as it allows them to refine both their product and servicep to maximise the potential growth of your startup. You should demonstrate research into this throughout your pitch: who is your demographic, how will you cater directly to them (including marketing) and why will they choose your brand over others.

In fact, that’s a question you can ask yourself right now! Why do you prefer one brand over another very similar one. Alternatively, what makes one more successful for the other?

Read our article on why branding is essential for your tech startup for more info.

What Does a “Good Design” Actually Mean?

Besides telling your story when talking about branding, you should also focus on maintaining a high quality and attractive design that highlights the appeal of your brand.

A good, high impact design is all about spreading your message and expressing the desired outcome through visual communication. Pin-point and articulate the problem you are dedicated to solving. Do it in a unique, creative way with related images and easy-to-understand metrics.

You should utilise a simple layout. Show only the most important information in a clear and easy to read manner. Don’t let your slides become messy or difficult to understand. Make sure the colour scheme you use complements both the content and theme of your presentation.

In order to truly reach out to and inspire potential investors to buy into your product, think about visualizing emotions. Photography and illustrations, when used correctly and appropriately, can be incredibly powerful.

Visual examples can provide an insight into your cause, or could trigger an emotional response that could lead to empathy.

So they say: a picture is worth a thousand words!

To Summarise

You might be feeling overwhelmed or anxious about designing your tech startup’s pitch deck. It can be a hugely imposing, stressful and challenging task.

The good news is that no matter how lost you feel, you’re not alone! Think about it: Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, even Google used to be a new tech startup looking to secure funding. They all had an incredible idea that they were able to effectively pitch as a world-changing idea.Now some of the most renowned companies in the entire world.

Focus on your business goals. Show investors that you have a clear and concise idea which will turn into an exceptional reliable brand and keep on earning money. Keep it short, simple, and honest; really try to persuade your future investors that your idea will shape the new digital landscape.

Whatever happens, as long as you have a great idea and you really believe in yourself, you’ll find success. It won’t be easy, but it will be immensely rewarding!

What are you waiting for? Get out there and secure some funding!

Tech Startup Guide to Designing an Effective Landing Page That Converts your SaaS Product

Are you part of a brand new tech startup, looking for ways to effectively convert your SaaS product?

SaaS is widely tipped to become the future of digital consumerism. It is an innovative platform, allowing users to access software and licensing via a subscription, as opposed to an individual purchase and installation.

Of course, SaaS comes with many benefits. For the customers, who can access a desirable service at minimal cost, and also for businesses, who can charge an inflated price for the convenience of monthly payments.

Naturally, many new tech startup businesses and software designers are looking to use SaaS to their own advantage. As the technology is an integral part of the digital age, these businesses will need their own website – one that will not only explain the product in an engaging way, but will convert viewers into buyers.

The very first thing that viewers will see is the landing page – this is your product ‘home’ page. This is where any links should redirect. The most important thing to incorporate into SaaS conversion is a successful landing page design – this is one of the biggest factors that WILL sell your product.

It’s important to note your landing page should shine with your brand. If you haven’t read our article on Why Branding is Essential for Tech Startups, then make sure you give it a read.

Stats and Figures On Having a Creat Landing Page Design

To really clarify why a well-designed landing page is essential for any upcoming tech startup, let’s have a look at the metrics.

A well designed landing page can generate a significantly higher conversion rate, which is why optimisation is necessary.

According to statistics found through WordStream, a longer landing page can generate up to 220% more leads – that’s more than double than what a poorly designed page might offer.

Form fields are essential to generate leads, but many startups go overboard, offering around 11 different forms. In fact, reducing this down to 4 can result in a 120% increase!

Here’s some more information that might help design that perfect landing page:

  • If you don’t ask for an age, your conversion will increase
  • Including a navigation bar could decrease your conversion rate by 100%
  • An average conversion rate is 2.35%. A poorly designed page might see conversions of less than 1%, whereas a well-designed page might generate up to a 15% conversion for your tech startup!

So, What Makes a Great Landing Page?

Designing a landing page for your tech startup

You know how important it is to have an eye-catching website that sells your product, but what exactly makes it great? What do you need to consider to make sure that your landing page is visually pleasing and informal in an ever-changing virtual landscape?

Here, we’ll look at some of the key things to consider when you design your landing page.

Simplicity

Less is more, so the saying goes, and it’s true for a number of reasons. A simple web page is visually appealing – clutter makes for distractions, and will turn what could be a stunning page into a mess.

A simple landing page will redirect a viewer’s attention to exactly what matters, whether that’s a brief on why they need your product, or a simple form to encourage them to sign up. This means that not only are you telling them how your SaaS product will help them, but also shows them how to convert!

Simplicity doesn’t just apply to the visuals, and shuld affect any content you choose to put up. Make sure everything is clear, concise, informative and easy to read!

Colour Schemes

Colour of tech startup landing page design

Have a look at some of the most well-known SaaS products, and take note of how their websites have been designed.

One trait carried across most successful SaaS websites is that they have a select colour scheme, which is a clever branding mechanism wherein a company can use colours to associate certain products to their users.

In most cases, the colour schemes are very minimal, usually with only two or three different colours displayed on the landing page.

A great example of this is our own website, Jupiter and the Giraffe. Our landing page colours consist of a dark blue background with a large red circle, a pale blue ‘cookie’ pop-up and easy to read white text.

This is then carried prominently throughout the rest of the website, in alternating white, light blue and dark blue page backgrounds. Not only is this visually appealing, but it provides a clear idea of when one section ends, and the other starts!

Fonts

Another absolutely essential thing to consider when designing your SaaS product landing page is the font you use. This will directly impact the text visibility, purely because certain fonts are harder to read than others.

The font you choose should be closely linked to your branding in order to create a visual association, and it needs to be easy to read. Most websites tend to use a sans-serif font, because it is much easier on the eye, and presents a more modern feel to it. Serif fonts are generally used when a formal tone is required.

Now that we’ve had a look at some of the important visual design elements, let’s jump in to what else you can display on your landing page in order to really make it stand out:

Header

Simple landing page design for your tech product

A header or “Hero” is arguably the most important thing you should display on your landing page. The header will be the first impression of your product, so it needs to be eye catching and informative.

A typical page header will outline exactly what your product does, and how it can help your target demographic. As you can only fit a limited amount of information into a standard header, you should also inspire a sense of intrigue for your customer to click through the rest of your website and learn more about your product.

It’s important to note that your header should not be crowded or cluttered in any way.

How does your product help?

It’s essential to include a simple guideline on how your product will benefit a potential customer. As with everything else, this should be simple – do not over-complicate it, and make sure it looks pretty.

Depending on what you prefer, you may use a small infographic explaining your unique selling point or benefits in as few steps as possible, or a dynamic panel to engage viewers and encourage them to click through.

Pricing

The most important thing for any consumer to know is the price of what they purchase. You should make sure that your pricing structure is listed clearly on your landing page, as this is the first thing a potential customer will look at.

If you have multiple prices or packages, make sure these are displayed prominently where they can be easily viewed – you may also want to link them to a CTA, or call to action, where a user can simply click the package they’re interested in, and it will redirect them to a conversion page.

Conversion

This is the most important part for you, as any tech startup or business. The purpose of your landing page should be to convert a viewer into a subscriber.

If you’ve made sure that your landing page follows the above guidelines, you should have no trouble enticing new customers.

If you’ve chosen not to link your prices to a sign up form, you MUST have an easy sign-up option. These are most successful when used as the primary focus in the centre of the page. You might even put this in the header so it’s one of the first things people see so that as they learn about your product and your tech startup, they will know where they can go to sign-up to your mailing list.

Your CTA should be as simple as possible, and only ask for the bare minimum a customer needs to get started. The less information a customer initially needs to provide, the more likely they are to subscribe! Make it eye-catching so that it’s clear what action you want them to take.

Remember, conversion relies on a clever SaaS product landing page design, and where possible you should always make sure that you invest in a quality landing page.

If your tech startup needs some help, feel free to reach out where we can provide guidance and advice on your current landing page. If you’re at a loss with your brand, make sure you check out our article on 11 Tips to Building an Awesome Tech Brand.

Why Is Branding Essential for a Tech Startup in 2019? 7 important steps

In 2018, there where 8671 digital product launches by tech startups on Product Hunt alone. We know that branding your tech company is low down on the agenda when you’re starting out but hopefully in this article, we can convince you that, when the time is right, investing in a brand is a worthwhile decision.

If you’re unfamiliar with what Product Hunt is, it’s a platform for developers and teams to share their latest digfital tech product. Other users can “Upvote” or comment with support or questions on that product. Creators can hope that they receive enough upvotes on their product to hit the top of that day’s leaderboard. To give you an idea of the success of Product Hunt and its importance in the market, Google regularly shares their releases as well as highly influential product-makers.

Standing out as a tech startup is a big problem in this ever-expanding market. Although Product Hunt gives a product the glitz and glamour of being top of a leaderboard, there is very little to suggest that this will ever mean that the product will reach mass-appeal. Product Hunt is by developers for developers and there’s little room for creative expression other than that of the logo and app imagery.

Standing out is where branding comes in. Branding is, in most cases, under the umbrella of marketing. We believe it’s a blend of business strategy and creativity. Branding can not only enhance and improve your tech experience but it can grow your customer base while also driving effective company culture. Tech company branding is a lot more than just your logo, which we’ll get into below.

  1. What is brand in a nutshell?
  2. Why is branding important?
    1. Position in the market
    2. Perceived value
    3. Recognition
    4. More customers and referrals
    5. Engaged employees
    6. Stand out and build trust
    7. Clear direction

What is “brand” in a nutshell?

At its core, branding is a marketing tactic that helps identify you amongst your competitors. This can be done in a variety of ways. With tech branding, you want to leave the potential customer with a clear idea of the promise that you are making to them. That promise can be physical things like – we will make your life easier with our product – or it can be something slightly more intangible.

Take Coke for instance. Instead of selling the drink, Coke promises to sell you the idea of happiness, family or sharing. You want to be the sole provider to a clear solution to your customers problem and your brand gives you a voice to be able to achieve that.

Whatever your promise is, it should be consistent in everything you do. It should be a guiding light to all your marketing efforts but this doesn’t need to be just a fake marketing effort.

Tech company branding is often deeply rooted in the values and ideas of its founders so is often born from genuine beliefs. This should be enough to set you aside from your competitors because although your product might be similar to another tech product, you’re able to eke out the USP (‘Unique Selling Point’) and promise something deeper from these values. It’s important that your customer should feel that promise in the entire customer experience and this can only be achieved through a well-defined brand strategy.

A final point to make is that for your tech brand, and the following points to work, you must understand your customer. Who are you talking to and why? What are their pain points and how do you solve them? Only then, can you build something effective in your efforts.

We have a post on how to develop your tech brand strategy here.

So why is branding important for my tech startup?

Tech branding is so important for many reasons (both internal and external). From an internal perspective, it can help align key stakeholders in the business on why you are building your product or service. It highlights everyone’s understanding and it will mean you are all speaking the same language. The business should be geared towards the same objective so by going through the motions of developing your tech brand, this becomes clear. A great consequence of this is improved company culture – something that is integral to the success of any tech startup.

Position in the market

As mentioned, going through the motions of your brand strategy should identify your position in the market. Shouting about it is your way of standing out and setting yourself apart from the competition. Positioning is integral to standing out so we hold this process highly in a brand strategy workshop. Positioning is a huge topic in itself and when it comes to tech company branding, this is so important.

Perceived value

 A brand with a higher value (from investors etc.) is perceived to be a bigger market player. This allows you more leverage and increased investment opportunities as your brand should represent establishment, confidence and success. If your tech startup can be perceived as valuable, you’re likely to become attractive to investors.

Recognition

As a tech startup, in a sea of competition, recognition is also important. Having an attractive and engaging tech brand is one way to stand out. It’s also another way to remain in the minds of the consumer. Launching a new product becomes easier as the customer will be familiar with your brand. Everyone can recognise Google products when they see them. They all use similar colours and illustration style. It’s important to remember though the visual appeal that Google has is rooted in a powerful branding strategy.

Building tech brand recognition also builds brand equity and so improves the chances that if you seek investment, you’re more likely to appeal to investors. This is because your brand equity is strong and this builds on the value we spoke of previously.

More Customers and referrals

When you engage with your customers (either physically or digitally) you should give them a great service, and believe it or not, by having your tech branding consistently play a part in that process, it’s a way to drive up customer satisfaction. Their impression of your tech startup’s branding is further imprinted in their mind with every successful engagement.

Happy customers also mean you’re likely to get referred as that customer seeks to recruit more into the brand ecosystem (tribe).

Note: A concept called “brand tribalism” also contributes to the fact that raving fans will want to refer their friends. We won’t go into brand tribalism now but it essentially means that customers buy into the feeling it gives them. Sometimes they buy that more than the product itself and this is an important thing to remember with regard to your tech startup branding.

Engaged employees

From the offset, if your tech brand is strong you’re likely to attract a specific kind of employee -hopefully one that aligns with the values you are trying to convey in your branding. When your employees believe in the values themselves and are encouraged they are likely to be proud and become a raving fan of their employer. They will also have a greater sense of belonging which is what we all pine for. They will feel like they are part of something bigger! We know that culture is a huge part of a positive atmosphere so if you have everyone believing in the same thing, you’re going to have a good atmosphere. Happy employees are more engaged, more involved, harder working and stay dedicated to the business for longer than one that isn’t engaged.

Stand out and build trust

Having strong tech branding is a sure-fire way of looking professional, established and legitimate. As a growing tech startup brand, you’re likely to feel a bit of imposter syndrome sometimes and taking on tech giants can be a daunting task. With a strong product paired with a great technology brand, you’ll stand out and build trust within the market. People will be more likely to engage and purchase from you if they trust you and a well-put-together tech brand looks like a well-put-together business. This will lead on to gaining loyal followers and subsequently repeat purchases.

Clear and easy direction

Finally, having a set of brand guidelines and a clear idea of the message your tech startup branding wants to convey is a huge weight off your shoulders. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for you allowing you to focus on more important things (the product). Getting the right emotional and visual direction nailed means you can forget about wondering if you’re conveying the right message and trust in the brand working its magic. This in itself is worth thousands in terms of cash as the time saved is phenominal.

So as you can see, having effective branding for tech companies matters so much more than just the appearance of your website or the design of your logo. There are clear benefits to it both internally and externally that you can leverage and utilise so we suggest this being one of the first thing your tech startup addresses early and often. It’s also really important to keep revisiting your tech company’s branding every 6 months not only from a visual perspective but from a business alignment perspective.

10 Practical Tips on How to Run an Effective Remote Brand Strategy Workshop

Brand Strategy (Strategy) is our name for the discovery process we run to unlock hidden knowledge in the minds of our clients. As a remote design studio, this poses some immediate problems on how to run an effective workshop when you aren’t in the room.

It’s important to say that every detail discussed below is client dependent. These won’t necessarily apply to all clients so discuss with them what they are comfortable with. This guide can also serve to answer questions like “Ways to improve Voice over IP (VoIP) quality?”, “What are the best times to schedule a meeting?” and “How to run a VoIP meeting or workshop?”.

Brand strategy workshops tips

Brand strategy helps us maximise the value of delivery and narrow our design efforts by asking key questions right at the beginning of the project. We’ve written an article on what Brand Strategy is so we won’t bore you with that. Strategy can run for at least four hours if pushed for time but it can also run for days. It depends on how many people are in the room and how many voices need to be heard. We look at things like brand positioning, brand architecture, users, business goals and more.

Discovery workshops run best when you can motivate people to be hands-on and energetic as they participate. Strategy requires active participation from key stakeholders in the organisation. This means post-it exercises and creative thinking all-round. As a facilitator, you also need to be aware of the energy levels in the room and be able to read people easily enough to spot the tell-tail signs of fatigue. It’s good to be aware so that you can call for a break or engage a particular participant to bring them back into the room.

1. Break it up

Break up the workshop for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

You need to be pro-active in your approach to minimising fatigue, maximising energy and increasing engagement. Rather than push attendees until they are tired, we reimagine the discovery process so that they never get tired in the first place. After some testing, we found attendees start to tire after about 1 hour of workshopping over Zoom. We took a look at our Strategy workshop and have now broken it up logically into 1 – 1.5-hour segments. This enables us to get everything covered without losing context and before attendees tire. We suggest breaking your workshops up into logical chunks while keeping context.

How you break it up will depend on whether you’re in the same time-zones or not. Most segments are run once a day but if you are in a similar time-zone you might be able to run it several times in a day.

A benefit to meeting each day is that the chit-chat at the beginning of the call often involves catch up on the rest of the previous day. Because of this, we feel like we were all part of each others entire day. Each day we bond and grow as a team over the course of a week which puts us in a better position going forward and as ultimately we have a better relationship right from the beginning.

2. Homework

give client homework for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

Not necessary in every workshop but homework is also something we offer. Some of the tasks in the workshop are quite frankly repetitive. An example being user personas. If we can clearly facilitate the first persona then that is often enough for the participants to build out the other personas without our involvement. We could oversee the second persona for instance with little input and leave the remaining 1 or 2 to the participants.

The other benefit of having homework is time. Depending on the client, we feel having a 1-hour touchpoint a day can leave all involved twiddling their thumbs a little. A session that could run over 1 or 2 days is stretched out over the course of a week which could be less than ideal. With homework, this isn’t the case and the session remains productive outside the call.

3. Invest in good quality hardware

invest in good quality hardware for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

It’s hard to engage your client so make sure they can see and hear you as if you’re in the room. Use HD camera with a decent microphone. The best according to many studies is the Logitech C922 Pro Stream. This enables 1080p streaming. An added bonus to this webcam is that it has fantastic stereo audio. It also has a wide viewing angle (78-degree) to capture a decent amount of you.

If you’re wanting better quality from your audio then invest in a decent microphone. Blue Yeti Pro USB Condenser Microphone is often rated very highly and is simple to use. With built-in noise cancelling, stereo recording and you don’t need a USB audio interface and it will just work right out of the box.

4. Choose time wisely

Choose time wisely for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

Choosing the right time of day to run brand strategy is very important to maximise productivity. Obviously being remote you sometimes don’t have that luxury as you might be in different time-zones but we should discuss this nonetheless. Monday’s aren’t great for meetings and neither are Friday’s as they are both impacted by the weekend. On Monday’s, people are still thinking about the weekend and are in “weekend mode” and on Friday’s, people are gearing up for the weekend so might lack focus.

Try to avoid mornings

We need our participants engaged and energetic in brand strategy as we require active thinking and participation. It’s creative too and some attendees might not have a creative bone in their body so will require being tempted out of their comfort zones. In the morning, people are still sleepy and this is not good.

Mid-mornings are ideal

People are most energetic in the mid-morning so utilising this burst of energy is recommended – 10am is a great time. If you’re running one brand strategy session per day, then running it at 10am each day is perfect. If it’s not your 10am, bring your A-game! One thing to be conscious of is running close too lunch. People can get hangry (hungry + angry) just before lunch so finishing at around 11:30/45 is ideal.

Lunchtimes can work

As long as you provide food you can run a meeting over lunch. It’s a great way to squeeze in some more time and can help post-lunch productivity if food is chosen wisely (sandwiches and salads come to mind. Avoid stodge) as explained below…

Don’t schedule meetings straight after lunch.

I think this goes without saying as we all know how we feel after a big lunch. Unless you run your brand strategy over lunch and you can somehow control peoples consumption.

Late afternoon isn’t ideal

People are clock-watching from around 4:30pm so finish up by that. It could be a great time if you’re doing introductions or need to rattle through some loose ends as people will be wanting to get home so could be achieved in record time.

In conclusion, have your brand strategy at 10am between Tuesday and Thursday as people are energised and focussed. If you’re running several in a day, try to avoid having more than two and make the second at around 2:30pm.

Consider evenings

Depending on the profile of the company, you might be dealing with busy senior staff. As with all brand strategy sessions, you should be running it with the C-suite stakeholders. You need fundamental information and most importantly, with regards to brand, you need buy-in. If they are busy, float the option of an evening or before work (if they are hyper-productive). This can even work for time-zones that don’t sync up so bear that in mind.

5. Prepare your client

Make sure your client knows what they need for the session. Post-its? Pre-call considerations (such as competitors). Think about what you would need from them in the room and prepare them before the call. We do this in the meeting invite as well as verbally. In our case, we do introductions on the first call so nothing is needed. This gives us an opportunity to tell them what they will need going forward and to look to the invites for further information. Then we, of course, provide information in the invites.

6. Have good Wifi in a quiet area

Have good wifi for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

I think this point goes without saying. VoIP calls are bandwidth-intensive so make sure you and your client(s) have good Wifi. Book a room so that it both looks professional and people aren’t moving around in the background and most importantly, make sure it’s quiet. If you have an ethernet connection, this is far more reliable than Wifi, so use it.

Also, bonus tip – try not to have the call in what can only be described as a cave!

7. Have backup options if disaster strikes

One reason why we use Zoom is that it gives the client WORLDWIDE teleconference capabilities. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and a good old fashioned phone call is necessary. Having that option and being prepared to be a little more descriptive with your workshop activities can reduce time. With Zoom, clients can call a local number to attend the session.

8. Record the calls

If you have a terrible memory or your handwriting is poor consider recording your calls for future reference. We create a summary document of the brand strategy call and although we fill out the keynote as we go along, we sometimes need to clarify something or add additional context or information. If you have recorded the call you can simply go back over it and watch for the information. We then share our calls on a privately hosted Youtube. This not only saves storage on our computers but is easily accessed by everyone.

9. Clarify your instructions

Clarify instructions for an effective remote brand strategy workshop

If you’re giving instructions always clarify if they make sense and give your client the option to speak up. This is just polite during a meeting especially if acronyms or industry-specific terminology is thrown around but especially in VoIP calls as the call may have dropped and not everything will have been heard.

10. Stand Up

Stand up to give an effective remote brand strategy session

This sounds strange but you need to give 50% more energy on a video call to get just 10% output on the other end. Help generate that energy by standing. Get the blood flowing and don’t allow your body to get lazy.

So there you have it. 10 considerations for having a productive remote client discovery workshop. We offer brand strategy workshop after a free 1-hour consultation – just contact us on our website. Give it a try and let us know if you have any tips for remote discovery calls.

Photography lovingly used from Unsplash

A Comprehensive Guide to Colour Theory and Colour Psychology

This post is a comprehensive breakdown on colour theory. Pulled together from the web, we feel this is the best guide out there. Enjoy!

  1. Colour Wheel
  2. Hue, saturation, and brightness
  3. Colour Combinations/Harmonies
  4. Colour Context
  5. Colour Psychology

What is the Colour Wheel?

Colour theory starts with the colour wheel which was invented by Isaac Newton 1666. It’s kind of what it sounds like, a wheel of colour. What you can do with this wheel is both an art and a science and can be used to find out what colours work well together in theory. Understanding this together with the emotions they convey is crucial if you are building a brand.

The two types of colour wheels in colour theory are RGB and RYB (CMYK). CMYK is useful for artists as mixing colours uses subtractive colour mixing model and it’s used on anything physical like posters and paper. RGB is what you are looking at now and used by mixing light – additive colour mixing model.

A colour wheel is made up of twelve colours (red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, violet, magenta and rose) and can be divided into three different colour groups.

Image result for colour wheel
Colour wheel

The 3 Primary Colours

Primary colours are Red, Yellow and Blue and these colours can be mixed together to create white. Three pigment colours that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colours and all other colours are derived from these 3 hues.

Primary colours

The 3 Secondary Colours

Secondary colours are a result of mixing two primary colours together. When using subtractive and the RYB colour wheel you will get purple (red mixed with blue), orange (red mixed with yellow), and green (yellow mixed with blue). The classics.

Secondary Colours

Tertiary Colours

Tertiary colours are created by mixing a secondary colour with a primary these are orange, chartreuse green, spring green, azure, violet and rose.

In the RYB color wheel, the tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Tertiary colours in RYB colour wheel

Warm and Cool Colours in the Colour Wheel

The colour wheel can be divided to create warm or cool colours (temperature). In colour theory, warm colors (red through to yellow) are said to bring to mind happiness, optimism and energy, while cool colors (blue to green and purple) are associated with serenity and isolation.

Warm & cold colours

Introducing Hue, Saturation and Brightness

HSB (or HSL) stands for Hue, Saturation (Chroma) and Brightness (Luminosity). Hue is the actual colour on the colour wheel. Brightness refers to how much white (or black) is mixed in the colour while Saturation indicates the amount of grey or purity in a colour. We can also use this same concept to similarly describe…

Shade, Tint and Tone

Shade is created when you add black to the base hue. This darkens the colour and tend to be richer, darker and often more intense than the original hue.

Tint is created when you add white to the base hue. This makes it lighter and desaturates the hue and makes it less intense but also makes colours calmer and quiet.

When you add both black and white (grey) to a base hue, this is known as Tone. They appear less saturated or intense and often more closely resemble real-life colour.

Shade, tints, tones
Shade/tint/tone

Useful Colour Combinations/Harmonies

Now with the colour wheel out the way, let’s talk about how we can use colour theory to find harmonious colours.

Complimentary

Complimentary colours are colours that exist at opposite ends of the colour wheel. These colours are high impact, vibrant and contrast with each other very well. They must be used carefully so they are not jarring. Contrasting colours can help imagery pop and are a good idea for logos or identities but are not advisable for text and typography.

Complimentary colours

Monochromatic

Monochromatic colours are three shades – tones and tints of one base hue. They are a much more subtle colour combination and can feel calm and harmonious when used.

Monochromatic

Analogous

Three colours that are side by side on the colour wheel are called analogous and are often found in nature. These colours have a high impact but should be used wisely as they can be overpowering. You should use one dominant colour from this selection while the other two should be used as accents. Analogous colours can be used effectively on websites as it can draw the eye so that a user knows where to take action.

Triadic

Triadic colours are three colours that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel and are bright and dynamic. They can create contrast and harmony simultaneously so can be very effective but once again, let one of these colours dominate and use the others as accents.

Triadic colours

Rectangle (Tetradic)

Tetradic colours are four colours evenly spaced on the colour wheel with two complimentary squares (Double-Complementary Relationship). They are quite bold and can offer a lot of variations. Letting one colour remain dominant is key here. You should be aware of cold and warm colours so that correct grouping can be established.

Tetradic colours

What is Colour Context

Another key thing to note is how colours behave in relation to others. Two of the same colours used in slightly different ways can create different contrasting effects and this is called simultaneous contrast. This is at its most powerful when the colours are complementary colours. Michel Chevreul studied the idea that an object of any given colour will cast a shadow tinged with that of its complementary colour and there are several effects of colour context.

Lightness

The most drastic and obvious effect of simultaneous contrast is the apparent shift in brightness. If you take two squares of the same hue and surround it with a lighter or darker shade, the square surrounded by the darker shade will appear lighter and the square surrounded by the lighter shade will appear darker.

color shift in a simultaneous lightness contrast, all large and small squares have the same hue and chroma

Chroma

Similarly, chroma can apparently be affected by having two squares of the same hue surrounded by a desaturated and an increased saturation of that hue. The colour on the right seems duller against the high contrast and reversely the colour on the left seems extreme opposite. This is because value and chroma are often confused in colour perception.

all large and small squares have the same hue and lightness

Crispening Effect

Crispening effect is the apparent shift in the contrast between two colours of similar lightness while surrounded by a colour of a different colour lightness.


the crispening effect

Colour context source: http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/color_context.htm

Colour Psychology and Its Affect On Us

Colour can play to our stereotypical view of the world and the way we understand it. Given this, we can take a look at the different colours and what they could mean to an observer of your brand. Colour psychology can be split up into warm, cool and neutral colours.

These explanations are very subjective though and it can vary because of someones past experiences or cultural differences so take with a pinch of salt and do your research.

Warm Colours

Warm colours often evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy however, yellow and orange can also slightly irritate the eyes and red can increase a person’s appetite.

Red

Red is warm and dynamic and can (apparently) invoke hunger. It can also be associated with passion, love, anger and danger. Red is playful, modern and exciting but used as an accent as it can be quite tiring to look at.

Orange

Orange can be associated with happiness. It still has elements of energy and is playful but is not overpowering like red.

Headspace is a meditation app and uses the vitality and hapiness of orange in their logo

Yellow

Happiness, friendship, energy and hope. A brand using yellow gives a sense of optimism and cheerfulness but a word of warning it can also be tiring to look at so use sparingly.

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Aranya logo gives a sense of happiness and optimism

Cool Colours

Cool colours are usually calming and soothing but can also express sadness and are often chosen by health and security sectors.

Green

Green is, of course, associated with wealth, nature and health. It’s also very easy on the eyes and because of its association with nature, green can depict growth, prosperity and safety.

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Cannasphere uses green for its obvious natural conotations

Blue

Blue apparently induces chemical reactions in the body that are calming so is great for calm and spiritual brands. Dark blues feel more corporate and professional but can also feel cold while light blue is relaxed and friendly. Blue is said to be trustworthy and mature.

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Nascent are focused on the development and delivery of human antibodies and cytokine responses for the treatment of cancer

Purple

Purple can be associated with royalty, wealth, sophistication and authority. It can be soothing and calming being a colder colour but is also perceived to be luxurious. It’s also commonly associated with mystery and romance and it’s also not overly feminine.

Neutral Colours

Neutral colours work great as background colours and include black, grey, white, tan and brown.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about colour theory. It was originally part of this article what colour to use for you biotech branding but was broken out for readability. If you want to know more, check that out.