Using Full-stack Developers for Your Web App

If you’re building a web app or considering it you most certainly will be in need of a developer or development agency. In this search, you may have come across the term “full-stack developer” so in this article we’ll discuss all of these terms and the roles and responsibilities of each.

In this article we’ll learn about;

  • The different types of developers
  • What the types of developers are typically responsible for (including full-stack developers)
  • Pros and cons of hiring a full-stack developer.

Before we start, you might be interested to understand more about the different types of web applications there are. Read about that in our article.

What is the Difference Between Web Apps, Native Apps, Hybrid Apps and Progressive Web Apps for My SaaS App?

What Do We Mean by Stack?

“Stack” refers to the layers of web development and the technology involved typically front end and back end or client and server. You may also have stacks within those stacks. For instance, someone might ask what your front end stack is and the answer might be React, Styled Components, Webpack.

When a developer knows the “stack” they better understand the product and its technical challenges. Each item in the stack requires a set of skills that vary greatly, which we’ll go into now.

Image from “Web Application Architecture Part-2 (Guide to become Full Stack Developer)

Popular Web App Stacks

Here are some popular stacks you might have heard of when it comes to web application development. They contain a mixture of server technology, serverside languages and client-side languages.

  • LAMP stack: Linux – Apache – MySQL – PHP
  • LEMP stack: Linux – Nginx – MySQL – PHP
  • MEAN/MERN stack: MongoDB – Express – Angular/React – Node.js
  • Django stack: Python – Django – MySQL
  • Ruby on Rails: Ruby – SQLite – Rails

We used MERN stack in our project with Ontologue. The benefits of this are that the entire tech stack uses JavaScript which, of course, means it’s easier for a single developer to work on the project.

So, What is Full-Stack Web App Development?

When we discuss web apps and web app development in particular, you might be surprised to know these are actually two jobs, front end and back end developer. The web has become more complex, and these are people who specialise in various fields and have a deep understanding of their field and as such require a specialist skillset.

A full-stack developer combines the role of front end and back end along with creating the database and fulfils all the requirements for the web application project. Full-stack developers have the knowledge of various programming languages and bring the product to the end-stage for release. For the critical MVP stages, both large-scale organisations and entrepreneurs have started to rely on them for building a website or API application.

What is the Difference Between the Frontend and Backend Development?

To understand what a full stack developer is, let’s first understand the difference between the front end and back-end development.

In the front end, client-side development is focused on the app to design the user interface. It will include building a highly responsive and functional app. Some roles front-end developers play includes web designer, UI designer, and User Experience (UX) designer. A person who calls himself/herself a front end developer will have these skills altogether. It mainly requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript languages. However, there are still some things that won’t be possible with the front-end. Using this knowledge, a developer will be able only to create a static website.

Technologies a front end developer may be concerened with;

For the back-end, the server-side layer of the web apps is focused. It is advised that the back-end developer must have knowledge of more than two server-side languages and frameworks such as Node.js with Express.js, Python with Django, Ruby with Ruby on Rails, or Java with Spring MVC. It is also quite common for the backend developer to have an understanding of the server technology their code will run on but this role can even be separated out into its own role called “web ops/operations”. DevOps is a term you may have heard but this is technically incorrect which we won’t get in to here.

Technologies a back end developer may be concerned with;

To create a dynamic website, having back-end development knowledge is essential. A dynamic site is regularly changing and updating in real-time, which requires database working efficiency. Websites like Facebook, Google Maps, and Twitter are some examples of dynamic back-end development.

Apart from the front end and back-end, a full stack developer will take care of the database as well. Therefore, you will have the upper hand under all circumstances.

Pros of Hiring a Full Stack Developer for your Web Application:

If you are speculating why you should hire a full stack developer, we have some advantages that you can consider before making your final decision:

Fewer Resources Utilisation with Efficacy:

When multiple teams are working on a single project, there is always a gap left in the front-end and back-end engineering. Appointing a team that works in sync for both front-end and back-end, this means that they will be able to optimize the resource use. A cross-functional team will be a great asset to develop the project efficiently.

Excellent Speed & Performance:

Using languages that are event-driven and have a non-blocking IO model such as Node.js is beneficial. It paces up the web development process and improves performance as well.

Vast Talent Pool:

Recently, engineers are paying more attention to improving their skills. And the preferable languages are only a few. On a worldwide scale, 62.5% of developers are using JavaScript for web development. And fortunately, there are more than 10 million JavaScript developers will advance skills available for your help.

Cost-Effective:

Having a full-stack developer is a cost-effective way for web apps development. They will know how to bring every aspect of the project together in the quickest way possible. Handling a web app project requires a lot of coordination to ensure there is no error.

With the help of a full-stack developer, you will have a significant advantage over the development and designing process of the web application.

Interviewing the developers will provide you an insight into the work they do. Web application design and development can be tricky if you don’t pay any attention. The process needs evaluation, verification, and validation at all stages.

On a personal basis, the developer will also have the benefits of enhancing their skills to a full stack developer.

Expand Development Skills:

Becoming a full stack developer will allow a developer to combine their knowledge of the back end and front-end processes. The knowledge of full-spectrum will make it possible for a developer to create projects and applications alone.

Deeper Understanding of Overall Development:

Having only one side knowledge of web apps development limits your skills. For instance, if you are facing troubles with the server-side development, a front-end developer won’t of much help to you. Hence, getting a deeper understanding of all phases of development will make you master of all.

Serve as Technical Leader:

From a business point of view, a full stack developer would be the right choice to lead the web apps, development team. They understand the complete cycle and guide you at every step of the process. That’s why; full-stack developers are an extremely valuable resource for the companies.

So, hire someone with the right skills, and you will have your SaaS product developed and ready within no time.

Challenges for Full Stack Developers:

However, believing that hiring a full stack developer is only advantageous is a mistake. It comes with a few challenges as well.

Growing Number of Stack:

The first problem with full-stack developers is that stacks have grown immensely. The process isn’t limited to front-end, back-end, and database anymore. It includes machine learning, data analytics, mobile and web development, deployment process, and after release management. Furthermore, These technologies are evolving rapidly, which makes it hard to catch-up with everything.

Standards Hard To Match:

The quality of the software is much of a standard expectation now. Every business has to meet its customer’s expectations to have an excellent user experience. To achieve such high standards, full-stack development is a must.

Different Architecture:

Whether it is the back-end, front-end, or database, every development phase has its own set of problems different from each other. It requires expertise in various programming languages, paradigms, and frameworks. All that knowledge will take time to study, and practicing them in real life is also time-consuming. Hence, being a full stack developer is like taking a course that never ends.

Technology Specialisation:

Starting with the front-end and framework, there is an extensive coding programming combined with Angular, React, and View. Then, there is UI and UX engineering, CSS architecture, prototype, design and animation, and other aspects. After that, tooling, software designing, package management, and other elements of infrastructure are handled. Even the later testing phase also cannot be done by just one person. Each layer of full-stack development is a big challenge in itself. And in that condition, mastering them all requires a lot of effort.

Lack of In-depth Knowledge:

There is a significant disadvantage of being a full stack developer. You may gain complete knowledge of web apps; however, keeping track of every skill might be a little tricky. It is believed that Full Stack Developers are the jack of all trades and master of none. Mastering MySQL, PHP, MongoDB, JavaScript, Node.js, CSS, HTML5, and others will take years. We are not saying that it is impossible to attain, but it is considerably difficult.

A technical expert in your organisation can tackle every problem at various stages, and capable of carrying out a project is a big advantage. The technological revolution has made it clear that to develop SaaS products; we need experts in every field.

In summary, there are many pros and cons to hiring a “one-man-band” web app developer and it really comes down to your unique use-case and the requirements of your product. If you’re interested to hear more, please feel free to contact us and find out how we can help you plan out your web application development.

Let’s Keep Things Moving

In our efforts to keep small businesses going in this uncertain time we would like to offer a little something that we hope will keep the economy moving.

We’d like to offer our web development services completely free.

This will include;

  • Bespoke website development in Webflow (standard 5-page website)*
  • Domain setup (bring your own domain, we recommend namecheap.com)
  • Contact form setup
  • Email address setup using your fancy new domain ([email protected])
  • CMS Editor

This is ideal for new businesses, those that are self-employed designers, SaaS product teams and their landing pages. Basically, anyone that can source a website design for us to build. This is not using a template, this is created bespoke to you. We’ll also support in working with you and your design to make the final finishing touches to launch.

We’re also open to working with those without a design for a reduced price working with our incredible design team.

What’s the Catch?

We’re hoping to use the work we do with you to promote our expansion into Webflow with our services and newly announced MVP and Website packages in exchange for a free website in the coming weeks.

This will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. Your website will need to contain one link-back to our website.

All we require is hosting fees billed $250 USD for the year.

Designing an Effective Landing Page

To design an effective landing page we’ve put together a blog post to help with some considerations. You can read all about that here.

Blog post: https://blog.jupiterandthegiraffe.com/tech-startup-guide-to-designing-an-effective-landing-page-that-converts-your-saas-product/

Case Study

Take a look at the work we did for Boombocs in rebuilding their landing page in order to encourage sales of their product. We designed and built this along with the interactions and animations.

https://boombocs.com/

Price Reductions

Last week we announced a 40% reduction in the price in our MVP package as well as a 20% reduction in our Website package.

We hope in some small way we can help people in this trying time. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask. [email protected]

* this offer is intended for basic website/landing page development. No 3rd party service integrations other than those offered by Webflow. Sorry.

What is the Difference Between Web Apps, Native Apps, Hybrid Apps and Progressive Web Apps for My SaaS App?

What’s the difference between Web Apps, Native Apps, Progressive Web Apps and what the hell are Hybrid Apps? In this article, we will discuss what each of these is and how you can build the SaaS app or platform of your dreams.

For those not interested in the details, here they are in a nutshell…

Web Apps – used by any browser on any system and is essentially a highly interactive, fluid and responsive website optimised for smartphone use. Must be connected to the internet at all times to work.

Native Apps –  One system or platform, such as Apple (iOS) or Android devices. They are downloaded directly to the handset and have access to native phone features like an accelerometer or the file system. You do not need internet access to use the app once the app has been downloaded.

Hybrid Apps (PWA) – Hybrid apps are built using web technologies in a wrapper framework like React Native. They can then be exported as native apps on any platform. They behave similar to native apps and don’t always require the internet to run.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) – PWA’s or Progressive Web Apps combine elements from both web and native apps, allowing users to download the web app to their phone and have limited access to native phone features. As long as the app takes advantage of certain features you do not need the internet to interact with these apps.

Now we have that out the way, let’s look into these in a little more detail!

In This Article, You’ll Learn

  • What are Web Apps, Native Apps, Progressive Web Apps and Hybrid Apps
  • What are the differences between Web Apps, Native Apps, Progressive Web Apps and Hybrid Apps
  • The Pro’s and Con’s of Web Apps, Native Apps, Progressive Web Apps and Hybrid Apps
  • How they are built
  • How can you learn to build an app yourself
  • How you can get them built for you

Apps vs Native vs Hybrid Apps vs Progressive Web Apps. WTF?!

We live in an incredibly connected world; in fact, most of us spend a good chunk of our lives using the internet. In fact, I can guarantee that you’re using the internet right now!

There are seemingly millions of ways that new customers can access the web, providing you with more and more opportunities to not only grow your business and have an impact on the world.

Mobile devices consistently demonstrate more powerful features that can give us all immediate access to not only social media, entertainment and search tools but even some web development apps as well; this is great news for brand new startups or online stores looking to build their very own SaaS product!

It makes sense then, that a large focus for businesses is to design fluid, easy to use and engaging apps that are deeply rooted in their users’ needs. Think back to the earlier iPhone campaigns which set the tone for the future generations: there’s an app for that. It holds true to this day; there really is an app for nearly everything!

In fact, there’s probably a few.

You’ve probably heard about ‘web apps’, ‘native apps’, ‘Progressive web apps’ and maybe even hybrid apps. A lot of people mistake these all as interchangeable terms, but this is just a somewhat common misconception – whilst they might be similar, web apps, native apps and hybrid apps all have very distinctive differences.

SaaS or Software as a Service is where these technologies shine. Building a product that can serve your customers in ways they cannot live without. Whether you’re building an app for your existing customers or you’re entering a new market with a new product and you intend on charging your customers a monthly fee so that you can build and scale and add additional features to make your SaaS app bigger and better.

Let’s take a look at what separates these from one another, and how YOU can use them to design interactive, responsive and engaging SaaS products, websites or apps to boost your natural traffic and sell more products.

What’s the difference?

Before we jump into examining the benefits of each different app or development technique, it’s helpful to understand the differences between each one.

Here’s an overview of what each app actually is:

Web Apps

By far the simplest way to build a SaaS app, a web app is developed to be used by any browser on any system and is essentially a highly interactive, fluid and responsive website optimised for smartphone use. A common example of a popular web app is www.facebook.com.

They are built primarily on the front-end nowadays (although not strictly true) in front-end JavaScript frameworks such as React, Vue or Angular. These reactive applications bring a lot of logic and interactivity to the browser and interact with API’s for business logic and data.

Web apps absolutely must be connected to the internet at all times to work, so they aren’t as accessible as mobile apps can be.

Native Apps

A native (or mobile) app is designed to be used specifically on one system or platform, such as Apple (iOS) or Android devices. You can, of course, build your app for each of these platforms if you have the budget.

They are downloaded directly to the handset via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, providing quick and easy access, though they are a different product to a web app. For example the facebook downloadable app.

Unlike web apps, native products do NOT need to be constantly connected to the internet. Whilst they will require updating (through a connection), they can still be used offline and eventually send and receive data when they get that glorious internet connection.

The term native simply means that the app is native to your smartphone or another device.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are a little more complicated – they effectively combine elements from both web and native apps, allowing developers and consumers alike to experience the ‘best of both worlds’.

In most cases, a hybrid app is simply a web app that’s been ‘repackaged’ into a native app shell. This will give your device the ease and convenience of a native app, with the connectivity and power of a web app.

Hybrid apps are typically built using web development technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript and then packaged and exported to work on multiple devices (iOS, Android). Some technologies you might be familiar with are React Native and Ionic.

Progressive Web App

A progressive app takes bits of web apps and native apps before merging them into an accessible web application that works both on and offline. They’re very similar to hybrid apps but they are not distributed through an app store.

Progressive apps actually run in the browser just like a normal web app, which means that users MAY need to have an internet connection to gain access to the app, though they won’t need to maintain an active connection as they use it. They can then be “saved” to the users’ phone, giving the app additional access to native capabilities.

Unlike hybrid apps, progressive apps don’t have to be included in an app store as they run in the browser – this doesn’t mean that they can’t be added to the app store, though!

PWAs work by storing information in a web browser’s cache – it can be later recalled for quick offline access from within the browser.

Taking a look at the pros and cons

As with anything else, there are a few pros and cons to web apps and native apps that you need to be aware of, especially if you’re planning on building a brand new product or service. You should choose whether to create a web, mobile or hybrid app based on the benefits of each, and the service that you wish to provide.

Here, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each app type, so that you can decide for yourself which one will be the most beneficial for your product.

Web Apps

The Pros

The main advantage of a web app is that it doesn’t need to be installed directly to the device like a native app does; you simply need to identify the web address (or domain name) and the web app will load straight into your browser.

Web apps are super-functional, as they can operate on a variety of web browsers, usually without the need for a user to install additional plugins or extensions. They can be just as functional on Firefox or Chrome via your desktop as they are using Safari on your iPhone! They are the easiest way for people to not only learn about your SaaS app but sign up there and then.

As web apps aren’t as specialised as their native counterparts, they’re much easier (and subsequently much cheaper) to build than a native SaaS app would be. They generally use a common codebase, regardless of what platform is used to access them, making it much easier to maintain them in the long-run.

Web apps can also be updated without any kind of app store as a middle layer between you and your customers. If you decide to roll out a feature, it’s a simple case of updating your website.

The Cons

Perhaps the biggest downfall to a web app is its inability to function offline; in order to work in any case, the user must have an active internet connection at all times. Web apps also tend to be noticeably slower as they access data from a server. They also have less attractive features than native mobile apps, which can really put potential users off.

Web apps also heavily depend on visitors already knowing about the service or being referred from another source – unlike native apps, they’re not listed in an ‘official’ database (app store, Google Play store, Amazon…), which can make them significantly less visible, meaning that it’s harder for you to build a reliable, returning audience.

Native Apps

The Pros

Unlike a web app, which requires constant internet access and a supported browser, a mobile (native) app can be installed directly onto the device. This means that users don’t need to always have a connection to access the app, though many apps do have features that require the use of the internet.

As native apps are installed directly onto your smartphone, they have access to system resources – this also makes them faster and more responsive. Native apps do have greater functions, too: they can access the unique features of your device, such as the camera or your location, to provide a better service.

Contrary to belief, native apps can also be easier to build than web apps, due to the abundance of quality developer tools. They combine intuitive, easy to follow and user-friendly interfaces with creative software developer kits to provide an outstanding amount of control over the app.

The Cons

The biggest con to using a native app is that it must be updated regularly by the user, otherwise, it can become defunct or out-dated. Providing regular updates can become costly, too, but is essential if you want to provide a smooth, easy-to-use service.

As a native app must be developed individually for each platform, it is much more expensive than building a web app. Just think – you’ll have to make apps for iOS and Android! Each of these will have different requirements, which often means that you’ll need to start from square one. Usually more than once.

Individual app stores also have different requirements that MUST be met in order to list your app – obtaining permission can be a lengthy (and costly) process.

Hybrid Apps

The Pros

The primary benefit of creating a hybrid app is the cost: you can develop what looks and feels like a native app, only at a fraction of the cost. This is because hybrid apps are web apps packaged in a native ‘shell’ – whilst a developer will need to ‘wrap’ the content in a native container, it will largely have the functionality and features of a web app.

Hybrid apps are also quicker to produce than native apps, making them a strong ‘middle ground’ for developers who don’t need to provide custom features and who need to release their app on a tight deadline.

Hybrid apps can utilise features that typically only a native app would, such as your system resources. This might give them the power to use your camera, emojis or other desirable features of the handset. They’re also built using one codebase (similar to web apps), allowing them to be quickly and easily ported to other operating systems.

If you already have a team of web developers, the learning curve is not too difficult to build hybrid apps.

The Cons

It’s important to remember that hybrid apps are essentially repurposed web apps – this means that they do require an internet connection at all times to be functional. As they don’t require a specific browser, however, they might not consume as much data as a full web app will!

Hybrid apps rely on plugins to make use of your device resources, unlike mobile apps which can obtain full access to your system – this means that whilst a hybrid app will be able to use certain device features, it might not have complete access to the system resources.

Similarly, developers may find that certain features of a hybrid app aren’t supported on every operating system, which will lead to potentially costly modifications in order to ensure the app’s functionality on every device.

Progressive Web App

The Pros

One of the better functions of a PWA is that it works in any supported browser, whilst providing quality offline access. They also load much quicker than traditional web apps, making a visitor much more likely to stick around or respond to your CTAs.

PWAs are also quicker (and easier) to build than many native mobile apps, due to the fact that they are built on a standard codebase in order to be compatible with a web browser. This gives PWAs the added benefit of being cross-platform compatible; you won’t need to redesign or recreate the app to ensure that it works just as well on an Android device as it does on an Apple counterpart.

PWAs also have access to features that a native web app would, which makes them incredibly accessible, fluid and easy to use.

The Cons

A progressive web app might sound like a perfect solution: the benefits and perks of a native app, with the codebase and cost of a web app. There are a couple of things that you do need to be aware of though, especially if you’re planning on creating a new app for your business.

The biggest downfall to PWAs is that they don’t have access to all of your system resources, meaning that a native app may still be required. This is only something that you need to consider, though, if you actually need to make use of the native device features.

PWA’s can also be a massive drain to a user’s battery. They are much more demanding than both web apps and native apps, so users may not use the app for as long as they would use a mobile or web version.

They generally provide a less personal response to app users, as they can’t access things such as your contacts, device Bluetooth, proximity sensors or wake lock.

What’s Next?

Hopefully from this information, you can determine which is best for your SaaS app idea. As you can see there are many pro’s and cons and a lot to take into consideration when developing an app idea.

SaaS apps do tend to leverage each of these technologies in time but may not be wise to invest in them all when you are just starting out. If you do want to deliver your app on a variety of platforms just consider what the user will expect from each experience and provide that experience on the given platform (which may vary from each version of your app).

By far the simplest way to deliver a SaaS app is as a web app. You can build these fairly cheaply and begin testing your product on your users to verify its importance. In time, it’s easy to port this into a hybrid app or a PWA. In time, when you have the ball rolling it might be great to then invest in a native app with all the bells and whistles users come to expect.

Once again though, only go down the route of native if you truly need the sort of features only available to native apps and your SaaS app will benefit heavily from it.

How Are Apps Built?

There are all sorts of ways that an app can be built; it largely depends on whether you’re making a web app or a native app, or what platform you’re actually designing the app for.

Web apps are arguably the easiest to make, as they don’t require specialist tools or systems. Web apps are built using a coding language – there are so many books and tutorials on learning to code, making web apps a much more accessible alternative to mobile apps.

There isn’t a ‘standard’ code used to design web apps, though it’s commonly JavaScript, CSS, HTML or even a mixture of any or all three. Templates for each coding ‘language’ are available, either from a developer’s personal library or as an online download.

Mobile apps are much more specific, which is why they are regarded as being harder to build and more expensive. They don’t necessarily need to take longer, but they do require specialist knowledge or even a specific set of developer tools.

IDE’s

If you were to build a native app, you would require an IDE or Integrated Development Environment. Don’t be put off by this; it’s not as technical as it sounds.

An IDE will be specific to the intended release platform – it’s a development environment that’s been integrated for use with a specific OS, such as iOS or Android. A great (and free) one is Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.

Apple apps are put together using Objective-C or Swift (which are both coding languages), alongside an IDE called Xcode.

Android apps are built using Java (like certain web or hybrid apps), though there are multiple IDEs available for Android apps. One such popular one would be IntelliJ.

Remember, there’s more to developing an app than code. A team is needed to really build a SaaS app that will last and each team member adds just one piece of the puzzle to build an app.

It helps to start to think about your branding. You may already have this in place and it will no doubt play a part in your SaaS app.

UX Design

UX stands for User Experience and it’s the cornerstone to how your users navigate your app. User Experience plays many roles. It can encourage a particular action from your user purely by its layout and composition, even the wording or copywriting can have this effect which all comes under the umbrella of UX. Don’t assume that a UX Designer can copywrite but copywriting will play a part in developing user journey’s.

It can also take into account how to make things easier and intuitive for your users which, in turn, makes for happy customers that return time and time again.

UI Design

UI design or ‘The Design’ of your app is the layer on top of the UX. Think of the UX Design of your app as the skeleton and then the UI design as the skin. 

Once again, UI design can play a role in encouraging user actions but it relies heavily on the user research and understanding that UX plays.

The UI design also respects and understands your brand and visual language.

How Can I Learn To Build an App Myself?

You might be wondering how you can learn to be an app developer yourself. If you are, we say go for it; it’s an invaluable and highly sought-after skill. You’ve got nothing to lose!

You need to be prepared to invest a LOT of time into learning how to code an app, but don’t worry – there are plenty of options available to you.

Many people choose to use the internet to learn – it might seem like old news now, but there’s an app for that!

Just have a look at your app store, and I’m sure you’ll find a learning tool that works for you. Alternatively, you can use online resources such as Lynda and YouTube to provide tailored tutorials depending on what you want to achieve.

There’s an assortment of books available, too – the ‘Dummy’ series is a great entry point for beginner coders looking to build their skills.

Just remember, as, with any skill, it’s important to keep practising. Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither were any of the apps you use on a daily basis.

Keep pushing, and you’ll be seeing results in no time.

What Should I Look For In An App Development Agency?

If learning how to code doesn’t seem like something you have time for you can, of course, outsource your app development. There are many design and development agencies out there that can either do it all or specialise in SaaS app development and SaaS product development.

Hopefully, this article will make you far more informed about what kind of agency to look out for.

It’s so important to know that unless you have a firm understanding of your users and how to study and build on their behaviours then your app development agency must be proficient in UX and offer this as part of their service or at least some form of knowledge in it.

Same for design. You can again have a crack at designing your SaaS app yourself but UI and UX are so closely intertwined that just because your app looks great, does not mean it will convert customers. Having an agency that can design is crucial.

Ongoing maintenance

Once your SaaS app is live, you’ll need to make sure you have an in-house team to support it if it goes down. You’ll also need them to build features because in this fast-paced world, as you gain users with different needs you’ll want to monitor and cater to those needs.

Your SaaS app can’t stay stagnant. Users expect new features and they expect to be heard so building a product is a huge investment in both time and resources. If you’re not looking to build out an in-house team to maintain the product, make sure your agency is offering the maintenance to keep the money flowing and your users happy.

Conclusion

So there we have it. Hopefully, this article has not only taught you what the difference is between Web apps, Native apps, Hybrid apps and Progressive Web Apps but we’ve also touched on how you can go about learning these technologies. We should have also subsequently helped you understand how you can build your own SaaS application and what to look out for in others building your application.

The final piece to the puzzle is designing an awesome landing page that actually demonstrates how awesome your product is so why not check out our article on how to design an effective landing page.

Our parting thought is to make sure you’re building apps that enrich the lives of your customers and help them become better people. Listen to their needs, build a tool that works for them and this will help you succeed with your SaaS app or product.

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.

Download Now: How to Launch an Awesome Tech Brand – A Step-by-step guide to building a brand.

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. 

Download Now: How to Launch an Awesome Tech Brand – A Step-by-step guide to building a brand.

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.

10 Steps 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!

Why Is Branding Essential for a Tech Startup in 2020? 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.

Download Now: How to Launch an Awesome Tech Brand – A Step-by-step guide to building a brand.

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.

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.

Image result for biotech logo
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.

Image result for biotech logo
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.

Image result for biotech logo
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.

What colours should you use for your biotech company’s branding?

In this post, I want to dig into biotech branding and some advice on how best to use colour.

Originally included in this article was a comprehensive explaination of colour theory and colour psychology but we’ve since broken that out into it’s own article.

In this article, we discuss:

  1. What is biotechnology?
  2. Bringing colour theory into your biotech branding
  3. A final word

What is biotechnology?

If biotech is a new field to you then it would be useful to start in understanding what it is. Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to make some kind of product and it’s a branch of applied life sciences. It’s a fairly new association but biotech as a study goes back thousands of years. Biotechnology isn’t just healthcare and medicines though. It extends much further than that and often referred to as a “rainbow” making the topic of biotech branding and “colour” a bit more tricky. So what are the different types of biotech?

Red biotechnology

Red biotechnology (Biopharma) mainly revolves around pharmaceutical and medicine. Producing vaccines and antibiotics, developing new drugs, molecular diagnostics techniques, regenerative therapies and development of genetic engineering. It utilises organisms to improve health and fight diseases.

Green biotechnology

Green biotechnology is the use of genetically altered plants or animals to produce more environmentally friendly farming solutions as an alternative to existing methods.

Yellow biotechnology

Yellow biotechnology is known as “biotechnology with insects”. It’s a modern agriculture branch related to food production where insects are used for research or application in agriculture and medicine. Yellow completing the primary colour trinity of biotech (Red – Animals, Green – Plants).

White biotechnology/Grey biotechnology

Industrial biotechnology refers to the use of living cells and/or their enzymes to create industrial products. They are more easily degradable, require less energy, create less waste during production and sometimes perform better than products created using traditional chemical processes.

Blue Biotechnology

Blue biotechnology has been assigned to aquaculture, coastal and marine biotech. Blue biotech is more of a field that makes use of marine bioresources as the source of biological applications.

Other colours

Gold – Bioinformatics, computer science
Brown – Biotechnology of dessert and dry regions
Violet – Law, ethics and philosophy
Dark – Bioterrorism, biological warfare

Bringing colour theory into your biotech branding

The importance of colour in your biotech branding cannot be understated. It can be a powerful tool to invoke emotion and behaviours. Having the right strategy for your biotech branding can also attract a certain type of customer and its because of these associations and emotions that we have discussed in this article. The effect colours can have with each other is an important fact to consider so bear this in mind. With this knowledge of colour theory and biotechnology together, we can look into how we can utilise this in your biotech branding, your logo and your marketing efforts.

I think it’s safe to assume cool colours like green, blue and purple are a great option for biotech branding. Maturity, trust, calming and health are all connotations with these colours. As we’ve explained, this is not a hard and fast rule though it is a helpful guide. It’s important to know your brand’s values and your brand promise and work this into your logo or branding. Also, knowing the different areas of biotech, you could use this as a nod to the scientific field of study. It could also be a fun way of accenting the logo.

We believe great biotech branding and brand name revolves around the underlying values and benefits of your product or service. Thinking about colour in the same way and not necessarily using direct associations gives it the flexibility to move with trends. It also commits to a deeper brand story. We go into this more in our article on how to build an awesome tech brand in 2019.

A final word

Realising the importance that brand development can have on your biotech branding is more important than ever. Getting it right may have an impact in determining the success of your product. We work with these types of things in mind and are particularly passionate about revolutionary products that set to enhance peoples lives. Connecting to these customers with consistent brand messaging and appealing to them commercially will inevitably have an impact on the adoption of your product. Looking at other recent acquisitions, a lot of smaller biotech companies are being backed by larger companies in the same field. Seeking a strong brand which appeals to these scenarios is another way to look at the investment of a good brand.

Read our blog on how to build an awesome tech brand if you’re looking for more valuable info!

How to stand out – 13 tips to building an awesome tech brand [updated for 2020]

We’re about to discuss how you can start building an awesome tech brand that stands out in the industry. Let’s start by addressing some common misconceptions about what a brand actually is.

If you’re interested in reading why branding is essential as a tech startup, check out our recent article on that.

  1. Understanding What is “Brand”
  2. Positioning
  3. Your Cause
  4. Your Values
  5. Develop User Personas
  6. Logo
  7. Name
  8. Colour
  9. Typography
  10. Tone-of-voice
  11. Photography
  12. Website
  13. Graphical elements
  14. Next Steps

The Groundwork

Understanding What is “Brand”

The word ‘brand’ was derived from farmers marking their cattle with a logo or trademark so that they would be recognised as their own. From this, you might infer that your logo or trademark is synonymous with your brand but this isn’t really the case these days.

The word brand has evolved into something far more intangible than that. Your brand is what’s described by the great Marty Neumeier as, “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organisation.”. This translates as any touchpoint your customer has with your services that convey an idea, feeling or promise to them.

Your brand includes your logo but also your customer service, the way you answer the phone, the design of your website and even where you position yourself in the market! At any point your customer comes into contact with you is an opportunity to convey a consistent and relevant image of who you are and what you stand for. In the same way, your brand should be easily identifiable but as you’ll learn, being identifiable is the sum of many attributes. If you’re interested to learn more, we speak about this in our blog post about what Brand Strategy is.

So given this, how do you start to build your tech brand? Here at Jupiter and the Giraffe we follow a tried and tested process that enables us to understand your unique proposition, even if you don’t quite know what that is yet.

Positioning

If you’re speaking to everyone then, unfortunately, you’re speaking to no one. Understanding your place in the market not only allows you to hone in on your understanding of your brand, but it also makes good business sense as you’re the one person to go to for that specific problem. If they recognise you as the industry leader then you will become the business to approach for that particular problem. There are many types of positioning strategies that you can employ.

Types of Positioning Strategies for your tech brand

  • Product features/benefits
  • Price
  • Quality

Features/Benefits

You may wish to position yourself based on your features or benefits. If you’re a service it may be the services you offer. Although this should play a part in your tech brand positioning, we wouldn’t recommend this as the chances you are offering something completely new are relatively low.

Price

Price is another way you can segment yourself. High price often portrays high quality, notice I say “portrays” – just because you offer a high priced product doesn’t necessarily equate to high quality. There are examples where this tactic works but it’s a risky game to play. It’s not just your product that should deliver but everything around it should warrant that high price. With a high price comes high expectations.

Quality

Similarly to price, there are certain associations that come with positioning yourselves based on quality, but once again this doesn’t necessarily mean high quality, high price. As technology becomes faster and less expensive organisations are able to offer great quality at low prices.

An exercise you might like to run is to map out your competitors on a chart and where they sit on the price/quality spectrum. The chart may look something like this…

If you’re at the beginning of your journey, this is a great place to start but in some cases, this might call for a reposition. There have been cases of very successful reposition by tech brands through developments in the marketplace or an intentional shift into a new market. Repositioning should forever be a consideration for any business looking to lead in the market. This requires listening and being aware of shifts and developments and having a proactive rather than reactive mindset.

Understanding your position in the market

Understanding your position in the market via your offering is one small part to consider. At Jupiter and the Giraffe we’re big advocates of the Onliness Statement (once again developed by Marty Neumeier). The Onliness Statement gets you to not only think about what it is you do but also why you do it. We wrote a blog post about what an Onliness Statment is so we wont repeat ourselves, but essentially it looks like this;

[Company Name] is THE ONLY (category)
THAT (differentiation characteristic)
FOR (customer)
IN (market geography)
WHO (need state)
DURING (underling trend)

For context, Harley Davidsons is as follows…

Harley Davidson The ONLY motorcycle manufacturer
THAT makes big, loud motorcycles
FOR macho guys (and macho “wannabees”)
mostly IN the United States
WHO wants to join a gang of cowboys
DURING an era of decreasing personal freedom

You must fill in the blanks but as you can see there are several areas that drill further and further into your niche. This represents your promise to your customers. Your tech brand should live and breath this promise with every touchpoint going forward and will likely play a key role when we get to actually creating your brand assets. This is a great exercise in further understanding your position in the market. Pay close attention to the “Underlying trend” as this helps you clarify your purpose.

We developed a FREE tool you can use to create your own onliness statement here.

Your Cause

People are much more socially aware nowadays and your brand needs to reflect this. This is why you need to ask why your brand exists and what do you contribute to society. This is bigger than just providing you product or service, it needs to serve a bigger purpose. Luckily, we’ve written a whole article on this. Why Do You Matter? The Cause Branding.

Your Values

Here at Jupiter and the Giraffe we have only 3 values as we want them to remain concise, clear and easy to follow. They are Creative, Inspiring, Impactful. Creative – because we want to be known for not only building practical web apps but also beautiful. Inspiring – because we want the work we do to inspire others to do things even better than before and to push humanity forward and finally impactful. We want the work we do to have an impact on the world, not only in the way we execute but the product itself needs to serve a higher purpose.

Choose 3 – 5 words which you can live by and keep you on track and inspired

Patagonia’s values

Develop User Personas

With all that done, you should have a strong idea about who you are and why you do what you do. Next, you must begin to think about your customers as after all, without your customers your business will fail.

Why user personas?

The reason why you need to think about your customers when it comes to your tech brand is down to relatability. You need to understand your users so that you are able to engage with them in a way that they can understand. Use the same tone-of-voice that they might expect whilst solving any problems they might have.

Having user personas also gives you a person (albeit make-believe) to resolve all conflicts that may arise between you and your colleagues around a decision, design choice or feature of your tech brand. Resolving the conflict by asking what would X want, instead of what do we want. The way we do this is developing user personas. If you’ve never heard of a user persona before then quite simply it’s a make-believe person that represents a customer (or a desired customer). Personas can be based on your real customers if you have them and one persona can contain many attributes of different customers. It’s ok to generalise here but the result should be specific and represent one user.

If you find that you’re not targeting the right customers (another reason for a rebrand) then we believe it’s useful to create a single person based on a customer that you would like to be serving. You may even want to conduct actual market research to generate these user persona’s if you don’t already have a customer base. User Personas are most effective when they’re derived from real data so if you have it, use it.

The most important aspect of these personas should be the problems or pain-points that they are experiencing. This is key to making sure you’re serving that customer for a specific reason.

How many personas should I create?

The number of user personas you create really shouldn’t exceed four. Beyond this, you start to lose clarity and focus and your tech brand will end up appealing to no one. Your user persona should, of course, contain a name. Use a photo of someone you feel best encapsulates the person in your mind so that you can bring this person to life. You can then look at the demographic of your customer – age, sex, where they are from, how much they earn, what they do for a living. You can even find this data out on Google Analytics if you have it installed on your website!

Make a note of their archetype e.g. “Messy creative” or “Neat and tidy musician”. If you’re struggling to be creative then definitely check out the most common archetypes. You can then look at their personalities. This helps us make assumptions about how they might react in different scenarios. Go into as much depth as you feel is necessary.

Brand Assets/Identity

With all that said, that’s just the groundwork to developing your tech brand. It’s important to know who you are, why you are different, who you serve and why you serve them. Understanding your promise and the values you hold is essentially your brand, just make sure you stick to this idea no matter what. We’re now going to talk about what we believe every new business should have. These are known as ‘brand assets’ and are what are typically confused as a brand. Your brand identity is the face of your business and should reinforce the values and emotions that you identified in the previous steps.

Logo

No surprise here, you need a logo and for us, a good logo is one that addresses more than representing what you do. Your logo should be a manifestation as to the why you do what you do. For example, having a cloud computing business called “Cloud9” and your logo being nine clouds may look great (it won’t, nine is way too many clouds) but this shows that not much thought has gone into your logo and is a missed opportunity to connect with the right audience and create a logo with depth. On a piece of paper, start jotting down words that come to mind when you think about your business. Try and think about your values and words that represent these values. It’s ok to think about what you do but the aim is to keep it abstract. We go in-depth about how to design a logo in another post.

Name

Name?! Yes, name! Once again, your name is a touchpoint with your customer. Why not take all that we have learned from discussing your business, your customers and your values and come up with a name that reflects that. It’s always fascinating when you discover the story behind the name and when there’s more than meets the eye. Coming up with a name can be an artform in itself so take that time to really think about it.

Colour

Colours invoke emotion so play on colour psychology. We’ve written a post about colour psychology. It’s not always the same on every continent so be conscious of your market and use colours that represent your values and make sure they mean the right things in the right regions. Have at least two colours. One primary that you’ll use almost everywhere and a secondary that compliments it.

Use a tool like Adobe Colour to help you figure out what colours work well together. Note down the HEX value, RGB and, if possible the Pantone and make sure that these are the only colours used whenever you create anything. There’s nothing worse than seeing 15 different shades of blue. Here’s Jupiter and the Giraffe’s Colour Palette:

Jupiter and the Giraffe’s Colour Palette

Typography

Typography is important too and you’ll want to have at least two typographic families or variants for maximum flexibility. The first is typically used for headers and possibly makes an appearance in the logo (look at Jupiter and the Giraffes “KG Summertime Storm” font) the other main font is for generic body copy. You’ll want something that is easily legible.

There are some examples where the font looks pretty but is impossible to read. Don’t make this same mistake and ask people if they can read your font. Broadly, fonts can invoke meaning.

You might consider serif (fonts with little feet at the ends of the letters) as formal. Legal businesses or banks may choose to use this font. Sans-serif fonts (without ‘feet’) are more modern. If you’re at the stage where you’re putting your own tech brand together, go for a font that you like or check out some recommended font pairings from sites such as Google fonts. Large organisations often design their own fonts and obviously, this is out of reach for most businesses starting out as it’s expensive.

There are situations where you may need more fonts but don’t overcomplicate things at this stage and only use two at one time. Just be warned, there’s no escaping the rabbit hole that is choosing a font!

Tone-of-voice

Finally, one thing very few businesses think about when they first start their company is their tone-of-voice. Think about it, groups of friends often use the same words and speak in a similar way so your business should also speak in a way that your customers find relatable. Your tone should further imply the values of your brand and what you say should be understood by the right people. Make your employees aware so that when they are engaging with potential clients, they are speaking in this same way too.

Tone-of-voice is where your tech brands personality shines. It’s where you’re really engaging with your customers and not just any customers, the right customers. Think of three words that best summarise your business if it was a person and use these to develop your tone.

Next steps

So we’ve breezed over how a company starting out can create it’s brand and start to develop its bare-minimum brand identity. We hope to release many more in-depth articles on the individual assets so look out for those but this should be enough to get you going.

A few more helpful things you could work on as a next step that equally portray your brand are…

Photography

Choose the photos you use wisely. This is an often overlooked aspect of your brand. What should be the subject of your photos? Should there be people in your photo? What are they wearing? Showing images of the people you expect to use your product is a great, easy way for people to feel affiliated with your brand. Also you may think more creatively and think of the style of the photography. The treatment of your photography should be the same in order to create consistency.

Website

Every business needs a website. It’s the shop window to your product or service. Here, your brand assets will exist throughout the design of your site alongside any photography and the tone of voice you’ve established. Your website should encapsulate almost everything about your brand so don’t let this slip. Templates are great to get you started but when your brand evolves its important to move onto something more bespoke. Contact us if you’re in the market for a website.

Graphical elements

Graphic elements can be as small or large as you deem fit. Little flourishes peppered throughout your design is a great way to identify your brand. Think of these like a birth mark that is unmistakably yours and have fun with them! Maybe this is something taken from your logo or something different entirely but make it relevant.

Wrap up

So there we are, you’ve just had a crash course in what a brand actually is and what it isn’t. Understanding your business and how it’s different, identifying the promise it’s making to its customers and having that shine through makes up your brand identity. Invest in the time to think about your brand assets and make them more meaningful than just something that reflects what you do – make it something about why you do what you do. We capture all the necessary elements in our Brand Strategy workshop which enables us to create an amazing brand. You can read more about what brand strategy is in our blog.