When you’re an early stage company — your brand is everything.

Branding is so fundamental to a startup because it encompasses more than a name and a logo — it’s the way your company is perceived by customers and other companies. It also affects the way people connect with your company or product.

As an early stage company, having a well-developed branding strategy makes it easier for people to understand who you are and what you’re about until they start to really know your product. Having a solid brand ensures you can get through to potential customers. Here are a few pointers for entrepreneurs who are getting started on branding their startups.

Pick a name or logo that your customers can connect with.

As Mydoma is a tool for interior designers, we needed to ensure that our logo was visually-appealing and clean-looking. We also knew we wanted to go with a one-word name so it would be catchy and memorable. When brainstorming names with a friend, she mentioned doma, which means ‘home’ in a few different languages. We began to add prefixes and suffixes and eventually came up with ‘mydoma’ which means ‘my home.’ Fortunately, the name resonates with designers and because of that, they intrinsically know what our product does.

Consider as many options as possible before settling on a final logo and name.

Entrepreneurs should spend a lot of time completing initial research and sketches — lots of brainstorming is required throughout the branding process. When designing Mydoma’s logo, we thought about the colours very carefully. We chose orange to reflect affordability, as our product is aimed at independent interior designers. We picked blue to convey trustworthiness and reliability. Every detail of your startup’s image and “voice” should be carefully considered and planned out.

Get feedback from family and friends who understand your product and company vision.

Based on my experience, I would recommend that founders consult with family and friends — this brainstorming process is important as it will provide you with instant feedback and ultimately make the process of choosing a name more efficient. I would stick to one-word names — a long convoluted one is a lot harder to remember.

Invest both money and research when designing your logo.

Throughout the design process, creating some preliminary logo sketches is also helpful in order to brainstorm ideas. I would then invest in a professional graphic designer who can refine your design concept and put the finishing touches on it. Avoid purchasing inexpensive logos online as you could run into legal issues in the future.

The nature of the space you’re in will influence your startup’s look and name. Therefore, it’s key to research and fully understand your industry and the demographic your product serves. This can be done by examining relevant competitors, professional associations and industry groups.