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Branding for Startups: Brand Identity and Website Conversion

Learn about the importance of a visual brand identity, how to build a brand, and tips on how to create a high-conversion website.

In today’s competitive market, effective branding is essential for startups. Your brand is your identity and it's also what sets you apart from the competition. Moreover, it’s what allows you to communicate your story and build trust with your target audience and customers. 

Branding should play a key part in your marketing strategy because it’s how you present your business to the outside world. Having clear and consistent messaging that resonates with your audience should be a top priority.

Unforgettable branding is of great importance for any startup leader. Your brand not only represents your unique voice and personality, it’s what makes you recognizable. It’s also what makes you more visible to your target audience and is an important factor in customer loyalty. 

Your brand can also help you become more visible to potential customers, investors, and partners. A successful branding strategy will give your startup a competitive edge and increase the likelihood of your success.


In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of creating a visual brand identity, how to build a brand, and how to create a high-conversion website for your startup.

What is a brand (and what isn’t?) 

When you think of a brand, your first thought is probably of its name or logo, but as HubSpot for Startups Principal Brand and Content Strategist Ron Dawson explains, a brand is a lot more than just its visual elements. While a logo is something physical, a brand is actually an experience.

Think about how you feel when you hear a specific brand name. What comes to mind? For example, you might associate a brand with “having great customer service” or “being known for donating proceeds to charity.” 

A successful brand is one that creates an emotional impact on its customers. It’s the image customers have when they think of a business, which is why it’s so important to be both strategic and intentional when defining your brand.

Ultimately, branding is the process of determining what image or idea you want to portray to your target audience—hopefully leaving them with a positive impression of your company.

What a brand is not

People are often unaware of the difference between a logo and a brand. A logo is what makes your brand recognizable, as it’s a visual representation that reflects your brand’s identity, but it’s not what “defines” your brand. Think of your logo as your visual identity, and your brand as your strategy. 

A brand is not a product, a service, an advertisement, or anything that can be purchased by a customer in exchange for money. Your positioning statement, tagline, and website are also not a brand. 

That being said, the visual identity you create for your brand will help communicate to your audience what your overall brand is. Therefore, having a strong visual identity will help you stand out when presenting your startup to investors.

The importance of a visual brand identity 

When you think of a brand like Nike, you probably associate it with the “swoosh” logo—because it’s easy to recognize and is unique to the brand. Creating a visual brand identity that is both distinguishable and memorable is what will make your brand stand out from the competitors. 

A visual identity can be described as the visual representation of a brand and may include your logo, colors, graphics, and more. That’s why it’s important that your visual identity be consistent across your digital landscape (emails, social media, website, storefront, etc.).

When you create a strong visual identity, you are building a brand that is distinguishable and unforgettable. Your goal should be to stand out from the competition and show customers why they should choose your brand over another—hence having a memorable visual identity is a key part of branding your startup. 

The benefits

The following are among the many benefits of developing a strong visual brand identity:

  • Brand recognition: When you employ consistent visuals and messaging across your platforms, customers can more easily identify and find your brand.
  • Emotional connection: Your visual identity can help customers connect with your brand emotionally—recognizing a brand typically leads to increased spending.
  • Brand trust: When your visual identity is distinct and well-crafted, it will increase brand awareness and credibility. When customers are more aware of a brand and feel they are trustworthy, they’re more likely to make a purchase. 
  • Differentiation: A well-designed visual identity can differentiate you from the competitors and allow you to showcase what makes your brand truly unique.

How to build a brand 

If you are building a brand for your startup from scratch, it’s not a bad idea to team up with a professional branding agency. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to successful branding, and subject matter experts will have the resources and skills needed to create an effective brand strategy.

If as a startup you don’t yet have the resources to hire a full-blown agency, here are some insights to get you started. Building a brand typically involves a combination of strategy, identity, and marketing. The following steps will help you develop a strong brand image that will help differentiate you from the competition: 

Determine your audience

Brainstorm who your target audience is (age, race, gender, location, occupation, etc.). Consider creating a customer profile or buyer persona to help you determine what type of person your brand will appeal to and what their typical purchasing habits are. 

Conduct competitor research

It’s always a good idea to research what your competitors in the market are doing. Look at how they’re marketing their business online so you can develop unique differentiators that will help make your brand stand out. 

Identify your brand mission

You should start by writing a mission statement that aligns with your vision and core values. Identify what your position is in the market and what solution your product or service provides. 

Develop a brand voice

Think of the voice of your brand as its personality. Your brand voice should be consistent across all of your digital communication (emails, website, social media, product pages, etc.). By identifying the personality of your target audience, you’ll be able to match your brand voice to that same sentiment, such as sincerity or excitement, for example. 

Craft a tagline

Having a memorable slogan or tagline can go a long way to helping you 1) summarize your mission, and 2) be memorable. It’s typically the first thing that comes to a customer’s mind (outside of the logo). For example, people associate Nike with their slogan, “Just Do It,” and Allstate with “You're in good hands.” HubSpot’s “grow better” encapsulates our commitment to helping SMBs and SMEs successfully grow their business in a way that does not compromise their values. 

Craft a compelling logo

Your logo is one of the first things that your customers will see and typically, what they’ll associate with your brand. Carefully select the color scheme for your logo because you’ll want to incorporate that same color palette into all of your marketing efforts for consistency. The font and imagery you choose should match your brand personality. Again, this is where professional help could come in handy (but we have a solution for you below that you may find helpful as an alternative).

Create a style guide

The top brands all have style guides that they adhere to because they integrate a consistent look and feel across all of their marketing efforts. Your brand’s unique voice and personality should be represented in all of your digital communication—unifying your online presence across all platforms. 

Select a memorable name

This is a pretty important step when building a brand because you want to select a name that will both resonate with your audience and be memorable. Make sure that it’s not too similar to competitors in the market. 

Improving Website Conversion 

Your website will be one of the most significant ways in which you convey your brand story to the world. Copy, imagery, UX/UI design, and functionality all play a significant role. However someone lands on your site, once there, every part of it should contribute to driving some form of conversion. 

Conversion is considered any high-value action such as getting in touch, making a purchase, or filling out a form. Potential customers are more likely to convert if your site is designed for conversion and optimization. 

In order to improve website conversion, you’ll want to employ the following key principles when building your site:

Create a clear home page

The homepage of your site is where you will initially greet and orient your visitors. You have just a few seconds to grab their attention, so it’s important that the page is easy to navigate and that you provide a user-friendly experience. 

Prioritize your goals

On any given page, think about what the primary CTA or call to action is for visitors. What are the key steps in the purchasing journey? Be sure to walk visitors through the buying process by employing simple site and page navigation. You want this to be a smooth journey for your customers.

Share the buyer journey

There is power in social proof. Share customer testimonials that show they were happy with the buying experience and process overall. Consider creating an infographic that walks customers through the buyer journey or sharing a customer case study on your site. 

Incorporate clickable CTAs

When using Calls to Action (CTAs) on your website, they should be bright, clear, easy to find, and most importantly, clickable. CTAs can be an effective tool to drive potential customers further down the sales funnel. The more visible they are, the better. For instance, you could make it a sticky bar or banner above the fold or in the menu. An example would be “Sign up for our newsletter.” You’ll also want to track which CTAs work best. (The HubSpot CMS in the Marketing Hub is an excellent tool for tracking CTA engagement).

Remove any friction

In simple terms, this means providing a good customer service experience that will help visitors more easily make a buying decision. Display clear, consistent color palettes and fonts, bright images, charts, etc. to make the process easy to navigate. When a customer has a positive experience on your site, it builds trust in your brand, and they will be more likely to purchase from you again in the future. 

Conduct A/B testing

One of the most effective ways to improve your conversion rate is by regularly conducting A/B testing, also known as split testing. A/B testing compares the performance of two versions of content and measures which version (A) or (B) will appeal most to your audience.

This will allow you to see which content is performing best across your website and all landing pages, and most importantly, which content is yielding the greatest conversion. 

Learn more about building the perfect homepage for high conversion in this video:

In conclusion

Branding your startup plays an important part in the success of your business. When you create a strong and consistent brand identity, you are more likely to create a positive impression with your customers, while building loyalty and trust—ultimately leading to increased conversion and more sales. 

Having a successful brand identity will also put you at the forefront of your industry and help differentiate you from the competitors. It demonstrates your credibility and will more than likely contribute to your longevity in the market.

Ready to get started? Join HubSpot for Startups and receive our Branding Blueprint guide for free. As a member, you’ll also have access to our software, powerful brand-building tools, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Let us help you take your startup to the next level.

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