The Simplest Brand Health Question For Your Startup

For most startups, a website or mobile app is the primary place to establish and reinforce a brand, a critical part of building a valuable company. But brand health tends to be a hand-wavy, amorphous concept.

A founder and head of marketing at a company I worked with posed this simple but brilliant question to concretely gauge brand health:

If you removed the logo from the website/mobile app, could our customers identify the experience as ours?

Below are three photos. One of a mobile app, one of a web app and one of a store designed to trigger the question, without a logo, can I identify the company who designed this experience?

Mobile App Branding

Which app produced this photo?

Instagram, no question. The distinctive filters are synonymous with the product and so distinctive, consumers identify most filtered photos as Instas.

tumblr_m99uloIMzS1r1thfzo3_1280.jpg

Web App Branding

Who operates each one of these search engines? Click to enlarge the photo. ScreenCapture at Wed Oct 9 05:28:55 PDT 2013.png

If you said Google on the left and Bing on the right, you’re correct. But for most, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate the two product experiences which may be by design on Bing’s part. By emulating Google’s pages, Microsoft misses the opportunity to cultivate a different brand experience for search in users' minds.

Experience Branding

How about this store? Whose is it?

fifthavenue_gallery_image5.jpg

No logos anywhere, but it’s clearly an Apple Store.

Your Startup

Cover your website or mobile app’s header. Can you tell if your product is your own? And your employees? Or your customers?

Published 2013-10-09 in Startups  Marketing 


Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


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