How to create a meaningful brand that will scale your startup – Denny Kurien

We all know Branding is a crucial component of any Business or Startups, In todays’ taalk we are happy to have Denny Kurien. Denny runs a branding & design agency based in Toronto, called “Rayvn Design” (http://rayvn.io) … His clients are mostly founders of startups, or subject-matter experts who run their own consultancy. He helps them with their brand strategy, brand identity design, and give them the social media content strategy to market their services on their own. It’s a complete turn-key solution. We are glad to interview him and get great insights on the startup branding. Here’s our digital conversation –

Hi Denny! Great to have you at taalk. As we know majority of the startups operate with a tight budget, So Why do you think its important for startups to invest in brand building? and when should they start investing?

They should only invest in brand building once they are able to see a proof of concept that they have a viable business model. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. We only work with startups that have a proven business model, and gone through seed funding round – our minimum level of engagement for branding a business starts at US $13K

Great! What inspired you personally to get into branding? How you connected your Dots?

I actually went to university to study Computer Science (coming from a family of IT professionals). I spent most of my childhood playing computer games, and I was fascinated by the evolving graphics. However, when I went to the University of Denver, I found Computer Science to be way too technical, and lacked that creative aspect that I craved. So I dropped out from that major. I then heard that the School of Arts had a Graphic Design program. I signed up for that, and then really got into corporate branding. I worked at various creative studios and ad agencies, from a Designer, to an Art-Director, and finally a Creative Director. In 2018, I left the creative agency world to start my own branding & design studio with my wife (who is also a creative). Our studio is called Rayvn Design, and our clients are small business consultants, and subject matter experts who run their own professional service firms

What is so unique about your Branding Strategy and Process from rest of the world?

Great question! We operate differently from other brand strategy & design firms, in the sense that we have “productized” our services. We don’t do custom quotes or send in long proposals – instead before we begin our engagement on any project, we ask our clients to first buy our brand discovery & strategy package which we sell for US $2000. Once we complete the brand strategy phase, and our clients want to continue working with us – they can choose from 3 tiers of branding and design packages which we offer (US $13K, $30K, and $75K). Each package will have a certain set of deliverables based on the scope of work. Also all payments are paid upfront before project begins – this ensures that we deliver the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, and it’s very clear from the get-go, on what is expected.

Can you taalk about any interesting case studies where you have transformed a customer’s business through your branding strategy?

Yes. Normand PLLC – a law firm based in Orlando, Florida, consisting of 11 attorneys approached Rayvn Design to do a rebranding. They felt that their current brand was bit dusty & staid, and not getting the attention it deserved. During our Brand Discovery & Strategy session, we found out that what they are really good at is winning class-action lawsuits against large conglomerates. We also learned that their primary target audience are judges and other referring lawyers (as opposed to everyday people). The brand archetype for Normand was that of “The Maverick” (the rebel) – so we positioned them as a small but fearless law firm, who goes after the large guys and wins .. almost a David vs. Goliath analogy. The bold logotype we created in combination with black and orange color-palette, made the Normand brand striking and hard to ignore. We also had the founder, Ed Normand’s face displayed right on the header of the website – because he was exactly that kind of Maverick personality, who was leading his firm. All the attorneys were photographed professionally against an orange backdrop – something that’s not common for many law firms to do (since their competitors are more traditional, leather-bound case-books, and ivory tower look). The new Normand brand we created had a more edgier and contemporary look.  The way their case-studies were prominently displayed on their website, and was very re-assuring for their target audience of other lawyers and judges, because it showed how many class-action law-suits they had won and against whom. They have received more inquiries(3x) after the rebrand. Here’s the website we designed & developed: https://www.normandpllc.com/

What would you advise to the startup founders from a branding standpoints?

Many startup founders prefer not to spend their time and money on their branding and simply copy their competitor’s identity or the current internet trends. That doesn’t work. In the long term, you won’t be able to market a product or service successfully if you don’t define a solid brand identity system. Here’s an interesting stat: only 5% of customers will buy from you due to rational reasons (like pricing, features, convenience etc.). 95% of your customers are driven by other factors that are mainly created by your branding and how the customers FEELS about your company. Logic leads to reason, but emotion leads to action. If startups were to follow a simple formula, it would be: Startup Branding =  You Promise (what does your products or services do) + Your story (what is the background of your startup) + Your values (what drives your startup & your team) + Your visuals (name, look, and feel). – Denny Kurien