There are two camps for prioritizing brand elements and how much investment should be given to them:
Doing it Right and Doing it Now.
"Doing it Right" elements can be distinguished by one key characteristic: longevity.
Meaning, they should not change drastically over time because it would diminish their value. Items that come to mind are pieces of the core identity like a name and logo. Without the necessary attention given to them, they easily become lost among competitors or run into issues later. For example, a neglected logo will have difficult placement on varying applications, improper formatting, or general discontent from the owners of a company. Neglected names follow a similar trajectory, as they lose their appeal fast and are difficult to expand. "Do it Right" elements left unattended fall victim to sunk-loss fallacy, working their way deeper and deeper under the skin. Until you finally pull them out and they take pieces with them. Ouch.
"Do it Now" elements can be distinguished by one key characteristic: change.
Meaning, it is expected that at some point these will change because it will increase their value. In the digital age, we have a lot of flexibility to adjust things like a website, social campaigns, email templates, printed marketing collateral, etc. In fact, as technology progresses, it's not even certain whether those mediums will still be relevant. However, it is certain that those elements will change to be better optimized and catered to reflect the brand, or that they will eventually run out of stock and need to be revisited anyway. "Do it Now" elements can start rocky and gradually get better. For example, a website might start out as a single page and move toward a robust, e-commerce site with membership logins, custom CMS platforms, gated content, etc. Change made for the better that adds value rather than detracting from it.
Debating whether or not a brand element needs to be done right or done now?
Ask yourself, "how long do I expect this to stay the same?"
If the answer is, "a long time, hopefully forever," give it the attention it deserves.
If the answer is, "it will have to change eventually," get rolling fast and iterate.
I admire the confidence of startup founders. Everyday, they get up and get after it in the hopes of doing something to change the world. It's inspiring. However, it's sad that most of them fail to see the obviously awesome things about themselves and their companies that would make them unforgettable. Instead, they try to focus on what they think people want them to be. It's an inauthentic approach to building a brand and it usually results in being labeled something they are not proud of. In time, they become something they fail to recognize.
I call it, "pickle syndrome."
Since they spend their lives in a jar, pickles have no idea what they look like from the outside. They also don't recognize the unique qualities that make them special either. They float in the jar hoping someone will recognize them and see their worth.
It's in moments like this that is pays to have an external voice chime in and tell you all of the things that make you and your startup significant. To give you a new label based on the obvious truths you take for granted.
You are still a pickle and you're freaking awesome at it. Don't be afraid to tell everyone.
When you are creating a startup, it's easy to get sucked into the mindset that your product/service is needed and that everyone could benefit from it. Regardless of how true that is, people just don't seem to get it. You drill down on your marketing efforts talking about the features of what you offer, but no one understands.
You're bitter. You're frustrated. And it's also your fault.
Yea. It's your fault. It's your fault people do not understand the value of what you've created.
"Zach, that's pretty harsh," you might say. But, I believe it's better than the alternative.
Here's the thing: if it's your fault people don't understand the value of what you've created, then you can change. If it's everyone else's fault, you're shit outta luck.
It's never too late, it's all your fault, but that is the absolute best-case scenario. The question is: what are you going to do about it?