The proliferation of start-ups and their contribution to the global economy is well-documented as is their high failure rate, a paradox attributable in large part to the inadequate attention start-ups ascribe to establishing a strong brand. Premised on the idea that brand-building is an active process of meaning-making and an assemblage of layers of professional and material activities, our study offers an empirically grounded approach to start-up branding. Based on an inductive analysis of interviews with co-founders of 15 start-up and scale-up brands, we propose a process framework of start-up branding that highlights the strategic communication processes by which entrepreneurs bring their products to market. Through this contribution, we make clear that entrepreneurial brand building is not a one-size-fits all process and that there is no linear pathway. While the framework is not predictive of success, it is indicative of a new formulation of how strategic communication can be used to understand and evaluate brand processes within entrepreneurial organizations.