A brand is a sign of maturity. Young companies only have them under peculiar circumstances. Like a badge of honor (or dishonor as the case may be), a brand is won. A brand is earned.
Early in their lives, companies are untried and untested. They offer a tool, service or other good to buyers of various stripes. Those early buyers bet heavily. Early customers have to believe that the company will last long enough to fulfill the order and that what they are buying is worth the price.
There’s virtually no room for branding in an early stage company (even though that’s what it needs most). The early employees (usually the founders) spend their time and energy getting to know the market and the customers. Formal branding initiatives are hard to find money for. That comes later.
You’ve probably heard the oft repeated notion that a brand is a conversation. That’s not exactly right. The core direction is right; a brand is a verb, not a noun. It’s more accurate to say that a company is a conversation. The brand is the set of things that stand for that conversation.