Branding for Startups: The Essentials
Startups have challenges that are particularly unique from those faced by businesses that have been around a while. Although full of passion, drive and energy, startups usually don’t have enough time or money to invest into branding. Nonetheless, it is crucial to start branding early on, if only to build immediate brand equity that an be leveraged on in the future.
As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s not merely a matter of having a good website or professionally designed business cards. Although these are certainly important, there is something else far more crucial that must be done. And the good thing is, it’s free.
According to the Business Dictionary, branding is a process that involves creating a unique name and image of a product in the mind of the consumer, mostly through consistently themed advertising. Moreover, it establishes a differentiated market presence that attracts customers and invites their loyalty. Thus, a startup business owner should think deep into the image that should represent his brand in customers’ minds. When deciding on this image, the business owner must consider two things – what’s special about the business and what unique value it brings to the table.
Benefits of a Good Branding Strategy
There are many benefits awaiting businesses that implement a good branding strategy. For one, brand design catches the attention of consumers. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can be charged for a business’ products or services. If a brand is strong, it will face less direct competition. A brand that is well-established in the market will encourage repeat buying behavior, and can be as influential to the business as talent, partnerships, acquisitions and investments. There may be more specific benefits offered by branding, depending on the type of business, but the ones stated above are the most evident.
Creating a Successful Brand
It has to be memorable.
Brands that stand out, win. Being too safe with branding defeats the purpose. The goal is to give a brand a unique feel compared to the competition instead of simply blending in with the crowd.
It should have a clear value proposition.
It is important not to be shallow or general when offering a value proposition. For example, excellent customer service is something people want. The problem is, it has become the value proposition of too many brands. To be effective, a value proposition must be unique. It must bring a benefit that is often unexpected by people.
It should be consistent.
Consistency is the real secret to successful branding. To embed a brand in consumers’ minds, its message must be one and the same. Different messages only confuse the public and diminish potential brand equity.