You have finally decided to launch your business online.
You have worked on your niche, conducted market research, and now you know who your target audience is.
Now you must be wondering what branding is and why it is crucial for your business.
Before we shed light on it, it's critical to understand that branding goes way beyond logo and color scheme.
Today, branding revolves around your entire customer experience.
It includes everything... from your website, logo, fonts, colors, social media experiences, the way your support team answers customers' queries, and more.
If you feel overwhelmed reading this broad definition, let us tell you that you're not alone.
If you're starting out and looking to know the best branding tips before launching your business, you have come to the right place...
Because we'll talk about:
- What is branding
- Benefits of branding
- Essentials of branding
- 7 ways to build your branding from scratch
In this branding for startups blog, you'll find out the best ways to create a startup branding that will make you stand out.
First, let's talk about...
What Is A Brand?
Building a brand from scratch isn't an easy thing. There are so many things involved. In other words, branding is the way your audience perceives you.
Simply put, a brand is the combination of all the properties that give your brand recognition and personality.
It involves name, logo, message, tone, voice, mission statement, reputation, and other attributes linked directly or indirectly to your brand.
Branding for startups, as we mentioned above, is a broad concept.
If you want your brand to stand out among the crowd, you have to build your brand personality.
Doing so will help you position your brand and create a brand image that resonates with your target audience.
The key here is to be consistent as you extend your brand to every part of your business.
Why Is Branding Important?
The biggest mistake startups make is they often overlook the significance of creating a solid brand strategy.
Most of them do not invest the required time and resources thinking about how their brand should appear in front of their customers.
Some aren't really sure if they should hire branding agencies to help them out.
As a result, they eventually fail to establish and position their brand the right way.
Even if some of them successfully survive for 2 or 3 years, they still don't get the recognition they want for their brands.
If you're still not convinced why having a foolproof branding strategy is critical for your success, here are some of the reasons why you should start working on your brand strategy now.
1. Promotes Brand Recognition
If you have to choose between Samsung and any unknown brand, you're more likely to go with Samsung.
Why? Because you recognize and trust this brand.
All prominent brands, including Nike and Apple, have a robust branding strategy that helps these businesses differentiate their brands from others.
It's the human psyche to trust options they're familiar with.
So, when you have an effective startup branding strategy in place, and people start preferring your business over others, you get a chance to sell more of your products and services.
2. Tells Your Customers What Kind Of Brand You Are
From the visual elements like logo and website design to how your customer service handle customers' concern, your branding strategy speaks volumes about your brand personality and values.
Remember, it building a brand goes beyond your visual identity.
3. Provides Clarity
Your branding strategy also provides your personnel with a direction about how they should work and act to achieve common organizational goals.
4. Generates Referrals
Satisfied customers become your brand advocates and promote your business within their social circles and family.
In fact, it wouldn't be incorrect if we say that present-day customers consider brands as a lifestyle rather than products.
So, having a robust branding strategy ensures that you get more referrals for your business.
5. Helps Set Expectations
Brands having a powerful branding strategy can successfully build a loyal customer base.
Potential customers and existing ones know they're dealing with a reliable business, and will receive quality products and services when they do business with such brands.
6. Represents ‘YOU’
Your brand reflects you, your values, and your promise to your customers.
When you create an effective branding strategy... you can better communicate your values and brand story to your existing and potential customers.
7. Helps You Connect Emotionally To Your Customers
We all feel happy when we use iPhones. But there are many other good brands on the market too.
Have you ever wondered why most of us still go for iPhones?
Because we trust them. We feel happy when we hold iPhones in our hands.
Buying is an emotional experience. A good branding strategy helps you connect with your customers at an emotional level.
And because of that... you can also incorporate a strong brand identity with your marketing strategy.
8. It Helps You Stay Focused
The most significant advantage of having a solid branding strategy is that it helps you stay focused on your goal and mission.
It will help you become more strategic and also save you a lot on your other marketing efforts.
Why? Because you know what you're doing. You already have a direction on where you're going.
9. Branding Will Add Value To Your Business
Building a brand adds value to your business.
All big brands, including Coca-Cola, Apple, Ford, and Nike, represent a lot more than the worth of their physical assets.
They're more valuable because of their brand value, goodwill, and impeccable business reputation.
I'm sure these benefits excite you to create your own startup branding!
So, let's now talk about...
Essentials Of An Effective Branding Strategy
Before we share our seven valuable branding tips to grow your business... let's have a quick look at some of the essential branding elements.
You should add these things to your business framework to achieve solid startup branding.
What is the reason behind your brand's existence? Is this only to earn money or something you can be truly proud of?
To know your purpose, you have to figure out who your target audience is? What are their interests and goals? What are the pain points that you want to solve?
After knowing your audience, you can determine the real purpose why your brand exists.
Where do you see your business in the next five to ten years?
What does your brand look like in the future?
This is important, especially if you're a new company. It will help you set long-term goals for your startup company.
Let's take the example of Microsoft here.
The brand's vision was to put a computer on every desktop in every home. They worked relentlessly to achieve this objective. And today, we all know how well they've succeeded.
Your mission statement encompasses both your vision and purpose.
In other words, it highlights how your brand will impact the lifestyle of other people or what steps you should be taking to deliver on your promise.
Unlike vision and purpose, your brand mission is more action-oriented.
Brand positioning is a broad concept. It revolves around knowing your target audience, knowing your competition, and the factors that set your brand apart from the rest of the competition.
Again, it's not just your visual identity. Startup founders should know it's more than that.
Your brand personality reflects your target audience and their preferences (likes/dislikes).
Regardless of your mission and vision, your customers want to see themselves in your brand. They need a reason to resonate with your brand.
Let's take the example of Mercedes Benz here. The brand has a personality of sophistication and class. People who buy Benz are confident and classy.
Another one is startup founders creating their personal brands. They like telling their brand story to make other people relate to them.
Your brand tone/voice is an integral element of your brand identity.
The way you talk to your grandmother is different from how you talk to your friend, right? The same goes for your branding.
If you have a product that targets the 18-24 years age group, you must not use a sober or sophisticated tone. You can be more conversational.
Similarly, if your target audience is people aged 60 or above, there's no need to be too casual.
Now that you know what makes a strong brand identity... it's time to learn how.
Seven Tips For How To Build Your Startup Brand From Scratch
1. Do Market Research
The first step is to know about your target audience and competitors.
Did you know that many startups fail? Yep! About 90% and 10% fail within the first year.
So, you must conduct thorough research to avoid this.
The good news is there are several ways you can research this critical information and use that to your advantage.
For instance, you can Google your product/category and identify businesses excelling in your industry.
You can also conduct surveys and questionnaires to know about your target audience.
The next step is...
2. Think About Your Brand Personality And Tone
The next step is to think about your brand's personality and tone.
At this point, you have to resolve your unique selling proposition (USP).
Remember, if your products and offers are the same as your competitors... it would be difficult for you to set your business apart from others.
The key here is to consider your brand as a person.
Make sure you keep your tone consistent throughout all platforms.
So, you need to create a short and meaningful brand message with 3-4 adjectives describing your brand the best.
And you also need to...
3. Decide Your Business Name
There is no denying that a brand is a lot more than a name. But Adidas by any other name would be seen on fewer feet.
Why? Because brand name matters.
Your brand name will also impact your logo, brand message, and your overall brand guidelines. One should choose a name that is unique, easy to pronounce, instantly recognizable, and hard to imitate.
4. Create A Catchy Slogan
A catchy slogan adds a lot of value to your branding.
It is better to go with short and descriptive slogans.
You can also use it in your tagline, social media page, website header, marketing campaign, and more. This will help you create consistent branding across all your platforms.
As a general rule, your business slogan should be impressive and adapt to your customer's attitudes.
There are several ways you can get this step right. For example, you can create a slogan that is in rhyming form.
Some businesses use slogans to stack their claims, while others use them to reflect the literal meaning of their brand name.
No matter what you choose, make sure you stay creative and...
5. Decide On The Visual Elements Of Your Brand
The next step is to choose the visual elements impacting the overall look and feel of your startup's brand identity.
The colors you choose for your brand are the ultimate dealbreaker.
Choose colors that convey the emotions you want to share with your audience. Every color has its own meaning.
Make sure you choose options that help you differentiate your brand from your competitors.
Similarly, you must choose readable fonts that you can use across different platforms. You can use the visual elements of the brand for your graphic design.
Oh, and you also need to...
6. Design A Logo
Your branding strategy is incomplete without a personalized business logo.
Just like your brand slogan... your logo should be unique, identifiable, and flexible enough to accommodate any future extension to your product range.
There are different types of logos you can create for your business: emblem, a letter mark, icon, and mascot to name a few.
To ensure your logos are well-made, you can hire a startup branding agency or any individual that offers branding services.
These people can create brand guidelines that speak for your startup company.
Then once you have it...
7. Apply Branding Across Your Business
The last step is to apply your branding strategy all across your business and marketing strategy.
This step is critical as you have to keep everything consistent across different platforms.
From graphic design to website development and social media posts... you need to be consistent to establish a strong brand presence.
Take the example of Pepsi and Coca-Cola here. Both brands have successfully managed to maintain fonts, colors, designs, and images.
So, what now?
Have A Strong Brand Identity For Your Startup Company!
Having one will help you stay on top of your game and attract more potential customers.
So, you need to create a solid online presence from the ground up.
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