During the early stages of development, startups often focus solely on their product/service. They make the huge mistake of ignoring their branding. While any startup must ensure its product/service is top quality, they must focus on their branding as well. They must research and define their target audience and then create a brand image or brand identity that centers on the product/service’s benefits for that audience. Before we get into why branding is essential, its crucial to understand what branding is.
What is branding?
You can think of a brand just as you would think of a person. Just like a person, a brand has an identity, values, voice, personality, story, character, attitude, soul, and even beliefs.
During the process of branding, the startup will create a name, design, or symbol that identifies and differentiates that company’s product from other similar products.
Startups often have a logo and a name ready for their startup, even before their business takes off. But there is so much more to branding than just a name and logo.
- Differentiates a company from its competitors.
- Helps convey a message to the target audience.
- Enjoys a competitive edge in a saturated market.
Here’s a look at why branding is vital for businesses that are just starting and how you can brand your startup.
The Importance of Branding for Startups
Branding provides your startup with a unique identity
Branding helps differentiate you from your competitors. With a unique brand name, you increase your chances of gaining loyal customers.
Branding helps you make consumers aware of the gaps your product/service fill, and how they can benefit from it. With a unique selling point (USP), you can carve a niche for yourself in a market crowded with products/services similar to what you have to offer.
Branding gives you a place in the market for a long time
With an established brand name, you can send out a loud and clear message to the world that you are here to stay. Over time, your audience will recognize and remember your business because of your branding.
When you have established that you are going to be around for a long time, you will also have to maintain consistent communication with your consumers, clients, and potential customers. Communication is a form of branding, and by using a variety of channels to reach out to your target audience, you can ensure that your customers and potential customers recognize you.
There are specific steps you can follow to ensure your business stays prosperous in the market for a long time.
- You can create an emotional connection between your target audience and your brand
- You can evolve your brand as and when needed (keeping the original values of your brand intact)
- You can make your company stand out consistently through innovative branding.
Branding generates new customers, returning customers, and loyal customers
Branding promotes familiarity. Customers are more than willing to do business with a familiar and dependable company than an unfamiliar one.
If your product/service is trustworthy and satisfies their current needs, your customers will rely on your product/service to continue to fulfill their requirements.
Your satisfied customers won’t hesitate to refer more potential customers your way. In other words, your company’s repertoire spreads through word of mouth of happy and satisfied customers – the best form of marketing.
Branding improves employee pride and job satisfaction
Employees who work for a startup that has a strong brand are more than satisfied and willing to work especially hard to ensure the company’s success. Working for a reputable brand is also a matter of esteem. Let your employees know that you genuinely value them, and they will back your brand 100%.
Branding helps you charge what you are worth
Startups often find it hard to bag their first clients. To get going, these startups have to take whatever they can get. No matter how good the product/service, they have to be priced competitively or at a lesser value.
If you have your brand established, you come across as more professional and can charge as a professional company would. Ensure that your products/services are of high quality, and your clients will be more than willing to pay what you ask.
How to brand your startup
You will often find that the difference between successful startups and unsuccessful ones is their branding strategy. Listed here are some effective branding strategies that will differentiate you from your competitors.
Know your target market.
That is the first step to branding. Once you understand your target audience, every aspect of your branding should connect back to them. Simply put, your target audience should become a part of every aspect of your startup’s branding strategy.
Sell your story.
As a startup, don’t expect people to recognize you or what you do immediately. You must tell your story. Build your story and tell it well – all this must be a part of your branding strategy. Make your story relatable, identifiable, and memorable.
Refine your language and your image
All your branding messages must be consistently precise, accurate, and crisp, with no ambiguity. Don’t forget about your company name, vision, and image, and the look of your branding messages. These might seem unnecessary, but they can make or break your branding strategy.
Maximize your visibility
Don’t hesitate to leverage all your channels for your marketing campaigns. Your goal should be to reach your target market through multiple channels with a single, coordinated message. Social media, emails, website content, and blogs are just some of the ways you can reach out to your audience.
Your startup’s branding is a way of letting your customers and target audience get an initial introduction to what your company can provide them. A well-crafted branding strategy goes a long way in helping you establish yourself as a reliable company, gives you an identity, and increases brand loyalty. Do it right, and you can be sure your company will enjoy success.