6 KILLER BRANDING TIPS FOR YOUR START UP
Updated: Apr 3, 2018
Starting a company has its own share of pains, pleasures and risks involved, beginning with the idea, company name, logo, registration, and the list goes on. Some may argue that the company name and logo are not as significant as the businesses processes or client acquisition. While others will have a very different understanding of what brand or branding is. When it comes to branding, you have to understand that brand is emotional, brand is a feeling, brand is perception and every brand has its own unique essence and characteristics. And before you dive in to branding activities, you have to remember that “branding is not selling”.
You don’t even have to think whether branding is important for your startup - like Nike says, “Just do it”. The moment we talk about branding it is important to know that we are not focusing on sales. Branding is all about image building. During the olden days, companies manufacture products and sell them, and people buy it because there were just a handful of them. Today, it is a cut-throat competition; the market is flooded with endless supply of similar products and services. If you don’t have solid branding strategies, your company will be crushed by the competitors and it will be invisible to the customers. But take no stress, in this article we have covered some interesting branding tips that will help in building a strong foundation for your startup.
1. Unique Company Name and Beautiful Logo
Many people underestimate the power of having a good name and identity for a company. In fact, these are important aspects of your brand and can work wonders for you if you get it right. Company name and logo are the first things the prospects see even before they meet you. Imagine you have a very attractive company name and logo that can engage and generate curiosity among the people. They can easily connect with your products or services when you approach them. And if you are keen on growing your organization, a unique company name and an attractive logo will help you in building a great brand, quickly and easily.
2. Your vision and mission define the spirit of your company
It’s saddening to see companies pick up the vision and mission statement of other companies and using it as their own. This only means that there is no real purpose in the existence of your organization, other than of course the financial interests. If that is the case, you bring no value to the table. You should probably shut down and look for other alternatives. If you are into business for good, you should be able to identify the uniqueness of your company and differentiate it from the crowd. Having a clear picture of the morals, ethics, principles and goals will help in formulating the right branding strategies for your startup.
3. Your Personal Brand
In this day and age, you have to understand that your company’s reputation depends on your personal image. You have to remember that you are a breathing, walking brand. For instance, it would be extremely hard for an antisocial person to start a restaurant business with a friendly brand image. In order to be a successful restaurant owner, one should be a good host, warm and welcoming, jovial and should be eager to socialize and interact with its customers.
When you meet someone you are not only representing yourself but your company too. You have to be careful about what, how and when you speak. If you had been to some business meetings already, you will realize that it is not what you want to speak, but it’s what they want to hear. Modern-day consumers now research about the company and the people behind the product(s) or service(s) before they associate themselves with it. If you have a great personal brand, people will see you as an expert in your industry, thereby building trust in you and your organization automatically.
4. Branding is an ongoing process
Starting a company doesn’t only mean getting the clients, selling your services or products and getting the money. Owning a business is not a quick-money-making-scheme. Startups cropping up with me-too ideas with the sole intention of getting rich soon, are becoming a regular scene. Their only intention is to get rich soon and therefore their strategy is short term and they fade away like they never existed. But, if you are genuine business person, you will know that branding is an ongoing process. Have you ever wondered how we are surrounded by advertisements and commercials wherever we go? The reason is, it’s a noisy world out there and you need to constantly promote your brand to be heard and to be seen. When you are starting new, you may not have the budget for paid promotions but you can always make the most of the social channels to get your word out to your audience. The good news is these social networks are free for us to use. Leverage social media platforms to create your own unique identity. Continuous execution is the key difference between an active startup and a stagnant company.
5. In-house Branding
By in-house branding, we don’t mean the people responsible for branding and marketing activities in the organization. In-house branding here means the employees associated with your brand. Much like personal branding, grooming your teammates is important because they make a significant impact on your company. Starting from soft skills to presentation skills and ensuring that your employees are taken care of are of utmost importance. A happy and a well-groomed employee is a reflection of your company’s image to the outside world.
6. Company Collaterals
How do your business card, company portfolio, presentation or any other marketing collaterals look? Are they worthy of praise? Your company collaterals – be it print or digital are not just information; they exhibit the standards of your company. Let your collaterals be gold-class because they are the silent advocators your organization. Good collateral delivers a clear message; attracts attention and builds trust among the prospects.
For a matured company it is very hard to convert a company into a brand but for a startup it is comparatively easy to build a good brand image, if it is clear about its service(s), product(s), audience, etc. In order to build a great brand, the startup has to clear on what sector or industry it is venturing into. And the startup has to be clear about what problems they are solving in that sector.
For example, a salon business falls under beauty industry, yet the key differentiator is not the range of beauty services you offer but the kind of customer service you provide. The point is there are many opportunities within an industry and the way to maximize these opportunities differs from one organization to another. The way you conduct business will be different from the others. You should identify your USP and strategize your branding activities accordingly.
Here’s a quick reminder once again, branding is not selling. Imagine how you would want people to think and feel when they see your company name or hear about your startup. Are your branding activities addressing these points? Branding is expressing – what your company is, what it stands for, what it does, and why it is the best option for your prospects. If you can plan strategies to communicate these messages clearly, then your startup will see a spike in growth in no time.