If you’re immersed (or soon to be) in the wonderful world of the startup, then you’ll unlikely have missed the memo on the importance of branding!
Businesses are not born with a personality; you have to create them one- and this is essentially your brand. Let’s jump on in and reflect on how you can ensure that your persona is built right and expressed correctly to your target audience and stakeholders.
When it comes to brand image (superficial but true), it’s all about the aesthetics. Your brand is defined: by the appearance of your logo; the graphic designs and colours you use to express you across all appropriate areas; and the sound of your tone of voice. In light of this, you’ll definitely want to set your persona from the get-go and ensure that all the aesthetics that represent to are working in harmony without contradicting one another. If you fail to get your aesthetics right, the hard truth is that you may confuse people-they may become unsure of what to make of you (and we don’t want that)!
You should seek to work with a talented graphic designer to create your logo and other graphic styles that will be used to represent you via for instance: your website; your social accounts; the packaging of your products if you have them; or upon your business cards and letterheads. However, if you fail to establish your brand identity properly before getting to this step, then you will not be able to express this identity to the designer and may end up with work that does not reflect your business. You need to ask yourself as a business- who are we, and what is our personality?
It’s worth noting here that although many believe that business cards lack importance in our current tech age, this is not the case. Business cards are still a highly valuable way to market yourself and beautifully present your business. The easiest thing to do is to use bulk printing services for your business cards, letterheads and anything else that needs to be printed; this will save you money and time both.
It’s all in the name
Branding is all about memorability, with vast competition on all sides; it’s crucial to make the biggest impression you can and stand out. It’s dangerous to underestimate how key it is to choose a strong name to reflect your business and brand. It’s useful to brainstorm names that are unique, succinct and catchy- bounce a few around with your team and see what fits! Once you’ve found the right one, it’s likely that you’ll just know; one of those light-bulb moments that are plentiful and exciting in the startup world -where something genius just clicks.
Watch your competitors
This one is a beneficial practice if you want to really tap into your branding potential (and the potential of your business in general). There is so much to be said in every industry for figuring out what your competitors are doing- and doing better! Having said this, it’s really not about copying your competitors. It’s more about finding out how they market their business and communicate with their customers and then thinking about this as a reflection of your own personal brand values and identity.
Utilize social media
If you utilize social media channels in the best way, you’ll have the ability to market yourself far and wide without limitations. Social media is a perfect way to communicate your brand image to your audience and build a relationship with them by sharing content that they will love and thus forging customer bonds and loyalty both!
What’s your story
As a startup it’s essential to become storytellers; think about what the story of your business is, and you’ll do wonders at allowing your target audience and stakeholders to identify with your company and be engaged in the tale that you are telling. To build up this kind of context, again, ask yourself questions about who you are. Why did you start your business? What problems does your business solve? What are the values of you and your employees? If you can create a good branding story, this will go a long way in terms of getting lots more people talking.
Consider your target audience
Your brand is highly relevant in terms of how you are viewed in the minds of your target audience. When you are creating your brand, it’s essential that you look to your market research and base your brand as much as possible on the kind of personality and values that will allow you to appeal to that audience. You will already likely know the types of people who want to buy into your products and services.
When you are planning the personality of your brand you’ll want to ask yourself questions like- what tone of voice do they want to hear? What kind of business values would they respect? What kind of content would they like and share on social media? Your audience is at the heart of your brand identity, and it’s key to remember this when you are taking your brand creation steps.
Don’t underestimate branding
Many are so focused entirely on the products and services- in terms of the financial gains that they will bring to the company once sold. This is of course of importance; however, it doesn’t mean the branding should be underestimated and not made a priority from the onset of your startup. You’ll gain more success at selling your products and services in the long run if your branding is more creative and defined.
Marketing in the form of blog posts, articles and social media is great but what could make you more visible as a brand (and give you a platform to tell your story) than a brand video? You can write, rehearse and create one with your team and have heaps of fun in the process of doing so. If people can see you in action, hear what you have to say and put names to the faces of the business, this will do wonders for communicating across the personality and the brand that you wish too.