Branding is a definitive medium to connect with your target audience and make them remember you for instances when they might need what you offer. Branding is also a tool that helps a small business grow big and build a strong public image.
Before we discuss some of the proven branding tips for startups, here are a few questions most entrepreneurs seek answers to.
Is Branding Important for Your Startup?
Most entrepreneurs are driven by either profit or leaving an impact on the society. If you are driven by both, you will need startup branding to get where you want to be. No matter your industry or size of the market you are targeting, branding can prove beneficial for your business success.
When is the right time to start building your brand?
As early as day one of your startup. In this highly competitive day and age, where most startups are launched as off-the-shelf brands, you will not want to fall behind. Your branding strategies should be put to work from the day one of your launches so that your audience can connect first and buy happily later.
On the contrary, forcing them to buy first will never let you win over their attention and trust.
Does branding cost a lot of money?
Yes, branding might cost you a fortune, but if your strategies are smart and implemented in the right way, at the right time, you should be able to pull it off even with the limited budget that you have.
Always remember that money alone won’t help, but smart strategies will.
How are brands built?
Now that’s the million-dollar question with a million answers, but it’s important that you find yours. What works for some XYZ startup may not work for you and vice versa. That being said, following someone else’s footsteps is not a surefire path to success.
You are here because you are looking for something that works for you and helps you build powerful brand customers would love to associate with and buy from.
This article is all about valuable insights and proven branding strategies that were never discussed openly.
1. Understand Your Audience Like Never Before
NO, we are not talking about mere demographics here. It’s easy to know your audience, and that’s what every not-so-successful startup is doing already. But remember, success never comes easy. You will need to deliver a little deeper and understand your audience like never before.
How to do that? You might ask.
Every business has predefined prospects, who are just human beings with certain desires and aspirations. The more you understand their desires and aspirations, the better. And the next step is to align your brand with their desires and make them believe how your brand can help them achieve what they want. That’s where you can establish the connection.
For instance, you own a coffee shop. Your customers are not merely people who like coffee. They may be more than that: thinkers, writers, innovators or someone looking for a nice and cosy place to spend time with friends. How can you, as a brand, make a difference to their lives so that they keep returning to you for more? Once you understand what your customers want in their lives and how your startup can help, your branding strategies will automatically work in the right direction.
2. Lead Your Brand with a Belief
There’s a strong belief behind every successful brand, and that belief needs to be expressed right in order to establish a connect with your customers. Your customers are more likely to connect with you, if you believe what they believe or you have something in common.
How does that work?
Imagine a scenario. You go to a new place, college or office, meet strangers and make friends with a few of them in a couple of days – not because they treat you nicely or offer their food, but their belief system and approach are akin to yours. It’s very human to get attracted towards someone who believes what you believe.
That’s what you should try to do with your brand too. If you believe something, have a strong reason to exist and a clear vision for your brand, let your audience know about it. You will automatically start to attract the right customers, who will appreciate what you offer.
3. Branding is All About the Customer and Not the Business or Product
Your product may be great and deserve all the praises in the world, but how it helps your customers is what really matters. This is also to say that your brand should emphasize on benefits and not features. Features define your product/service, but benefits define user-experience.
Let’s understand this with the help of an example. Suppose you are selling a Smartphone, which has 6GB RAM, 15 Megapixel camera and a 5-inch display. Do you think these features will help you sell? Maybe or maybe not.
Now when you tell your prospects that your phone guarantees fast operations, clicks magnificent pictures and offers a display large enough to watch videos comfortably, you are telling them how your product will benefit them – that’s what they need to know to buy your product.
4. Never Rope in Your Competitors
Your competitors are always going to be there, but don’t make their presence count by defining your brand against theirs. Your business has its unique proposition, which should be able to sell on its own and not tethered to any denigrating comparison. Customers are smart enough to judge a brand’s intentions and their ethics. If your strategies are based on merely comparison, you are probably not giving the right message about your brand.
Great brands don’t even register their competitors on the radar. They focus on what they do and what their customers need.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Take Bold Risks
Whether you are coming up with something new or trying to redefine what’s already there, you will want to take some calculated, bold risks to get noticed. Speak your heart out and express your beliefs without thinking of consequences – good or bad –because it’s better to be hated than to be ignored.