Being an entrepreneur and building your own company is thrilling. Your heart thumps with excitement when you think about the business model and strategies backing it. Adrenaline rushes through your veins when you pitch the investors and your heart skips a beat when you think about the future possibilities of your idea that is now up and running. But your idea meets reality when you start to market your product. In this oversaturated market, grabbing the attention of your potential customer is a luxury. It is heartbreaking to accept that someone is better than you or worse, people don’t care much about your product. This phase is not permanent rather a reality check and a chance to gather your wits together.
Normally, young leaders delve headfirst into marketing by hiring a team and increasing the budget, however, the problem lies not with marketing but with branding. Assuming that brand is only skin-deep and the presence of a flimsy logo on every channel is enough is one of the biggest blunders that an early startup can ever make.
A flawed branding can tank hundreds and thousands of rupees, sending panic waves across the company. But when done right, it can make an instant connection with your audience and stir emotions like no other, your golden egg-laying hen, if you wish.
In this article, we will discuss some branding lessons that can save you a lot of anxiety-inducing, sleepless nights.
Logo Is Important But Not Enough
Looks are an important part of branding, especially when it is a startup, as it is their first introduction to their audience. The visual elements like logo, colours, typography, and imagery contribute towards creating an identity. However, plastering your logo on every channel is not going to be enough. Just as visual elements create a persona, intangible elements like copy, tagline, sound, and social media breathes life into the caricature, making it a living entity.
A logo might be the face of the brand but rarely does that account for success. A startup needs to have a solid brand identity system consisting of brand guidelines to form a strong marketing strategy and even stronger customer retention value.
Work On Your Story
Every successful brand is backed by a great story. For any startup founder or business owner who aspires to create a successful brand, you must sell your story.
One of the major setbacks about a startup is that it may not be instantly recognized, building a story will help you get etched in the memories of your customers, creating a personal connection.
Always remember that a good company sells products, a good brand, sells an experience.
One of the best brand stories is of Old Spice. The basic premise of Old Spice is not that it will transform an average man into a perfect man rather they focused on making an average man ‘smell’ like a perfect man.
If You Have It, Flaunt It
If your startup has a USP that has the potential to be a thought leader, make it a fuel that drives your brand strategy. Similar to Apple Inc. whose ‘think different’ ads made them the thought leader of the IT industry for decades, we recommend you leverage the value of your idea, create a content strategy to cultivate a position of a thought leader in your niche.
In this overcrowded world, it is hard to find a thing that has never been done before so if you are going against a dominant competitor, do your research, find the loopholes or area for improvement and strategically place your product as a solution. Self-awareness about your market, products, and competitors is crucial for such an evaluation.
Know Your Purpose, Influence More People
While developing a branding strategy for a startup, it is important to realize that every element of brandings such as logo, colours, fonts, designs, and copies contribute towards creating a position. Behind every solid position is a purpose.
In layman’s language, a brand purpose is a reason a brand exists beyond making money. One of the common mistakes that a startup makes is that they dive into marketing without having clarity about the products they are developing or who their audience actually is.
How do you find your purpose? By asking a simple question: ‘What’s the one special thing only you can do that your customers will miss out on if you never existed?”
Example: Airbnb promises you an experience of ‘living like a local’ everywhere you travel. Their purpose is to give people a chance to get a taste of life in a different city/country.
Go Beyond Obvious, Create Brand Environment
By this point you have gained a significant insight about creating a unique visual and verbal story – now is the time to accumulate your knowledge about your product and the persona you wish to show through the brand and integrate it with your business objective.
The point of creating a branding environment is to reach your target audience through a synchronized message across all channels. Popularly known as a brand guideline, creating a brand environment is focused on your purpose, goals, and size of the company. It is the comprehensive guide that helps you choose from stock photos to the icons on your website, colours on your design to intangible elements like the voice and tone.
Your brand is a powerful tool that can help drive your startup’s reputation and foster customer loyalty—but only if you believe in it. Branding for a startup isn’t easy but linking deep knowledge about the product and industry with visual and verbal elements will make it look more aligned.
In the end, the purpose of branding and brand strategy is to tailor the best experience for your customer and develop a sense of preference and familiarity within your desired target segment.
If you are a startup wishing to build a brand or someone looking for a fresh start, rebrand your own business whether it is a logo design, a website design, tailored messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.