“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
You can’t disregard such a piece of advice, especially when it’s coming from one of the biggest business giants himself. The most common mistake startups make is to slack on their branding. They consider it to be a gimmicky add-on that can be revamped later once their business takes off. If you’re one of those startups, you need to think twice before going down that lane. The chances of your business taking off with and without proper branding vary by a vast margin. Your branding persona impacts your demand in the market, which can either make or break your business. We call it the “Brand Effect.”
In economic terms, your brand is your influence on the demand; if it goes up, it means customers are more willing to buy and even pay more for your product as compared to other alternates available on the market.
The brand effect is so powerful that companies with strong branding often break the norms of their economic market and form their own markets, exclusive to their demand. This can be seen by observing how electric cars, in general, are not so much in demand, but there’s still a high demand for Tesla electric cars. The same can be seen in Apple’s case, where tablets, in general, are not a very high-demand market, but the never-fading demand for iPads remains constant.
The idea here is to create a market for your product, not to create a product for a market which already exists. The entire purpose behind branding is to stand out. It doesn’t matter if what you’re putting out there is already on sale by someone else. What matters is how it is different than the other products or services available on the market? You need to really think about that aspect before jumping into any market. Skipping or rushing your startup branding strategy may seem like a good idea in the beginning as it saves you time and money –both elements that startups find themselves struggling with. However, a little patience and investment go a long way.
See Also: How To Do Market Research For a Startup
Going back to the Jeff Bezos quote, we can say that stepping into a market without a strong branding image is much like stepping into a room where no one even sees you. As per Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data, almost 305 million startups are created in a year, and 90% of them fail, as seen in Failory’s report. Do you think you’ll survive in the crowd if you’re just another name among millions? Brands fall into two main categories, one which consumers actively ignore and the others which they actually consider. It’s up to you which one you choose to become.
Of course, you can always revamp your brand image once you have enough resources, but isn’t that twice as hassling and risky? You might lose some of your previous consumers, who are used to that previous face of your brand. Moreover, branding helps you understand your business on a personal level more than it helps the overall revenue. Because in your research for a firm startup branding strategy, you go through the steps of understanding your business first, which eventually helps you improve your market positioning. The more you know the ins and outs of your business, the better it is for your startup branding.
Now that it’s pretty clear how branding for startups works hand in hand with its overall success. Let’s begin our 7-Step Guide to Startup Branding, consisting of some of the best startup branding tips for new businesses.
We can’t emphasize this step enough. This is where you lay out the foundation of your startup branding strategy. Your startup branding can only be as good as your research because you can’t be prepared for what you’re not aware of. Know your position, product, USP, and values, but most importantly, know your audience. Before doing anything major on your brand, you need to understand your current market. And even more than that, you need to know your direct and indirect competitors within that market. Sounds like a lot of work, right? But that’s what Monily’s guide is for. Here’s how you can make this heavy work easy.
– Google your local market to analyze where your product or service stands. Put specific keywords related to your business and location for better results.
– Connect with your audience by listening to what they talk about. Use platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn to check out what your consumers are talking about.
– Do some on-ground research. It is always better to start locally and then expand nationwide or internationally. Some of the biggest brands we see today have rather humble beginnings. When you start local and connect with your audience personally, it creates a bond of trust that your consumers will follow anywhere around the globe.
– Walk a mile in your consumers’ shoes. Go online and offline shopping for products or services you’re selling to get a feel of what your consumers might be looking for.
– Categorize and organize your research. Data, no matter how accurate, is useless without proper analysis. And proper analysis is not possible if everything is a clutter. Divide your target audience into segments.
– Know your competitors and what makes consumers loyal to them.
Before anyone can perceive your brand in any way, it is important to know how you perceive your brand. Your perception of your brand will serve as the roadmap for your consumers. If the brand itself is confused or not clear about its vision or voice, the consumers will only be twice as confused. You have to lead your consumers, not leave them astray, wondering about your values. You need to give your brand a persona as if it is a live person with its own personality and charisma. Here are some of the ways you can do this:
– Imagine your brand is a person, throw 3 to 5 adjectives that come to your mind to describe this individual.
– You can widen your horizon by personifying your brand as an animal, vehicle, celebrity, sports team, or just about anything. Now associate the qualities with this persona. For example, if we say our brand is a personification of a celebrity or an animal. We will then give it its voice accordingly. A brand with a celebrity persona will be defined and marketed entirely differently compared to one which is a personification of an animal.
– Pick a paper and just throw words that come into your mind based on this persona. Pick the best three and base your values on that.
Your name is your identity, and if you want to stand out in the crowd, you need a name that is as unique as your identity. When it comes to naming your business for a robust startup branding strategy, there really are no set rules or tricks that are sure to work or fail. But with a little bit of wit and charm, we can estimate what works best in our favor.
– When picking a name for your startup branding, go for something that is best in line with your overall startup branding strategy. Even if some made-up word like Pepsi or Nokia, it needs to be in sync with your overall strategy.
– Pick a name that is easy to remember, pronounce, and spell.
– Depending on your brand persona, pick what type of name you want to go for. Descriptive, evocative, innovative, lexical, acronym, geographical, or founder.
– Remember two things, to stand out and be remembered. You don’t want to be so common that you’re forgotten or so unique that you’re hard to remember.
Right after your name, you need to put a tagline that sticks to it and summarizes the overall mission statement within that one-liner. This will serve as an important link between consumers and your brand.
This is where everything from your research underlining your audience’s buying pattern to your brand’s values boils down to one point. Set up a mood board and assemble everything from your brand colors to mascot (if you’re going for one) and fonts.
In design language, every color and font carries its own meaning and connection with the consumer’s mind. Pick the colors that best align with your brand’s persona and directly resemble your brand; this will create a recurring visual impact in the consumer’s mind.
Your mood board will help you pick the visuals, fonts, colors, and symbols required to design your logo. A unique yet remarkable logo will further solidify your startup branding. Put it all together in a mix and whip out an exclusive logo that is true to your brand’s core values. Depending on your startup branding strategy, you can either go for monogram logos, wordmarks, pictorial marks, abstracts, mascots, or a combination of two or three of these types.
The last and most important one is to stay consistent. Once you put your image out there in the market, make sure to stick to it and create a harmonious consistency across all platforms. Whether it is your walk-in store or official website, everything should feel like a part of one big picture. Consistency is the most important aspect of startup branding because it creates a constant recognition pattern in your audience’s mind. It is good to evolve your brand image as your business grows, but being consistent is the key until we come to that point.
Branding is not just a means to put on a show for advertising’s sake, it is the bridge which connects you, your consumers, and your brand together. The 7 steps enclosed within this article are constructed upon tried and tested ways of taking new businesses higher. Now that you’re aware of these simple yet effective tips on branding for startups go out there and let your brand talk for itself.