Building a brand is one of the most important aspects of establishing a start-up.
Although branding is important to any business, it’s especially important that a start-up define itself early and consistently in order to create a competitive position in the real and digital worlds. Why, you ask? Because to put it bluntly, no one knows you exist!
Let’s imagine it this way.
You’re the founder of a tech start-up and you’ve developed this cool program that does something fabulous. You’ve figured out awesome names for your company and product, you’ve got your logo designed, and your rag-tag team of developers set up in a little office space. You’re all set, right? Wrong! A logo and company name are not the only elements that go into creating a brand. There are so many more factors that are needed to build a strong brand that will get you recognized and make you competitive in your industry.
Here are 10 important factors for creating an effective brand strategy for your start-up.
- Do your research. In order to figure out what makes your start-up unique, you have to research the marketplace to gauge what your competitors are doing. You have to differentiate your product and company from your nearest competitors and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your customers need, and how you can satisfy that need better than your competitors.
- Define your target audience. Who are you selling to? In order to figure out how to accurately focus your marketing message, create buyer personas that are representative of your ideal customer. By figuring out your customer’s basic demographic information, needs, and motivations, you’ll be able to understand how to position your company and product toward your target audience.
- Establish your values. Your start-up should have a set of values that drives your organization’s culture. These values should formulate the core purpose of why your company and product exists. Your employees should also understand and absorb these values so that your internal communications are aligned with your external brand image.
- Compose a mission and vision statement. It might sound obvious, but get out a pen and paper and write down your start-up’s mission. It should clearly express the purpose of your company and why you founded your company. Also on this paper, write down your vision statement. This should outline what you want your company to be in the future – like an idealized version of where you want to be.
- Define you voice. You need to decide what the tone of your company will be so that it will be consistent across all your marketing channels. Will your company have an irreverent tone? Sarcastic? Friendly? Academic? It’s important that whatever the tone, it’s present in everything, from your website to your blog posts to your communications with your customers.
- Create your visual identity. And before you say that you have a logo already, we’re saying it’s not enough! Your visual identity should consist not only of your logo, but also the colors, fonts, and imagery that you choose to use across all your marketing channels. That means that your website, print collateral, social media buttons, etc., should all echo the same, consistent visual composition so that customers will easily recognize and remember you.
- Figure out your value proposition. This is an offering that motivates a potential customer to choose what your company is selling over your competitors. It should be written in clear language that points out why your product is superior and how it can address your customer’s pain points better.
- Develop your content marketing strategy. As a start-up, your company might have limited resources but you still need exposure for your company and product. The best way to achieve this is by creating fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis. This will help search engines find you, which in turn helps customers find you. Keep to an editorial calendar to ensure your company churns out quality content to increase visibility for your brand.
- Revamp your website. Sure, you’ve got your website up and running, but does it follow the factors listed above? If not, it’s time to freshen up your website to be consistent with the visual identity you’ve already established. It should also include your value proposition on the homepage and echo your voice across the entire site. Remember, your website will probably be where your customers first come in contact with you, so make sure your story is clearly and consistently conveyed.
- Track, evaluate, and adjust. Creating a brand isn’t always a static process. Websites need to be refreshed periodically, logos can be revised, and mission statements can evolve. It’s important that you keep track of the efficacy of your branding – if you’re not gaining enough traction or visibility after a long period of time, it might be time to re-evaluate your strategy and adjust it accordingly. Even big names like Apple have needed a facelift – just look online at the evolution of their brand.
Follow these 10 steps to build an effective brand strategy and we have no doubt that your start-up will be on its way to becoming a leader in your industry.
(article by Brandxten)