Essentials of Branding for Startups
Startups have challenges that are particularly unique from those faced by businesses that have been around a while. While full of drive, energy and passion, startups usually lack time and funds for a branding investment. Nevertheless, branding should begin early on, if only to immediately build brand equity for future leveraging.
Contrary to what most people think, logo alone is not branding. It’s not just about having a website or business cards. While these are definitely important, something else that is far more crucial, should be done. Best thing is, it costs zero.
Based on the Business Dictionary, branding is providing a product a unique name and image in the minds of consumers, mostly through advertising campaigns with a constant theme. Furthermore, it is a way of establishing a differentiated presence in the market that is attractive to customers and encourages loyalty among them. Therefore, a startup business owner must think deep into the image that will embody its brand in the minds of customers. Before deciding on such image, it is important for the business owner to identify two things – what makes the business unique, and what unique value it offers consumers.
Advantages Offered by a Good Branding Strategy
Businesses have a good number of benefits to expect from an effective branding stragegy. For starters, brand design grabs the attention of potential customers. Branding itself can also have a direct effect on how much may be charged for a business’ products or services. Good branding brings less direct competition. Once a brand is established as a good one, it will encourage repeat buying and become as influential to the business as acquisitions, investments, talent and partnerships. There may be more specific benefits offered by branding, depending on the type of business, but the ones stated above are the most evident.
Creating a Successful Brand
It must stand out.
Memorable brands are runaway winners. Being too safe with branding defeats the purpose. The goal is to give a brand a unique feel compared to the competition instead of simply blending in with the crowd.
It should have a clear value proposition.
A value proposition should not be shallow or general. For example, excellent customer service is something people want. The problem is, it has become the value proposition of too many brands. A value proposition should be unique. It should provide benefits that people will probably not expect.
It should be consistent.
What makes branding really work is consistency. To embed a brand in consumers’ minds, its message must be one and the same. Having different messages is confusing and reduces potential brand equity.