Giving your startup a heads up start.
Branding is about more than creating a logo or choosing your business name, although this is really important.
How exactly do you go about branding a new business from scratch? For most organisations, an interview with a branding agency will be a start, however, before you get there, try dedicating some valuable time to researching and understanding your new company.
Startup branding involves an in-depth consideration of factors, including:
Audience, Mission statement, Name, Image, marketing, voice, story, USP, website and many more. That’s a lot for a startup company to address all at once. Branding is complex but it does not have to be a nightmare. Keep in mind: Clarity, Consistency, and Creativity while following these steps:
Step 1: Construct a philosophy
Begin to ask yourself some questions:
Why does this brand exist? Is there a compelling story behind the brand? How could your brand experiment and grow, moving forward? Can you identify a global need that your brand is uniquely able to fulfil?
TIP:Remember that consumers now want more out of their brands than products and sales.
Step 2: Craft a personality
Consumers respond to brands with a coherent and straightforward message. Equally important is selecting a distinctive voice and persona for your company. The audience demands authenticity, and your brand’s voice must be authentic and transparent.
Some examples of brand personalities are: Bold, helpful, innovative, quirky, adventurous, edge, humble, cosmopolitan and the list could go on but it is very important that you identify your brand personality as that will dictate how you talk to your audience.
Step 3: Differentiate yourself
No matter how incredible your product might be, there’s a good chance that someone else is already doing something similar. The only way to survive in this crowded space is to identify where your products stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes, the thing that really makes you special will have nothing to do with your product. After all, if you look at the markting mix, there’s more to your business than the items you sell. Maybe you don’t provide the most cost-effective services or sell the cheapest products in your sector. However, you could have a customer service experience that makes up for all that. Find a way to be different – no matter how small that difference might seem.
Step 3: Identify the market for your startup
You need to know who your ideal customers are, where you’re positioned in the current marketplace, and how your products compare to those provided by competitors. Begin by asking yourself who you really want to sell to.
TIP: Startup companies need to make an impact fast, and the best way to do this is to focus in on a “niche”.
Ideally, your niche will be obvious and based on the product you’ve created. After all, the best products are always a response to an existing problem. Once you’ve got your ideal customer in mind, dig down into specific details about them, such as:
- Where do they live?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- How old are they?
- How do they like to be spoken to?
- How do they spend their free time?
TIP:The more information you gather, the more you’ll be able to tailor-make a brand launch that speaks directly to the person most likely to invest in your company.
Step 3.1: Study your competitors
Studying your competitors will help you to determine not only where there’s a gap in the market, but what you need to do to brand yourself successfully. Ask yourself:
- What do the most popular logos in my niche look like?
- What do I need to think about when picking a name?
- How do my competitors talk to our shared customer base?
- How do my competitors market themselves?
- What are my competitors good/bad at?
Step 4: Choose a name with caution
Since your name is how your customers will come to know your product, your services, and your brand, it’s an important part of your identity. Before you start creating your logo, visual identity and printing out business cards, think about what people will imagine when they hear your name. Look for ways that your name might be misconceived in different countries or cultures.
TIP: A good rule of thumb – if you need to explain how to pronounce your name, or justify why your name makes sense and what it means, then you might not be on the right track.
Step 5: Create a positioning statement
What makes your brand unique? How does the audience perceive your brand? These critical questions play into your brand’s place in the market: its Positioning.
Concretely defining your brand’s position is crucial in that it serves as a backbone for developing a business direction, marketing message, and overall identity.
The Positioning of a brand serves to define two points:
• What the product does
• How the product is viewed by the target audience in the competitive landscape, in the short and long term
Step 6: Craft your image
Finally, once all your startup branding research is done, and you understand what your company is going to be about, you’ll be ready to start working on your image. There are a lot of factors that go into a business image, including the images you choose for your website, the logo you pick for your brand, and the colour schemes that you spread across your media. Since we’re living in a digitally-focused world today, make sure that all the branding materials you create will work on a range of different platforms. This is crucial for making sure that your brand appears modern, and professional.
Throughout the brand development process, we recommend that you regularly reference your Brand Platform. Your Brand Platform should be carefully considered and fine-tuned.