Essentials of Branding for Startups
Startups have different challenges to face compared to those which older businesses encounter. While full of drive, energy and passion, startups usually lack time and funds for a branding investment. Still, branding must be started from the get go so that brand equity can be built immediately, to be leveraged later on.
What Is Branding?
As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s not merely a matter of having a good website or professionally designed business cards. Although these are certainly important, there is something else far more crucial that must be done. And the good thing is, it’s free.
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. Thus, a startup business owner should think deep into the image that should represent his brand in customers’ minds. When deciding on this image, the business owner must consider two things – what’s special about the business and what unique value it brings to the table.
Benefits of an Effective Branding Strategy
Businesses have a good number of benefits to expect from an effective branding stragegy. For one, brand design catches the attention of consumers. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can be charged for a business’ products or services. With a strong brand, it is easier for competitors to fade in the background. 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 Good Brand
It has to be memorable.
Memorable brands are runaway winners. Being too safe with branding defeats the purpose. The goal is to give people a different feel from the competition, rather than just being one of the crowd.
It should have a clear value proposition.
It is important not to be shallow or general when offering a value proposition. For instance, excellent customer service is desirable to consumers. The problem is, it has become the value proposition of too many brands. Uniqueness is the most crucial element of a successful value proposition. It must bring a benefit that is often unexpected by people.
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. With different messages, the public can only end up confused and potential brand equity diminished.