What does every up and coming startup need to succeed? Without a doubt, the key component to any successful business is an excellent branding strategy. Easier said than done, as experience shows. While the branding process for a new company can seem like a tremendous undertaking, there are a few key ingredients to utilize that if well employed- will ensure the success of your startup’s identity. Because branding is the face and framework of your company, you’ll need to ensure that the image you create from the ground up is compelling, unique, relatable and well defined. The efforts you’ll expend on crafting a poignant branding strategy should be carefully considered, and should never be dismissed as a wide-sweeping ‘plug and play’. With an oversaturated market and an ocean of competing companies, you’ll need to craft an identity that sets your startup apart from the rest. Below are the four most crucial factors necessary when branding your new startup.
- Know Your Target Market
While this may seem obvious to some, it can be like a foreign language to most. A big mistake in business is having too broad or indistinct an image. If you aren’t careful when marketing your startup, you may end up being too vague and not piquing the interest of your niche market. By having too amorphous a brand identity, you will undoubtedly sink in a sea of competing startups. You need to realize and hone in on who exactly your company is aiming to target. Are you appealing to millennials who understand the value of apps and technology? Business people in their 40’s and 50’s? Athletes, musicians, artists? You need to think about who is going to be your best demographic and then cater to their interests. Once you identify the who, do extensive research on your market and see what trends are working and which ones to avoid. Doing research on your relative competition is also a very savvy way to understand the successes and shortcomings of your opponents, and how your business can improve upon those shortcomings and offer more than them. When branding your startup and designing graphics and marketing, you can appeal to a varied audience, but make sure your image is easily distinguishable from another similar company. If you try to appeal to too broad a market, you may wind up crafting an image catered towards nobody in general, and consequently, relinquish your target market.
- Sell Your Story!
Every new business has a story of its inception. People want to hear that story! Supply and demand lend a telling tale of how you arrived to understand the need for your product/service. A good place to start when selling your story, is to consider why or how you got into this business, and how you wish to improve the lives of others (or the planet) with your product. A bit about your personal history and how events in your life led you to develop your brand is always appreciated as well. This will add context and understanding for your potential clients/customers. People like to know the background of a business so as to feel good about getting behind and supporting said business. Your clients need a bit of a framework as to who the people are behind the product before they subscribe to doing business with you. Some call this a “mission statement”. Have a section of your website be solely for sharing your defined vision and adding a bit of humanity to your brand.
- Characterize and Refine Your Language
When undertaking a branding, something that often goes unconsidered is the language and tone in which your startup uses to express itself. There are thousands of varying voices, tones and uses of language that you could use- all unique and serving a certain purpose. Is your company serious and refined? Or is it more playful and relaxed? You’ll want to identify what voice you’ll use to interact with your clients and how you’ll appeal to your specific demographic. This voice needs to be consistent and carried throughout the entirety or your website, as well as with any written content/marketing and social media you may use. When a brand doesn’t have a clearly defined language, we don’t know how to connect or even trust the business. Language offers character. Try to be as linguistically polished as possible so that your intent translates effortlessly.
- Maximize Visibility
One of the best ways to craft flawless branding and put your startup on the map is to maximize visibility. You’ll achieve this through the use of social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest) and marketing campaigns. This will not only spread your company across the vast internet landscape, but it will increase visibility and target demographic. Each social media platform offers a unique and crucial point of connection with your audience and potential customers. Each serves a particular purpose and has its strong points and weak points. To diversify your connection and relationship with your customers, you’ll want to use various social media to accomplish different outcomes. Your branding will also need to be consistent and distinguishable throughout all platforms. Make your startup well rounded and tackle all possible social platforms possible to grow your identity and connect with your audience.
With these four crucial branding strategies, you’ll set your startup up for success. Consistency, defined language and tone, excellent graphic design and strong social media will all garner the reaction and attention needed to thrive in today’s competitive market.