Essentials of Branding for Startups
Startups deal with challenges that are different from those faced by older businesses. Although full of passion, drive and energy, startups usually don’t have enough time or money to invest into branding. 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?
Contrary to what most people think, logo alone is not branding. It’s more than having a professionally designed website and business cards. While these are definitely important, something else that is far more crucial, should be done. The good news is, it won’t cost money.
The Business Dictionary defines branding as a process that gives a product a unique name and image in consumers’ minds, mainly through the use of advertising campaigns that follow a consistent format or theme. On top of that, it is a way of giving the product an established differentiated presence in the market, attracting customers and their loyalty. 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
There are many benefits awaiting businesses that implement a good branding strategy. Brand design captures buyers’ attention, for one. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can 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. Branding that plays it too safe defies its own 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 come with a clear value proposition.
A value proposition that is too shallow or general will fail. For instance, excellent customer service is desirable to consumers. 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.
Consistency is key.
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.