Branding for Startups: The Essentials
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. Nonetheless, it is crucial to start branding early on, if only to build immediate brand equity that an be leveraged on in the future.
Contrary to what many people think, branding is beyond a business logo. It’s not merely a matter of having a good website or professionally designed business cards. These are definitely important, but something far more crucial must be define. And the good thing is, it’s free.
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. Furthermore, it is a way of establishing a differentiated presence in the market that is attractive to customers and encourages loyalty among them. Hence, it is important for a business owner to think hard as to the image that will embody his brand in consumers’ minds. Before deciding on this image, the business owner should first define two things – what’s unique about the business and what unique value it offers.
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 itself can directly influence the pricing of products and services as well. Good branding brings less direct competition. A brand also encourages repeat buying behavior after it has been established as a good one, and can be as vital to a business as acquisitions, investments, partnerships and talents. There are can be more branding benefits specific to each type of business, but the above are the most common.
Creating a Good Brand
It has to be memorable.
Brands that stand out, win. Too safe branding defies the very purpose it stands for. 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 that is too shallow or general will fail. For example, excellent customer service is something people want. However, there are too many brands claiming it as their value proposition. To be effective, a value proposition must be unique. It should provide benefits that people will probably not expect.
It must be consistent.
What actually makes branding work is consistency. A brand can only be embedded in the minds of consumers if it conveys one and the same message through all of its campaigns. Having different messages is confusing and reduces potential brand equity.