How to Shape Your Startup into a Brand
According to Seth Godin, a brand is defined as:
“The expectations, stories, memories, and relationships that account for a consumer’s choice of a product or service over another.”
In simple terms, a brand is what your business does to create a memorable impression in the mind of your audience.
From color to logo design, product selection fonts, and other factors, contributes to your brand. But more significantly, it is a reflection of your business values, practices, and the motivation for why you started on the journey.
That said, here some steps you can follow to build your brand.
Steps to Build Your Startup Brand
Essentially, what you need to build a brand is a business name, a logo, colors, fonts, and brand personality. But it’s not as straightforward. You need a lot of research before starting to determine your target audience and understand your competitors.
Additionally, it’s essential to humanize your brand so that your consumers can not only relate to it but also trust it to solve their problems.
Here’s what you need to work on when building your brand:
Research is the Foundation to Success
Researching your target market and your competitors are the first step to building a brand. It can not only help you validate your business idea, by understanding your audience’s pain points, but also highlights the principal players in your industry.
With competitive analysis, you can answer the following questions for your brand:
- Who is your top competition?
- What are they offering?
- Are the customers’ needs being met?
It would help if you also considered highlighting the demographic of your target market that would be easy to reach and acquire, how your customers speak, and their interests, when researching. Knowing your competition and audience would also help you establish the unique selling point that sets you apart from the rest.
Additionally, since a brand defines how your consumers perceive your company, researching also helps to unite your brand with your business values.
Aside from the people buying your products, your brand strategy could also target influencers, bloggers, journalists, and individuals who might be more interested in your way of work. Thus, it’s essential to research your potential market to understand the audience demographics, as well as the individual buyer personas you could reach.
Define Your Brand Personality
A brand reflects your business’ personality, which like human personalities, is showcased in various forms. From your logo to your color scheme, fonts, and more, all speak of your brand personality.
There are also your values that define how you conduct business and your company’s environment, its employees, and more.
That said, these things are ever-changing for a startup as it grows and expands. Thus, it can be more beneficial to consider defining your brand by who you are at your best than who you are in general.
Additionally, to ensure the success of your brand, you need to give it direction and focus. You can ask yourself:
- What’s your positioning statement?
It’s a statement that highlights your products or services, target market, and your unique selling point or value proposition.
- What words define your brand personality?
Like human personalities, identify what set of words define your brand and which would attract your target market?
- What metaphors or concepts are reflective of your brand?
Personifying your brand through a metaphor or concept will help you visualize your brand’s vibe and the tone that you want to set. It will also help you stay consistent throughout your branding strategy.
Bring Your Brand to Life
To shape your startup into a brand, you need to have a set strategy to follow. It’s vital to help you visualize your goals and stay on track. That said, your strategy needs to focus on these three attributes of your brand:
A logo is one of the most central aspects to consider in your branding efforts. It is the visual or graphical representation of your brand that people identify with your company. That said, it should be unique, memorable, and scalable to fit on all platforms that you target.
It can be a text or an abstract design like Walmart and Google Chrome logos, respectively. Conversely, you can try letter-mark logos like IBM or an icon like Twitter or Apple’s.
- Brand Colors
Aside from deciding on your brand name, how you choose to present it to your target market is just as essential. Meaning, you need to consider its typography and colors.
Colors not only define your brand but also help convey your brand personality and the promises you want to communicate to your audience. For example, blue represents trust, strength, and dependability, which is what brands like Dell, HP, Orient, Walmart, and WordPress guarantee.
That said, your choice of color for your brand name will help you stay consistent with everything you do, and distinguish you from your competitors.
A catchy slogan is another branding element that can help you resonate with your audience. It’s a brief but descriptive tagline that is useful on platforms like social media, your website, business cards, and more.
There are infinite possibilities at hand when it comes to writing a slogan. But mostly, it needs to be short, catchy, and should create a strong impression. You can follow Redbull as an example and use a metaphor, ‘Redbull gives you wings,’ or adopt an attitude like Nike’s ‘Just do it.’
Be creative and write a rhyme for your slogan or describe it in literal terms as Folgers Coffee and Aritzia, respectively.
As a startup, it’s essential to keep an open mind and be objective about your brand. Consider it from the consumer’s perspective than as an entrepreneur. It will help you ensure your target market understands who you are, your brand, and how it benefits them.
Right from the get-go, focus on the complete experience you want your brand to provide. From product conceptualization to the sales journey and interactions with all your marketing channels, assess your brand strategy from an objective perspective.
Branding and Marketing Strategy Go Hand-in-Hand
Branding and marketing strategies naturally amalgamate together, which means it’s best to take the two side by side when you’re starting. Your targeted marketing channels, for instance, are a gateway to gathering customer perspective on your brand, following which you can alter your branding strategy.
Consider marketing an extension of your branding that impacts how the target market perceives your brand. From the design of your marketing elements to the tone used in your content, including emails, tweets, blogs, or videos all influence your branding.
That said, marketing can be used to boost your branding efforts, primarily the awareness of your brand among the audience.
Shape Your Startup Brand!
For a startup, branding is not a luxury but a necessity, if you want to leave your mark in the target market and stand out from your competitors. Plus, it helps you delve deeper into the details of your business, understanding your audience, their pain points, and how to address them best.
That said, it’s not a one and done deal that you can leave after a while. You need to stay updated with the market trends, learn industry insights, and conduct competitor analysis to tune up your branding efforts to keep your brand resonating with your audience, the way you want.