At the start of your business trip, find out why you should develop your branding strategy, not just your brand logo.
Welcome to the start-up roller coaster world, where exhilarating heights, a few moments of eek and many life-changing experiences are guaranteed.
But with all the growth and build-up of every startup, there’s a constant that can help your business focus on the essentials and maintain its integrity, and that’s your brand.
What exactly is a brand?
According to marketing guru Seth Godin, the brand is:
“The set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that together make up a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
In other words, your brand exists in the minds of your customers and it is the result of everything your business does that impresses them.
A strong brand is not about colors and superficial designs, but works like DNA across your business. It reflects and unites your values, your practices and why you started this epic journey.
Here are 7 brand tips for companies that think about brands for the first time.
1. Prioritize your brand from day one
If you’re still in the early stages of your startup, branding can be a good thing because you focus on product marketing and revenue generation to prove your value to investors.
But as this branding advice for small businesses explains, the nature of your brand cannot be overlooked, especially in these crucial early days.
Trademarks can arise and develop spontaneously, unless you are consciously trying to define and direct them. It’s much easier if your business is just getting started and your team is small and open to new ideas.
However, developing a consistent brand is not just about future security. It can also help you stand out in a crowded market and make your business more memorable for potential customers from day one.
2. Define what influences your brand
Your brand is the personality of your company and is expressed in various ways like a human personality. This is reflected in your logo, your brand colors, your graphic style and your tone. Then there are your brand values - the characteristics that characterize your business and the thinking, feeling and behavior of the people in your business.
Of course you are not robots, which means that your brand is nuanced and changed because it reflects the people and personalities that make up your small business. It can be helpful to think of your brand as a summary or description of your personality, rather than a rule of who you should be at all times.
3. Think of your target audience
Your brand has both an internal and an external role. Internally, this helps to unify your business goals and give employees a sense of connectedness and purpose. Externally, your brand determines how your business is perceived in the minds of your target audience.
You probably already have an idea of who is interested in your products, especially if you recently created a business plan. They will be a big part of your target audience.
However, there are also target groups that you may not think of. These can be people who want to work for your business, who may be more interested in your business and the types of skills you use than your products. Then there are journalists, bloggers and influencers who want to present your business in a story or work with you on specific content.
There will also be audiences that you can not necessarily predict when you start. Customers can find ways to benefit from your products or services that are not what they originally wanted. Therefore, it is important to be open and attentive to get an up-to-date picture of the different brands of your brand audience groups.
4. Evaluate your brand from an objective point of view
Objectivity is an important quality for startups, as Hubspot points out. It’s easy to fall in love with the idea behind your business and ignore other reactions, such as confusion (“What’s this?”), Failure to realize the benefits (“Why in do I need it? “) And distrust (who are you anyway?)
Focusing on the overall brand experience, including product concept, sales history and interaction with your marketing channels, is essential to getting the right result.
At MOO, we have the privilege of providing printing services to a variety of creative businesses, start-ups and independent businesses. This gives us insight into many different approaches in terms of brand and design. Here are some brand inspirations from three great entrepreneurs.
5. Combine branding and marketing
Of course, your marketing strategy and your brand are perfectly suited. So when you start, it’s a good idea to develop both in parallel. As a small business, you have a natural advantage here because you have fewer staff and are more agile than a large business – everyone fits into one meeting room.
If you are working together, you will need to think about the marketing channels you will be using, such as: Social media platforms, email, website, events, speech or content marketing, and what role they play in your plans. Each of these channels will express your brand and bring useful information to your audience about how your business is perceived.
There are many ways that marketing can influence the perception of your brand. For example, the design of your marketing materials, the frequency of different types of communication such as e-mails or tweets, the topics you cover in content marketing activities such as blogs or video channels, and the tone of voice you use.
Marketing channels can also play a leading role in the brand. Increase brand awareness, d. H. Consumer understanding of your brand and its interpretation is often a strategic goal for new businesses. You can judge by listening to conversation channels, such as social media, to your audience.
6. Distinguish your brand from the competition
Your brand reflects who you are as a business, so it’s just you. However, there is no denying that certain industries tend to develop a common brand “language” in which certain colors, fonts, illustration styles or even a tone are typical in many companies.
It should not be a bad thing, but it is certainly something that you are aware of and makes a conscious decision. You have to decide if you want to use the brand trends in your industry or if you want to set the course with something truly unique.
If you are a design company, you also work with customer brands and interpret them in your own style. See how three designers bring brands into their work to strike a balance between their own style and that of their customers.
7. Use audits to keep your brand in top condition
Once you’ve developed your brand and your business has been up and running for some time, it’s a good idea to regularly register for a brand review every six months or every year. A markup audit is an internal process that you can use to track the consistency of your brand, its business, and your customers’ perceptions.
After all, your brand reflects your way of working, and all in all, your startup has grown into something bigger, bolder and brighter within a year.