Why Brand Development of Startup Companies Is So Important
Branding comes down to what your customers say about you – not what you say about you.
What is branding?
A brand isn’t just a logo, a name, a specific design, or a slogan. In fact, your brand isn’t even your products or the services you provide.
Branding is all of the above, but it also is the experience that your customers have when they use whatever it is that you provide them with. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when your company’s name is mentioned. It’s how they feel when they use your products or services, and the utility and benefit that they get from doing so.
I have a great product or service. Why should I worry about branding?
Whatever it is you provide, whether it’s something that is as durable as long-lasting power tools or something as transitory as a spa treatment or a vacation, all products and services have specific lifecycles. However, your brand lasts beyond that, and it is your brand that people will remember long after they’ve already bought from you. If you have a great product but pitch it to people the wrong way, they may never buy from you again. Even if they do, one bad review or one negative customer experience is all it takes to lose a customer for life.
However, if you develop your brand, and always deliver a specific level of quality, durability, convenience, or even style, then you’ll have people coming back for more whenever they run out of whatever it is you are providing them with. That’s what branding is all about: developing customers for life, instead of getting by on one-off sales.
How should I differentiate my brand?
Brand development is important for creating value, and for connecting with your target audiences. Not every product is purchased because of its functionality, or even its price. Yes, price is definitely an important factor when it comes to branding, but many people spend money on goods or services specifically because they are more expensive and out of the reach of most people, or because they convey a sense of luxury, class, or style.
When you set out to develop your brand, you should strive to create a name for yourself that stands out in the marketplace and makes people feel like your products or services are an absolutely essential part of their lives. This means convincing them that they are that much better off by buying from you, that your goods or services remove specific pain-points that make their day go by much more easily, or that just using what you’re producing is fun in and of itself.
Where do I start?
Because branding is more than just your logo, your motto, your typeface, and whatever it is you provide, getting your branding strategy right can be tricky. The concepts that drive your business, the culture that makes it thrive, the talent that runs it, and even your audience, will together all have an impact on what your brand turns out to be. The factors below are key when it comes to getting your branding right.
Have a unique selling proposition. Know what it is you want to do. What is the purpose of your business? Can you summarize it in a short, simple sentence? What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to add value in the lives of your customers? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be in a great position to not only strive towards a defined goal, but you’ll be able to explain your mission and vision to others as well.
Narrow down your target audience. The easiest way to fail is to try to please everyone all of the time. Know who your buyers are, or whom you want to sell to. Define your target market, learn more about them, tailor your ads, your product, even your marketing language and colors to the kinds that work well with your chosen demographic, and start slicing out a very well-defined niche for yourself.
Don’t skimp on quality. Your logo is what your customers are most likely to remember about you, but don’t think that your website (which is probably going to be the first point of contact your customers have with you) or the packaging/presentation of your products or services (which will have a lasting impression) don’t count. Every point of contact and every interaction with your clients is an opportunity to convey a sense of usefulness, value, and quality to them. Get the basics right each step of the way and you’ll have a more robust brand name developing for you slowly over time.
Perfect your content marketing strategy. Even if you have a great brand, you need to stay relevant. Content marketing will do this for you. By answering customer questions, writing thought pieces or reviews relevant to your industry, and always being in mind will help you become the go-to company in your specific line of work.
Reach out to the community. Create contests, give away prizes, and interact with and engage your users. When you have customers generating content for you, such as positive reviews, case studies, testimonials, online shares, and other forms of interaction, you not only build trust with new customers, but you help your best customers play a critical role in your branding strategy: that of passionate advocate.
Developing an identity that resonates with your user base is what successful branding is all about. Brand development aims to create strong brands that stand out in the marketplace and position the company, as well as its goods or services, as irreplaceable components of life. Branding is essential for running a successful business that is known in the marketplace as a provider of high-value goods and services, but it isn’t the product alone that sells. Brands that are self-promoting, that convey the message of what they stand for without saying anything, that promise – and deliver – a unique experience, is what makes an average business good, and a good business a great one.