Branding is a key differentiator and a major reason why some startups are super successful while others are not. Beyond building a cool new piece of tech, you need branding your startup. Startups need to connect with people and get them to buy into their yet-to-be-proven solution.
Here are five things startups should do to differentiate themselves effectively with branding.
1 – Know Your Target Market
The first step to branding your startup is gaining a complete understanding of your target market. Who are you trying to reach? Think about who you want to experience your brand.
Once you’ve determined your target audience, everything in your branding should connect back to it. In short, your ideal customers should become part of your startup’s identity—after all, you can’t succeed without them.
A failure to connect with your target market will lead to long-term failure; therefore, it’s important to constantly receive feedback to determine how your customers perceive your brand and product.
2 – Sell Your Story
If you’re interested in successfully branding your startup, you must sell your story. A major challenge you will face as part of the startup phase is people may not instantly recognize who you are or what you do.
Building your story not only helps you focus on your company identity and culture, but it’s a memorable way for your clients and customers to identify with your brand on a more personal level. Sell an experience before selling a product.
Successful branding is closely tied to a successful story, and by using that story as a jumping off point, you add to your own credibility.
3 – Polish Your Language and Image
Now that you’ve identified your target market and put together your story, you need to pull together visual language and writing that resonates. When you ask some entrepreneurs what it is they do, they offer lengthy explanations of the minutiae of their startups.
Refine your language so that you can easily define who you are and what you do. Keep it brief. Keep it clear. Be consistent.
Made up words can also potentially become the language of an industry (think Google), and can be more memorable than a generic name.
Looks are also important for branding your startup. When it comes to visual branding, fonts, colors, logos, etc. all contribute to your image and purpose. When applied correctly, these elements can quickly define and communicate the mood and values you want to give your target audience.
4 – Be Memorable
Create experiences that are hard to forget. Use your brand to get creative and create something that your customers will remember. Everyone can offer great customer service and a passionate team, but what is it that makes you stand out from the crowd?
Some companies have made moves towards becoming cause-driven businesses. By finding a cause that ties closely with your brand, you can build your reputation as a company that cares and attract cause-driven consumers.
5 – Maximize Your Visibility
So, you’ve created a unique visual and verbal story—now it’s time to leverage assets across digital channels and integrate your marketing campaigns.
The goal is to reach your target market through a coordinated message across multiple channels. Target marketing to your user demographics, which sounds obvious, but it’s necessary. Luxury brands don’t sell at discount stores, for example.
If you link everything together: target market, brand story, visual and written language, and memorable campaigns… creating marketing assets for all the platforms you’re active on should be simple and your brand will feel aligned.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, this sheds some light on how to best tailor your branding to maximize customer experience and generate passionate customers who can advocate on your behalf, thus creating more traction and growth for your startup.