Ultimate Startup Branding Guide | Seven Ways Small Business Brands Can Build Better Relationships
Ultimate Startup Branding Guide | It’s one thing to have your logo designed and to print your first set of business cards. But actually building a memorable brand that stands out from the crowd? That’s something entirely different! An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does branding mean? Should you even care?
A brand is the sum total of the experiences your existing and potential clients have doing business with you. A strong brand communicates what your business does, how it does it, and at the same time, reinforces trust and credibility. In other words, branding is one of the most important tasks a small business owner can do, since it could be the critical difference between gaining and losing sales. If you aren’t sure where to even begin in branding your business, here are a few tips to help you get started.
No Business Is Too Small For Branding | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Small businesses are in a unique position to provide valuable customer experiences. Their products and services are often niche; the target audience is very defined; and business operations are agile and unconstrained by all the corporate rules and processes. Consistent, strategic branding from the moment you start your business leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your products or services that enables you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.
Write Down Your Brand Messaging | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Standing out means being different. If your brand is going to be strong, you have to be able to determine exactly what it is that makes what you do unique. What are the most important messages you want to communicate about your brand? What sets your business apart from others in your industry? What about your company makes it the one that a potential client should choose? What makes you different and original? Every employee should be aware of these brand attributes.
Consistency And Clarity Are Key | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Actively building your brand requires consistency. You have to repeatedly send the same messages, use the same visual elements and deliver the same positive outcomes for your clients in order to stand out. Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout to ensure consistency and boost brand exposure.
Create A Voice to Accompany Your Message | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
It’s not just what you say, how you say it counts as well. Your brand’s voice is the language, tone and rhythm that you use in all your communications. Many small businesses mistakenly change their messaging depending on their audience. For example, a startup might take a more serious tone on their website but a very lighthearted tone on their Facebook fan page. This will only confuse existing and potential clients. From business cards and logo to email newsletters and brick-and-mortar signage, all of your printed and online communications and sales materials should look, feel and sound like they come from the same source.
Keep Your Promises | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Although this may sound like common sense, you’d be surprised how many business owners tarnish relationships with their clients by failing to keep their promises. Happy clients who feel good about doing business with you are your best source of referrals. They will never return to you, or refer you to someone else, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
Deliver Value | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Are you the innovative trend-setter in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be everything to everyone. Value doesn’t always mean lowest price. You can focus on product leadership (having the best products in the marketplace, like Apple), operational excellence (having the lower prices in the marketplace, like Ikea), or great customer service (Virgin, Zappos). You can also focus on a combination of those things.
Focus On Your Product | Ultimate Startup Branding Guide
Some companies stop focusing on building great products and services when they become successful. This is a serious mistake. Even a strong brand will suffer when it creates average or below average products or services. Remember, even the most outgoing and charming small business owner is never going to bring clients back, unless the product or service they provide delivers and exceeds expectations. Don’t lose sight of your product – keep refining it, testing new offerings, and making sure you always put product first, not the money it brings in.