So, you’re a start-up and green around the ears. But, what differentiates you from other start-ups? To the idle observer, it’s probably, very little at this stage. Branding can change that.
Start-ups and small businesses often ignore branding, understanding it as something that should be left until later when the money starts rolling in. However, what happens if the money never rolls in? What happens if nobody cares enough about your brand to consider it any more than just another start-up?
Simply put, if you don’t want your business to be be an afterthought, your branding should not be an afterthought. Even if your cash strapped, we’ve a number of tips to help you ensure your start-up creates a distinctive brand.
Planning and evaluating where you are, who you want to target and how you are going to do this is the first step in branding. You need to evaluate whether there is room for others in the market and what line of approach you need to take before you even begin. Remember, you can’t be all things to all men, so choose a focus.
The competition will have some established strategies in your market and so piggybacking on these by performing some research is a great idea. By doing your research you can then decide things such as pricing, your place in the market and how you intend on approaching branding matters.
Get the Professionals in
Unless you’re a marketer, leave the branding to the professionals for best results. You don’t try and perform complex plumbing tasks; you hire a plumber, so why should branding be any different.
So many mistakes in branding and business in general are caused by emotion. Try and dethatch yourself at all times and always think of your target audience when branding. Would you customers like a certain logo? Would a particular product appeal to them? Ask yourself in an unattached manner as possible whether something would work or not.
Portray an Image
Your multimillion pound business may be based around you working in your pyjamas in your bedroom. However, you don’t want people to know this – perception is everything. First impressions count and you need to consider how you want your brand to appear. Tradeshows or taking part in industry shows at events venues can help get your name out thee too and build your brand
You need a message to differentiate you from the other competitors. Perhaps you’re a café with the best flat white in town, or maybe you’re a petrol station with a high quality service and employ people to fill motorist’s cars. Find out your difference or niche and then create an identity around it.
Keep your message simple and offer something that’s easy to understand, but impresses. Avoid strange logos and web layouts, or confusing online checkout areas. Familiarity works in branding terms, so eliminate anything that could put potential customers off. For example, the medical world uses colours heavily in branding and massively sees how people see the product – colours are simple buy hugely effective – take from this what you will.
What’s the best way to create familiarity? Consistency is the answer. Being consistent with your brand by setting guidelines ensures people become familiar and begin to trust your business. Consistency is pivotal in growing a brand. Look at franchises such as McDonalds or Starbucks – you get the same tried and tested thing the world over. This familiarity is one reason why franchises work time and time again and have far lower failure rates than other forms of business. On the other hand this consistency is something smaller franchises win with too. Tubzvendingfranchise.co.uk are one UK based company that franchises, using the consistent rules, guides, courses and hardware for all franchisees and see significant success from doing so.
Brands alter, change and evolve and you need to review your branding strategy to ensure that it’s at its very best. As a brand evolves from start-up to established business, things change and the way your brand is communicated is among this. Reviewing your brand regularly allows you to stay consistent and ensure everything is working well.
Wibe, a company with plenty of experience would suggest that one of the golden rules of branding is to never pretend you’re something you’re not. If you try and imply you offer high quality customer service, but deliver lacklustre offerings then that’s a falsehood and you will be found out. If you believe in what you do, then this will shine through in your branding.
New ventures need to understand that a brand begins when a business begins and you need to plan, order and portray what your business is about from the off for the very best long term impact.