Startups deal with challenges that are different from those faced by older businesses. Although full of passion, drive and energy, startups usually don’t have enough time or money to invest into branding. Nonetheless, it is crucial to start branding early on, if only to build immediate brand equity that an be leveraged on in the future.
What Is Branding?
As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s more than having a professionally designed website and business cards. These are definitely important, but something far more crucial must be define. The good news is, it won’t cost money.
According to the Business Dictionary, branding is a process that involves creating a unique name and image of a product in the mind of the consumer, mostly through consistently themed advertising. On top of that, it is a way of giving the product an established differentiated presence in the market, attracting customers and their loyalty. Therefore, a startup business owner must think deep into the image that will embody its brand in the minds of customers. Before deciding on this image, the business owner should first define two things – what’s unique about the business and what unique value it offers.
Benefits of a Good Branding Strategy
Businesses have a good number of benefits to expect from an effective branding stragegy. For one, brand design catches the attention of consumers. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can be charged for a business’ products or services. Good branding brings less direct competition. Once a brand is established as a good one, it will encourage repeat buying and become as influential to the business as acquisitions, investments, talent and partnerships. There may be more specific benefits offered by branding, depending on the type of business, but the ones stated above are the most evident.
Creating a Good Brand
It has to be memorable.
Brands that stand out, win. Branding that plays it too safe defies its own purpose. The idea is to make the brand unique from competition, instead of just going with the flow.
It should come with a clear value proposition.
A value proposition that is too shallow or general will fail. For instance, excellent customer service is desirable to consumers. The problem is when everyone starts claiming it as their value proposition. To be effective, a value proposition must be unique. It should provide benefits that people will probably not expect.
It should be consistent.
What actually makes branding work is consistency. The message conveyed by a brand should be one and the same, in order for it to be embedded in consumers’ consciousness. Having different messages is confusing and reduces potential brand equity.
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