We tend to think big when it comes to branding and any successful companies with strong brands. Plenty of corporate giants come to our mind, for instance: Apple, Google, Starbuck or Coca Cola. These large companies are killing it with brand-driven strategy and getting their branding right. While it’s easy to find strong branding guide for large corporations, it turns into a big challenge for small businesses. The same ideas of branding and branding advice are not always appropriate to entrepreneurship. Brand management is a daunting task for startups and they need to have a supportive branding guide on the side.
Role of Branding Guide in Entrepreneurship
Branding, as its most basic level, is the makeup and the personality of a brand, the look and the voice that people can feel and think of. The border between getting your branding right and wrong has no difference from success and failure. Good branding can lead to the perception that your products or your services are of high standard quality. On the contrary, lousy branding can give your consumers the impression that you’re careless and dishonest. The loss of trust becomes a kill shot for your startup and damage for any business.
For startups, branding is the single most leverageable factor. It is the reason why customers choose to pay more for some brands’ products than others. Having a useful branding guide is halfway successful in giving people a positive view of your company.
Startups need a branding guide, not only to survive and create trust within the marketplace, but also to improve employee pride and satisfaction. Working for a strongly branded company will make your employees more satisfied with their job and increase the level of pride in the work they do. All of these elements prove a critical role and an overall impact of branding guide on any startup business.
How To Get Your Branding Right
Building your brand is not just about how brilliant the owners are or how many things you try to put on branding. It is also about the ability to give real value. These following steps will show you how to get your branding right.
Identify your brand’s target audience
Without knowledge about your brand’s target audience, you will be pouring your money down the drain, and you could end up with a costly branding mistake. Knowing your audience is to know your brand’s position as your brand is there to serve them. Start to create your customer personas: who your ideal customers are, what they expect, how they think and where they spend their time.
####Define your brand Once you’ve identified your customer personas, it’s the exact time to define your brand. Defining your brand is to take your brand to the next level. You need a brand purpose and mission. The mission of the brand usually indicates a contribution to a purpose. Apple’s mission is “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” What is your brand mission?
The brand which states a clear mission and then fulfils the promise is likely to overstep any form of competition. Identify the goals of your business, and take all actions on your goals.
Pick the right name
Nothing speaks your brand personality like your brand name. Picking the right name is one of the stages that many startup founders are struggling with the most. The key is to be unique and different, but this doesn’t refer to a random name with a catchy sound. Think of everything related to your business, your mission, your goal, think of how you expect your customer to feel about that name. The next step is to write down literally all of those things, write them forward, backward, then cut them off or even try to emerge them.
Design your brand guideline
Brand guidelines are a set of standards set by the company to maintain the quality and credibility of the brand. Guidelines are essential for creating appropriate identities that help your brand standstill through the test of time. Guidelines will set your fonts, logo style, images, grammar tone, colour pallet, your point of view, etc. Your brand guideline acts as your visual presentation, enabling you to be consistent and to build your brand recognition.
Engage in social media
A unique voice is a good start but bringing that voice across social platforms is where you increase the presence of your brand. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Google listings and more. It’s the right time to utilize massive advantages of social media to spread your voice, make an approach to your customers and get them to come to your business.
Branding and Marketing: Two Wings of Startup Birdies
A strong brand is a crucial element for effective marketing. To successfully convert your business into a brand, the first step for marketers is that they must understand the brand basics, which means the core value that your brand gives. Marketers should walk through the brand’s existence and work on its concept. This is for strategically building brand recognition and reputation. A variety of tools can be used on social media, such as TV advertisements, the company website or social platforms.
In developing a marketing strategy, the marketers must also recognize and ideally agree with the company’s brand mission, since they often reflect the operating engine that makes the organization work. In other words, all the marketing tools and social media efforts should follow your brand guidelines. All images, insights, logos and designs that are used on social media should be coordinated with the brand. However, that is not to say that marketers should only keep replicating the same old tactics. A brand should be transformed but still remain relevant to its customers.
The idea of having a branding guide is indispensable but not many startup founders realize the importance of it or they simply forgot. Overall, what most of them are trying to do is to create good products, make sales and develop the business. Since consumers make sale decisions based on the brand, it’s important that every startup should sit down, go over their initial values, make sure you get your branding right and stick to it. Good branding is the art of building a legacy and creating an emotional connection with your customers.