Business is all about perception! What sets a business apart is the perceived image of the product you sell, and branding is the strategy to create that image!
It is the power of branding in today’s crowded business space that necessitated the article by Areva Martin titled “why your brand plan is more important than your business plan”. Many startups have neglected branding to their own peril, they focus more on cash flow, cost, profit, etc. instead of creating a brand that connects people and make them to buy more. Branding goes beyond logo design, we’re talking about your whole company, what you stand for, what you’re about and what you believe in. A brand is the perceived image of the product you sell, and branding is the strategy to create that image.
In business today, perception is all that matters. Why will 10 companies package and sell water and yet people will have preference? This is a product that tastes the same and fulfills the same purpose. It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the feelings that consumers develop towards the company’s product. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered when exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message communicated. Take Airbnb for example, the US travel company that is disrupting the hotel industry through their brand message (“anywhere you travel don’t just go there, live there”) gives customer a perception of hospitality and connectedness. Making the customer feel there is more than the usual.
Now that you know the power of branding, here are 8 tips to brand your startup;
1. Have a big picture:
A successful brand starts with a vision. You need to have ideas of what you want your business to represent or symbolize. Never forget that your business must appeal emotionally and have something it represents that gives it uniqueness.
2. Know your target market:
Many startups miss it at this point, by trying to be everywhere without a clear perception of who will need their products or services. You must answer the question “who am I trying to reach?” Once this is determined focus all your apparatus towards the identified market. Do a survey with your target market, try to understand what they want and identify ways to improve your products or services.
What do you want the world to think of your business? First impression counts, make sure you get it right. There will be no other opportunity to create a high image of your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are working from your garage or with slippers, the question is how do you want to be seen? As a big corporation with structure and expertise or as a novice with poor quality. From your site to your space a customer can be turned away.
Never make the mistake of relying on perception without a corresponding quality product or service. Branding can only bring more customers but its quality service and products that will keep them. No business can grow without repeat purchases. You must learn the skill of meeting and exceeding your customer expectations by creating magical moments not murderous moments.
5. Have a message:
Your business needs a message that will capture your brand values. This gives you a brand identity and in few words tells the world what your business is about and what you offer. Your message must be your USP (unique selling point), what you are offering in the marketplace that no other business is offering. Earlier, we talked about Airbnb with their “anywhere you travel don’t just go there, live there”, how about Glo with their “grandmaster of data” mantra. You must get one.
6. Develop a sleek and powerful site:
In today’s world your site might be the first interface with your potential customers, you better make sure it is working. It must be efficient, catchy and able to provide the customers with everything they want including making purchases or orders.
7. Get a powerful brand image:
You may have to review your business name, logo, colours, seal, etc. Ensure it is trendy, appealing and captivating. Some startups’ brand kits are designed so poorly that customers will not want to identify with the product or service. Take Coca-Cola for example, they have been able to get into our head with their powerful brand image, kits and message.
8. Harness the power of social media:
One need not to emphasize this. Current data shows that there are over 2 billion people on Facebook alone and from projections many more people are getting on the media. Nowadays people get to know about products and services on social media, book appointments, make orders and the likes. To be out of social media is to struggle. Facebook and other platforms have business platforms that can be used connect with and provide solutions to your customers.