In a highly competitive environment, it’s impossible to keep startup afloat without proper branding. There are lots of similar solutions available in the market, and customers tend to choose the products with well-known brand names. That is why branding your startup is crucial.
If you don’t want your startup project fail, just like 90% of all startups do, you should create a strong brand. It’s the only right way to make your project stand out from competitors and to add value to your offer. So if you want to learn more about the key fundamentals of startup branding, just keep reading.
Main purpose of startup branding
First of all, you should answer the question of what is the real purpose of your startup. Why have you decided to bring your innovative idea to life? You want to change the world for better, not just to make lots of money, isn’t it?
If you want your startup project to succeed, you should forget about using cliché phrases and standard answers. They will not help to win the attention of the wide audiences.
There are lots of competitive companies like yours, which offer similar solutions. So which features make your product unique? Which aspects of customers’ lives are you going to improve?
To build a strong brand, you should brainstorm answers on these questions and come up with a catchy, memorable tagline. If you wonder how a perfect motto should look like, take a glance at the following brilliant examples:
- “Have an idea? Bring it to life” Freelancer
- “Share authentic travel experience” Couchsurfing
- “A ride when you need one” Lyft
- “Belong anywhere” Airbnb
Now let’s talk about your target audience. Are you going you sell your products to businesses or customers? You should answer this principle question right here and now because there is a great difference between B2B and B2C branding.
If you operate in the B2B sector, you should find the answers on the following questions:
- Which companies are interested in buying your product (wholesalers, distributors, transportation companies, legal firm, non-profits, etc.)?
- What is the size of these companies: big, medium, small?
- Who is responsible for decision making regarding buying products like yours in these companies: CEO, procurement manager, finance manager, etc.?
If you choose B2C sector, you should do is to research the demographics of your buyers:
- Education level
- Marital status
- Level of income
The next step is to analyze the preferences of your potential buyers. For instance, if you are going to promote your product on social media, you should find out which social networking sites your target audience use the most. To craft an excellent strategy, you should get to know at which time of the day they check feed updates and how many hours they spend online daily.
Also, you should analyze shopping behavior. You should find out how often do your potential buyers shop online, and how much money do they spend on products similar to yours.
In addition, you should get to know which attitudes potential buyers have towards your product and your niche in general. For example, while Uber and Lyft are getting more and more popular, some people still have negative attitudes toward these ridesourcing services. You should know about the issues like this in advance to design your branding strategy in the right way.
Brand tone of voice
Once you define your purpose and your target audience, you can create your brand’s tone of voice. Let’s take a more in-depth look at this critical step of branding strategy development.
So, what is “voice”? In short, it’s a core brand message you want to deliver. What is the “tone of voice”? It’s the way you communicate your message to the target audience.
In other words, when you craft your brand message, you should think not only about what to say but also how to do it in the right way. And if you want to set an appropriate tone of voice, you should put your target audience first. You should make your message understandable and appealing to the specific group of businesses and/or customers.
Do you want to get a more detailed explanation of what is the brand tone of voice is all about? Let’s consider one simple example to make everything clear.
Let’s say you are a chef at a famous Italian restaurant, and you organize various pizza workshops. There are three categories of participants, who attend your workshops: professional chefs, housewives, and children. Obviously, if you want to teach all these people to cook delicious pizza, you should find a personal approach to every group:
- Professional chefs know all cooking terms and basic principles of pizza preparation. So, talking to them, you should use an expert tone of voice.
- Housewives have an idea of how to cook pizza, but they are not familiar with basic terminology. For this reason, you should use only simple words and explain every step in details.
- Kids know nothing about cooking, and it’s rather challenging to grab and retain their attention. So if you run a pizza workshop for little chefs, you should set a fun, entertaining tone of voice.
As you can see, the tone of the voice entirely depends on the target audience. The better you will understand your buyers, the more suitable tone of voice you will create.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s so true when it comes to branding. According to statistics, the human brain processes visual information is in 60,000 faster than text and it can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. Also, it’s known that and 95% of buying decisions made by shoppers are subconscious.
It means if you make your logo more recognizable, it will help you to generate higher sales. So yes, it’s crucially important to create an unordinary visual identity, which will make your startup stand out from the crowd.
First of all, you should design a logo. This visual element should look simple, yet memorable. When working on the logo design, you should pay attention to every single detail:
- Style of the font
- Size of the font
Today, simplicity is in trend. For this reason, you shouldn’t make your logo look sophisticated or quirky. The abstract and minimalist design with clean lines is the best option for the modern startup project.
After you create a logo, you should design the following elements of visual identity:
- Email templates
- Landing page
- Business card, leaflets, brochures, etc.
If you are not online, you don’t exist. If your startup has no website, you cannot build a strong brand. So if you haven’t launched your site yet, you should do it right now.
Your website must be user-friendly. Its design must be catchy. As soon as users get to the page, they should get an idea of what is your project is all about.
According to the recent studies, 51, 3% of all traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, and – only 48, 7% from desktops. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to choose the mobile-first design instead of responsive design. There is no sense to build a website for desktop users, and then adapt it to the small screens, when a more effective solution is available.
Presence on social media
It’s impossible to imagine the modern world without social media. So if you want to let the world know about your startup project, you should grow your online presence using popular social networking sites.
Your choice, which social platform to use, should always depend on the preferences of your buyers. In most cases, if you target businesses, you should create accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you target the end users, your startup should be present on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Once social media profiles are created, you should start producing share-worthy content. You should publish posts, which will drive curiosity and make people talk about your project.
The best thing you can to do for your startup using social media is to start a challenge and make it go viral. It’s the easiest way to draw the public attention to your project, or to the problem you are going to solve.
Naturally, you shouldn’t forget to maintain your tone of voice and visual identity on social media. Absolute brand consistency across all channels of content distribution is a must.
The last, but not the least important fundamental key of branding your startup is all about the competition. In the modern world, where new technologies and solutions appear literally every day, it’s crucial to monitor the activity of your rivals continuously. You should make sure that you are always one step ahead of other market players.
You should watch what your competitors currently do, and which issues they face. You should be aware of all the changes and updates related to the following:
- Marketing strategy
- Pricing policy
- New product launches
- Relationship with investors
As you can see, the power of branding and the importance of startup brand identity are hard to overestimate. So if you want to take your startup to the next level, you should take branding seriously, and follow the advice given.
This is a guest blog post written by Elisa Abbot. You can find the biography of her below.
Elisa Abbot completed a degree in Computer Science. She finished her study last year but is already a true expert when it comes to presenting a text in a creative and understandable manner. Now she’s engaged in assessing translation services for PickWriters. Elisa is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for tips to share with her readers.