Branding plays a crucial role in startups – it can either make or break your newly formed business. Building advanced technology is useless without branding. It is necessary for budding businesses to form a connection with customers and get them talking about their brand.
Let me share 5 steps startups can implement in their branding strategy to stay unique and appealing to their audience:
1. Know Your Target Audience
To pilot your branding, you must acquire the complete knowledge of your target audience. You must ask these questions to yourself before branding:
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are your competitors?
- What problem does your company solve?
“Fact: Targeted advertisements are almost twice as effective as non targeted ads.”
Once you have a clear idea of who your target audience is, your branding will skyrocket. In short, it is crucial to target ideal customers to build a long-lasting startup’s identity. Moreover, it is equally vital to conducting surveys and online polls about your product and services to receive feedback from the customers so that you can enhance the user experience.
Cultivating a passionate customer base who can share their product experience and stories is the foundational pillar of branding. It can work if you have correctly identified your target market.
2. Sell Your Story
To successfully brand your startup, you must be able to sell your story. It is an essential aspect as in the early phase of your startup you will find it difficult to make a remarkable impression among the people.
“Fact: Around 78% of the end users perceive that companies who focus on custom content are more trustworthy than companies who simply churn out generic content.”
Building a brand story helps you to stay focused on your company identity and culture, it is also a powerful means to create a unique identity that your customers can connect with on a more personal level.
Let me share an excellent case study of Airbnb, a hospitality service provider company who used storytelling to become a competitive player in the hospitality market. The deep understanding of their audience has made them one of the most iconic brands of today.
In the year 2015, Airbnb used an animation video to share the story of approximately 550,000 travellers who had spent New Year’s Eve in one of their many available properties across 20,000 cities.
It is one fantastic example of a brand who uses data to tell engaging stories. Airbnb’s stories consistently resonate with their audience by showcasing real-life events that they care about, be it stories about travelling or discovering new experiences.
In short, successful branding is directly proportional to a successful story. You can create a credible brand by using storytelling as a marketing tool.
3. Refine Your Language And Image
The third step after identifying your target market and storytelling marketing is to pull together visual language and writing that can stay in the mind of the audience for a long time. Providing an extensive explanation of the minutiae can bore people, and you might end up losing them.
The best way is to refine your language so that you can easily define who you are and what you do. Try to keep it simple, clear and consistent. You must choose the name of a company that can emphasise the meaning of your brand. Furthermore, creating a new word (like Google) can also potentially become the language of an industry, and can be more catchy than a generic name.
“Fact: The right colour can boost viewership by 40% by making messaging easier to read and more visually appealing.”
Besides, looks also play a prominent role in branding your startup. Visual branding, fonts, colours, logos, etc. are important factors that determine people’s perceptions of a brand, and it’s often the first thing that catches their attention. When applied correctly, these elements can boost your brand awareness and establish the mood and company values that you want to convey to your target audience. In fact, in some instances where this method of branding is done correctly, it can garner a lot of attention.
4. Be Memorable
Creating memorable experiences can boost client engagement. By showcasing your brand creatively you help your customers to remember your brand for years to come. Standing out of the crowd is pivotal in making your brand memorable.
Some companies have taken steps towards becoming a cause-driven business. By finding a cause that ties closely with your brand and company values can be beneficial in building your reputation as a company that cares for and attracts cause-driven consumers.
In 2016, UK chocolate brand, Maltesers, featured disabled people in their mainstream advertisement.
“Fact: 80% of disabled people feel underrepresented by TV and other media platforms.”
Maltesers used the suppression of disabled people as a brand awareness strategy. They created a series of commercials based on real-life stories from disabled individuals, focusing on the universally awkward situations that unite us all. These commercials continue to be a resounding success for the brand, which helped them to achieve an 8.1% elevation in sales and saw it receive an unprecedented amount of views for an advertisement on YouTube.
According to the data, 57% of consumers said that Malteser’ ad campaign helped change the way they perceive disability. It is a prime example of utilising diversity in an authentic manner, backed by data, while having a real impact on people.
5. Maximise Your Visibility
After creating unique visual and verbal story, it’s time to leverage assets across digital channels and integrate your marketing campaigns.
The goal of reaching your target market can be achieved by delivering the message across multiple channels. Target marketing based on your user demographics can be beneficial in yielding higher traffic.
“Fact: Over 90% of marketers believe that their social marketing efforts have increased visibility for their business.”
Kickstart your social media marketing and use it as a way to reinforce your brand; think about “share-ability.” Sharing behind-the-scenes stories and user reviews can strengthen your brand image as it can be easily accessible and shared on various social media platforms. But, you should also take care to avoid common branding mistakes that people have succumbed to in the past.
In a nutshell:
Strong branding for your startup can only become a reality when the target market, brand storytelling, impressive visual and written language, and memorable campaigns work in synergy. Staying active on social media will also help in boosting sales. I hope that this article sheds some light on how to customise your branding to enhance the user experience and generate a passionate customer base who can advocate on your behalf, thus creating more traffic and growth for your startup.
By Cowan Satler