Creating and building a brand is a vital step in the startup process for any business. You need to have a brand voice and identity to reach investors and customers alike.
It’s all about working out what your business looks like to the public and who you are speaking to with the product or service you’re selling.
The True Meaning Of A Brand
Many see a brand identity as just the company name and its logo. But branding is so much more than that. Your brand is the pivotal link between what you’re selling and who you are selling it to.
Yes, you need to have a logo that’s easily recognizable, as well as colors, fonts and designs that people immediately link to your business. These are aspects of a brand. They’re not the whole brand.
A company’s brand is much like a persona—a personality for your company that people can relate to and have an emotional connection with. A well-defined brand will evoke feelings in your target audience whenever they see your logo or any marketing material from your business.
4 Tips For Building a Startup’s Brand
As you can see, having a strong brand is vital if you want your startup to succeed. This means taking the right amount of time to put in the research and building something that will grow with your business.
- Know Your Target Market
It all starts with understanding who you are selling to. You cannot create a brand in a void, with no understanding of your target market. If you do, you’re unlikely to have a brand that sparks any kind of real connection with your potential customers.
Start by defining who your ideal customer is. For example, a bespoke sneaker startup will be looking at a customer who is street smart, has an edgier fashion sense, and has disposable income for items like designer shoes. Then, delve deeper into that person’s tastes, preferences and lifestyle. Ask yourself what kind of music they listen to, what kind of car they drive, where they like to hang out, and what slang they use.
All of these points will help you to understand who your customers are and what they like and dislike. Once you know this, it will help you to create a brand that connects with them.
- Pick Your Personality
Now that you know who you’re talking to with your startup, you need to build how you’ll start the conversation. This means creating a personality for your brand.
Use your ideal customer to inform your brand’s personality. This personality needs to be on the same wavelength as your customers, but needs to show that you have the answers to the customer’s needs.
For example, in a bespoke sneaker company, your customer is the kind of person who wants to wear these types of shoes, while your brand persona is the person who is already wearing them. See, there’s a slight distinction between customer and brand, but they are intrinsically linked so that your customer can immediately feel the connection between the two.
When building your brand’s personality, be specific. Use your target audience research to inform the type of tone used in your marketing material, the words you use, the music, and the overall style.
- Use Colors and Designs That Evoke the Right Emotions
This is where you get to the point of creating a logo and branding material for your company. This step is called building your corporate identity (CI), and it includes the colors, fonts and designs that you use across all of your marketing material.
Your selection here is a critical point in building your brand because these colors and designs need to tell the story of what your company stands for and who your startup is looking to connect with. This is also why it’s so important to do steps one and two first so that you know what persona you’re trying to portray.
Back to the bespoke sneaker startup example—you need to speak to that fashion-savvy, street-smart customer. This could mean using graffiti-style fonts for your logo. Or it could mean portraying urban luxury through colors like gold and red.
It’s important to note that colors all evoke certain emotions and there is actually a science behind choosing which colors you put into your logo and branding called Color Theory. Not only should you pick colors that evoke the emotions you want, but you also need to pick colors that tell a story together.
- Keep Your Brand Consistent Across all Touchpoints
Finally, you want to ensure that your brand story is consistent with your target audience from their very first interaction with your startup through to finalizing their transaction and beyond. Consistency is one of the most important considerations in branding because it provides certainty and continually reinforces your message within your target market.
This means that all of your marketing material must show the same style and persona. Everything from your website and social media accounts to your product photographs, packaging, and sales documents like invoices all need to have the same look and feel. Each time a customer or potential customer comes into contact with your startup, they need to know immediately that it’s your company.
Now, you can see why branding tools like your logo and colors are so important and are often referred to as a company’s brand. They’re the tools that convey the brand message.
Branding Your Startup is a Conversation Between You and Your Customers
Remember, your startup’s brand is how you communicate with your customers. It needs to be rooted in who you’re talking to and who you want to sell to. It also needs to be created at the very beginning of your startup so that you know which direction to move in.
Having a strong brand identity is how you’ll set your startup apart from your competitors. Once you’ve established this identity, you’ll gain traction in the market and become a brand that people recognize and trust.