DEFINING YOUR STARTUP BRAND
WHAT DOES BRANDING MEAN TO THE STARTUP AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNER?
Having deliberated at length on “positioning your startup” in the previous articles, understanding how to define your brand should be easy to grasp.
Many small businesses and startups do not only fail because of lack of funding it is also because they lack identity or do not have an identity. Three out of ten may level up to success. Knowing what separates those that fall or fail to survive from the few that levels up is what makes the difference. Branding your startup is a lot of work. A lot of creativity and brainstorming is required to strategically communicate your brand to your prospects.
A well defined brand and what it’s set out to offer to its customers are what sustains the success of the business. If there is no brand and no customers, there is no business; hence essential to business success.
But what is branding?
Branding is the process of creating a unique identity ( name) and image (graphics) for a service or product in the prospects (consumers’) mind. The process comes in many forms which mostly is advertising campaigns in sequence of story telling. Branding aims to command significant presence in a particular market to retain prospects and business growth. (Refer to previous article)
It is not as easy as it may sound. Nothing about growing a successful business is easy. There are millions of existing companies and sprouting ones every day and each with a distinctive brand. How a startup identifies and build their brand from the starting of their businesses would go a long way to influence their growth.
Components of a strong startup brand.
Having briefly looked at what a brand is, every startup and small business brand needs to meet these three components.
Your brand is what represent who you are to your customers. Who are you?
This question is of much importance to your growth. The identity of a brand may be represented by name, symbols, values, organizational culture and many other factors that identifies a company.
What benefits do your brand brings to the prospects?
The “what” your brand brings to the prospects (customers) is analyzed by the customers based on the benefits they will receive from it; a rational benefit (satisfaction), functional benefits (usefulness or purpose), rational (reason and logic) benefits etc. For your brand to meet the expectations of the customers’, you need to do this with the sole purpose of the customer in mind.
How has your brand delivered on its promise to the customers?
These experiences are interactions your customers have with your brand after every transactions. It should be tangible, remarkable and memorable.
These three components if well integrated and designed; most importantly with the customer in mind and to also resonate with them, it will effectively position the brand in the market place and give it value and credibility.
Branding vs. Marketing
This sparks a lot of opinions. There have been many views on whether there is a difference between branding and marketing. It is very important for the startup to understand these two in order to effectively work them together and critically design a brand identity without contrast.
In my view, It is who you are as an organization and what you are offering as a brand. In order words, it is the value of an organization. As earlier stated above, a brand is “who, what and how” of an organization (your startup). So basically, a brand is what you stand for as a startup and the value you have to offer. It is what makes customers want to identify with your brand and want to be associated with it.
Marketing on the other hand is the force behind your brand. Some business experts says it is what “push” a brand. Note that Marketing isn’t all about selling though. I would say, marketing communicates your brand to the customer. It tells the customer to chose you, to buy you and to interact with you (you as in your brand). Marketing promotes “who, what and how” , your services or products. Your brand!