So you know; branding is not marketing and marketing is not branding. They both complements each other. There is no branding without marketing and vice-versa.
That not withstanding, a brand is memorable, a brand is more powerful. Even in some cases, a brand would still be chosen by a customer with or without marketing to push it.
Conflicting as it may be, a brand is an identity. With or without promotion an identity would still exist.
So imagine, having strategically defined your brand factoring the three components above, it wouldn’t need much of a push (marketing). “Good things do not have to promote themselves”. In other words, good things get the value they deserve. Therefore the first interaction a consumer have with your brand (experience) determines their loyalty. So even with the marketing, a consumer can decide whether or not to continue to purchase your service or product or stay loyal to your brand. Building a brand requires critical strategic planning while marketing tools or your promotion decisions needs to be tactical.
How do you define your startup brand? (Briefly)
As already discussed above, your brand’s identity is your startup name, logo, culture, values etc. A brand is simply what a company or an organization wants it’s prospects to perceive them. A brand should be cohesive, consistent not scattered, and compelling even when substituted.
Many organizations, especially startups suffers from “multiple identity crisis”.
A mismatch of what they portray to stand for. A contrast between intent and perception. Their brand stories are not consistent and lacks a concrete identity.
Note that your startup identity is not your business logo. A brand speaks much volumes than just a logo and a tagline. Your brand identity should tell who it is, the product or service it is offering, the value and experience it brings your customers and advantage over competitors as earlier explained above.
Evaluate your competitors Brand
Identifying and evaluating your competition’s brand strategies, helps you determine their strengths and weaknesses to your own brand. With your analysis, you can identify what makes your brand unique and remarkable.
The market is populated with millions of brands fighting for relevance, recognition, acceptance and loyalty. Identify your immediate market competition, the very strong brands that stands out and list out their strategies, services or products, marketing strategies, strength and weaknesses as well as market assumptions and use that as your benchmark.
Be strategic not aggressive
Being aggressive in pushing (marketing) your brand is different from building one.
In building your startup brand, you need to be strategic. A critical analysis of how you want to be perceived not how you want to be defended or pitied.
One after the other, ask the questions your prospects would ask before choosing a brand.
What it offers?
Does it meet their need?
Why your brand and not the other brand?
I have seen quite some startups aggressively building “scattered brands”. They are every where. You can not exactly tell which services or products is their core. Their strengths. Most startups do not think it is essential to strongly and consistently build a brand before launching out.
Communicate your brand effectively
Knowing your target customer can be the difference between your brand being effective and it’s failure. Research about your market consumers, understand their problems and needs. When you have a focused target, you are able to direct your brand or communicate it effectively without hitches and reaching the right prospects. A brand that interacts with its prospects before serving them with a solution to their needs, build a solid brand from an early stage and builds a relationship with them.
Do not forget these:
Research your about your target consumers.
Go straight to the point. Simply hit right on the target.
Use simple, flexible and friendly graphics when communicating. Either via visuals, audio, print etc.
Be simple, be direct and be clean as much as possible.