When it comes to priorities for startup companies, branding seldom ranks high on the average entrepreneur’s list of priorities. On the surface, that seems reasonable. There are, after all, a host of other factors that help to determine how a new company’s products and services are received by the marketplace.
In reality, essential elements like product uniqueness, service quality, and competent pricing structures can only take you so far. Without a dynamic brand, your startup can be doomed to mediocrity before it’s even launched. With that in mind, here are three key considerations that can help determine the success of your new company’s branding effort:
Identify and Know Your Audience
Most entrepreneurs assume that they know their target audiences when they initiate their marketing campaigns. Many of them soon discover, however, that identifying the basic demographics of a target market is a far different thing than actually knowing how to properly communicate with that group.
The key thing to remember is that your perception of your company brand is all but meaningless when it comes to how successful your branding effort will be in the long run. Sure, that clever name, symbol, or image might be firmly associated with your startup in your mind, but the more critical question is the impact your branding effort has on your target market.
Be Clear and Consistent
If there’s one thing that can kill marketing campaigns faster than any other it’s a lack of clarity. How many times have you seen a television advertisement and found yourself wondering what the advertisers were trying to sell? While such ads have been known to appear from time to time, they are a rare breed – and with good reason.
A solid brand requires clarity, because it serves not only to identify your company and its products, but also helps to differentiate your startup from the many competitors it faces in the marketplace. A weak brand with an unclear message can confuse potential customers and cause them to avoid even trying your products or services.
It is equally important that you be consistent in your messaging efforts. The strongest brands remain constant regardless of the media platform in which they appear. Your website, brick and mortar advertising, and social media campaigns should all present one consistent branding message to your target audience. That consistency tells your customers that your company is not only genuine, but credible and competent as well.
Perhaps the biggest question most entrepreneurs have when it comes to establishing a brand concerns the timing of their efforts. While many startups focus on branding from their initial launch, others take a slower approach and try to build the brand over time. Is one approach better than the other?
While both methods have been known to work, the fact is that most companies benefit from early branding. There are some obvious reasons for this, of course. Early impressions can be difficult to change, so any misstep while building a brand can cause irreparable damage to the company. In addition, companies that try to build brands over time often lose out on one of the most important benefits a solid brand provides: differentiation from their competitors.
Startups that are branded properly at launch generally enjoy the benefits of a distinct, recognizable identity and usually have a much easier time developing bonds with their target audiences. As a general rule, then, there are some obvious advantages to a focus on early development of a dynamic brand.
These days, it’s not enough to have quality products and services. The fact is that competition has never been fiercer, so the key to real success lies in a company’s ability to stand out from the crowd with a memorable, meaningful brand. By focusing on these three key branding essentials, any startup can enjoy greater success in today’s complex marketplace.