For many start-ups, branding is a vaguely understood concept that gets lost in the shuffle among the many concrete tasks that go into a business launch. However, without strong branding, start-ups have a tough time advancing to the next stage of business development.
Here, then, are five useful and easy-to-implement tips for starting up your business on a solid branding foundation.
Tip 1: Differentiate
Differentiation is what separates your business from the pack. It is what arouses curiosity, gets people in the door, gives prospects a reason to say “yes” and wins a loyal following.
Whatever you settle on as a point of differentiation should be meaningful, memorable and material.
Tip 2: Focus on a Specific Market Segment
Trying to be all things to all people dilutes a new brand, because it requires a company to stress everything vaguely instead of a few things compellingly. Stressing personal injury legal services strongly appeals to a particular market segment; stressing legal services of every kind appeals to everyone … and no one.
People are attracted to brands that cater to them. And even a small market segment has enough “thems” to get a start-up off and running. Some start-ups can thrive over the long term by continuing to develop a single segment. Others grow by methodically, adding market segments that fit with the first one.
Tip 3: Have a Tagline
Every start-up should use a tagline. The tagline strategy is simple: If your company name doesn’t explain what you do, the tagline should get that message across. If your company name does explain what you do, the tagline should highlight one of your key differentiators.
Tip 4: Present Your Brand Consistently
Start-ups (and even established, large firms) err by displaying several variations of their logo and other branding imagery. To maximize memorability, be consistent with your color scheme, fonts, tagline, and logo layout and positioning. Remember – it’s the golden arches, not the golden, green or metallic blue arches.
This is a small, simple point, and one that makes branding implementation easier. Don’t overlook it!
Tip 5: Tell Your Brand Story Consistently
Your broader brand message is often described as an elevator speech. This message, consisting of several sentences that describe what you do, why you’re better and why customers should care, needs to be communicated consistently by all members of your team:
Over to You
What helpful branding tips can you share? What makes your brand stand out from the crowd?