Branding tips for start-ups

Building a new brand is not something you can do overnight, so where do you start?

Every start-up or business entrepreneur sits down to think about their brand and how to present their proposition. There are some pitfalls to avoid, so following these simple tips will set you on your way to developing a successful brand.

Your brand is not just a logo and a name, it’s more about perception; the brand is an intangible asset that exists in the minds of consumers. We all recognise the Nike swoosh, the three stripes of Adidas and the Apple logo. These iconic brands were once humble start-ups, it’s their investment in the brand that has helped to make them what they are today.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of the brand

It’s all about the brand. A Coca-Cola executive once famously made that point by suggesting that if all of Coca-Cola’s production facilities were somehow destroyed, the company would probably survive. But, if everyone in the world suddenly forgot what they knew about Coca-Cola then the company would go out of business.


2. Invest in brand strategy

In the modern world branding is fundamental to success. Creating an effective brand strategy should be part of your business plan. Before you go to market, describe how your business will create customers. Make sure you really understand your target audience and define the way you will interact with them at every touch-point.


3. Don’t attempt to mimic the success of big brands

Evaluate the competitive landscape, but don’t try to become the next somebody else. Your customers will value individuality and authenticity. Companies such as Virgin and Apple are brands who dared to be different. Think about how you can differentiate yourself to build something distinctive, unique and relevant.


4. Maintain a consistent brand identity

The term ‘brand identity’ refers to the visual elements; logo and associated assets. This might comprise a style of photography or a particular colour palette, but creating a set of definitive ‘brand guidelines’ will allow you to maintain a consistent approach to branding and messaging — don’t go printing business cards without brand guidelines in place.


5. Keep your customers happy

Customer service is crucial to building trust, confidence and loyalty. Get personal, put your customers first and keep in touch with incentive schemes or social platforms. With the growing popularity of social networks the world is getting smaller. It’s easier than ever for people to voice their experiences online, and there are many high-profile instances where big brands have slipped up.


6. Hire a professional

Like most things, it’s usually a good idea to get the experts in. Developing your brand doesn’t have to be daunting, or hugely expensive, but calling in a professional branding agency will set firm foundations on which to build a successful brand.

Defining your objectives and aspirations early on will help you to develop a brand strategy, maintain a consistent approach, instil confidence and build relationships. And good business is all about relationships.


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