Oct 22 How Does Branding Help a Startup?
Developing a startup based around a revolutionary idea is an exciting prospect. The notion of working on something new and unexplored is often enough for a team to flock behind a visionary leader.
However, in order to define that idea further, certain branding principles should be applied. Without adequate branding, identity or defined long-term goals, a startup is no more than a corporate entity.
With it, it can become a transcending experience both for the team, its clients and investors. Let’s take a look at how exactly branding can help a startup, what benefits it brings to the table and how to build on the brand’s groundwork.
What branding isn’t?
Before we dive any further, let’s clear the air on what branding actually constitutes. Branding doesn’t represent creating a logo or using stock graphics to represent your business. It isn’t creating posters, flyers or social media content with your startup’s name on it with no rhyme or reason.
Branding also isn’t a website with products and services but no human touch or face to the whole ecommerce store. It goes much deeper than that, and relying on surface-level “benefits” of seeing branding in this light won’t elevate your startup from the competition. Worse yet, taking your company’s brand for granted can only have adverse effects on the way people perceive your startup.
What branding is?
Branding constitutes giving your startup a face of its own. The logo, color and element palette as well as the name you settle on is only the fraction of what branding is.
Branding identifies your business, ideas and values in the sea of numerous companies and services based in the same industry. It gives your company a voice, but most importantly it lets people see you for who you really are as a group of ambitious individuals running a startup. It sends a message to the public that yes, you are here, and yes, you have a lot to offer both locally and globally.
With that in mind, numerous benefits of branding start to show their face and can help you grow your startup from its humble roots to something truly extraordinary.
1) Visual and ideological identity
When we mention Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or Kellogg’s, we often have a brand identity in mind. It’s quite clear what these represent and what their visual and ideological identities are. The same principle should be applied to a freshly-assembled startup. Gather your team and break down the idea behind your startup.
- What is the name of your startup?
- What is the main mission statement of your brand?
- What visual elements, colors and terms do you associate with your firm?
The groundwork of your startup’s brand starts with the now-standard copywriting, graphic design and visual branding. Ensure that you are content with the technical branding you have set in stone before moving further.
2) Inner and outer brand understanding
A startup’s brand ensures that the public understand what your firm is all about. Moreover, it also helps employees relate to the ideas, projects and missions statements of their startup.
Neightan White, Chief Marketing Officer at Supreme Dissertations spoke about his own branding projects: “I like to squeeze as much information about a business from my clients before I start the branding process. Usually, the most important details lie in the emotional responses they have to questions about their company vision and long-term goals.”
It’s essential for employees to understand what their firm stands for, what the business model looks like and what niche it belongs to. This relates to a strong internal culture and better brand representation outside the office. Both inner (office) and outside (public) understanding of a startup can be achieved quickly and easily with proper branding in place.
3) Establishing industry authority
Chances are that your startup isn’t the first of its kind – and definitely not the last. Branding can help your startup stand out from the crowd of other businesses who operate in the same industry. Both customers and clients often refer to a brand in terms of its visual identity, catchy name, appealing logo or even a well-designed website.
However, they rarely refer to the people behind a brand for the simple reason that they rarely come into direct contact. This is why it’s important to pour your team’s heart into the branding you choose to develop for your startup.
Ensure that your ideals, dreams and goals are implanted in the mission statements of your small firm. That way, the industry at large will have no choice but to spot you on the business map. If you play your cards correctly, you can even see partnership and investment opportunities come your way due to quality branding work done previously.
4) Defined marketing standards
Even though marketing isn’t the first topic of conversation when the importance of branding comes into question, it certainly adds to the list. Marketing is an essential part of business representation at large.
Using outlets such as social media platforms, influencers, physical promotion and others will bring new eyes to your startup. However, if your branding isn’t appealing or communicates an inadequate message, you will be hard-pressed to attract anyone to your doorstep.
Chelsea Ann Dowdell, Chief Creative Officer at RewardedEssays was quoted recently: “It is my job as a creative to ensure that my marketing team has concrete materials to work with. In my opinion, a business’s brand can make or break a marketing campaign. It’s why we always evaluate our brand before we settle for the right course of action, advertisement-wise.”
In short, your brand identity will determine the type of people you attract in the long-run. It’s highly beneficial to use your brand to establish marketing standards which will be used for as long as your current branding is in place.
5) Company development roadmap
Very few startups start up (pun intended) with a clearly outlined long-term roadmap. This is often attributed to the agile methodology many small firms use in their workflow. Speaking of ongoing development, your startup will change as it grows over time. In that respect, your branding should shift alongside with it.
While certain elements such as logo and mission statements should only go through minimal changes, your product lineup, business model and work methodology are bound to evolve. This can lead to the development of new branding elements, visual style upgrades, as well as numerous changes to your overall PR. Your branding can effectively communicate your intentions when it comes to the ongoing development of your startup as a whole if you let it.
Implement small indications of the development roadmap you have set out for your team and startup in your public branding materials. Letting the industry at large know where your business is headed in regards to expansion and development can make you truly stand out. Not only that, but numerous clients, investors and eager journalists are bound to knock on your door hoping for more information.
6) Relatable internal culture
Just because your coworkers and you are part of a startup doesn’t mean that they are obligated to stay onboard. Should your coworkers feel professionally exhausted, demoralized or neglected; they will likely leave for something better.
After all, each employee is only as loyal to the company as the company allows him or her to be. In that respect, well-placed branding and startup ideology can do wonders for employee retention. Professionals who identify with their businesses are prone to stay onboard even through hardship and sacrifice.
By implementing an adequate branding to your startup, you will give your colleagues something to identify with and hold on to. This will reflect in their quality of work, overall productivity and motivation, as well as the word of mouth they spread about your startup.
7) Building brand advocacy
Since we are on the topic of word of mouth, it’s worth mentioning the brand advocacy that goes into it. Your goal as a startup should be to not only appease each stakeholder’s requirements but also make them glad they chose you over someone else.
You can do this by marketing your startup, products and events in a smart way and by offering quality customer support to boot. Brand advocacy is a very important subject to discuss when it comes to the overall worth of branding.
People who are satisfied with what you have to offer, how you operate and how you treat your staff will speak highly of you. Their friends, acquaintances and business partners will subsequently take interest in your brand as well. By placing a well thought out brand in front of your startup’s projects, you will allow people to refer to you as such. Otherwise, your business will become another speck of dust in a sandstorm of other startups, which is one of the worst things that can happen for your overall growth and visibility.
So what does it all come to? Is branding really such an important aspect of startup development? Published statistics speak for themselves, as 48% of consumers are firm believers in first impressions which often dictate whether or not they will become loyal to a brand.
Put as much effort and care into your startup’s image as you would to product development and client support. Opting for generic, stock visual elements and mundane naming conventions won’t do your work any justice. Don’t risk your business’ future by putting aside the branding side of startup development.
Bridgette Hernandes holds a Master in Anthropology and is interested in writing. Thanks to her passion, she is a constant contributor and a welcome blogger at RatedByStudents as well as GrabMyEssay. She plans to publish her own book in the nearest future. She finished her studies last year but is already a true expert when it comes to presenting a text in a creative and understandable manner. The texts she writes are always informative, based on a qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.