Branding your startup
Photo: Skipprichard

Guide to branding your startup

An ambitious entrepreneur already wants to build a brand even at the early-stage phase. This important aspect of business needs to be understood in depth before getting invested. Branding your startup is not a brainstorm affair, rather it’s a strategy.

What goes through your mind when a bunch of logos and slogans interrupt your soap opera? Besides being the ideal time for a toilet break, what do you associate with those logos? This, essentially, is the definition of a brand.

A brand is what customers say it is not what you, the entrepreneur, say it is. It is customers’ expression of what their experience of your product or service is. An excellent brand means loyalty from your customers. This in turn leads to referrals and increased sales. This is exactly what every entrepreneur dreams about. It is therefore important that you hit all the right notes when branding your startup.

The number one box to tick is customer research. You must first identify, with surgical accuracy, your customer base. Once this is accomplished you can deliver a product suitable to them. The catch is here though. The crucial thing isn’t you breaking your back perfecting your product or service. You establish utility by getting feedback from your customers. This is how you will get product experience right. By enabling an easy loop of feedback, between business and customer, your startup will be able to make correction quickly.

In the same vein, you should also research your competitors. How do they brand? How do they differ from one another? How can my brand be different from theirs? When branding your startup you want to stand out from the many startups going online alongside yours. You also want to set yourself apart from what is already in the market. Customers must identify something only you deliver amongst the differentiation in the market. They will absolutely love whatever it is they only get from you.

Having established the intangible parts of your brand, the reputation, you get to the cool part. Cool because you get to have a little fun with colours and fonts; with great implications, you should be warned. Your logo and slogan should not influence your brand’s identity. Instead, it should be the other way round. Choose appropriate physical branding for your type of business but remember to invest resources into this.

Lastly, you want to maintain consistency and review your progress. Please deliver on your promises. There are few things in this world as bad as poor brand reputation. On reviewing progress, it’s best to get help because as much as you’ve been informed; building brands needs experience. You don’t want to change and confuse your customers or be left behind in the game.