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Branding for Startups: The Essentials

Startups have challenges that are particularly unique from those faced by businesses that have been around a while. Although full of passion, drive and energy, startups usually don’t have enough time or money to invest into branding. Nevertheless, branding should begin early on, if only to immediately build brand equity for future leveraging.

Branding Defined

As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s not just about having a website or business cards. While these are definitely important, something else that is far more crucial, should be done. The good news is, it won’t cost money.

The Business Dictionary defines branding as a process that gives a product a unique name and image in consumers’ minds, mainly through the use of advertising campaigns that follow a consistent format or theme. Furthermore, it is a way of establishing a differentiated presence in the market that is attractive to customers and encourages loyalty among them. Hence, it is important for a business owner to think hard as to the image that will embody his brand in consumers’ minds. Before deciding on this image, the business owner should first define two things – what’s unique about the business and what unique value it offers.

Benefits of an Effective Branding Strategy

Effective branding brings many benefits to businesses. For starters, brand design grabs the attention of potential customers. Branding itself can also have a direct effect on how much may be charged for a business’ products or services. With a strong brand, it is easier for competitors to fade in the background. Once a brand is established as a good one, it will encourage repeat buying and become as influential to the business as acquisitions, investments, talent and partnerships. There are can be more branding benefits specific to each type of business, but the above are the most common.

Creating a Successful Brand

It has to be memorable.

Memorable brands are runaway winners. Being too safe with branding defeats the purpose. The idea is to make the brand unique from competition, instead of just going with the flow.

Value proposition should be clear.

A value proposition should not be shallow or general. For example, excellent customer service is something people want. The problem is when everyone starts claiming it as their value proposition. Uniqueness is the most crucial element of a successful value proposition. It must bring a benefit that is often unexpected by people.

Consistency is key.

Consistency is the real secret to successful branding. To embed a brand in consumers’ minds, its message must be one and the same. Having different messages is confusing and reduces potential brand equity.

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