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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. While overflowing with drive, energy and passion, startups typically have little time or money to spend for branding. Still, branding must be started from the get go so that brand equity can be built immediately, to be leveraged later on.

What Is Branding?

As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s not merely a matter of having a good website or professionally designed business cards. Although these are certainly important, there is something else far more crucial that must be done. Best thing is, it costs zero.

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. When deciding on this image, the business owner must consider two things – what’s special about the business and what unique value it brings to the table.

Benefits of a Good Branding Strategy

There are many benefits awaiting businesses that implement a good branding strategy. Brand design captures buyers’ attention, for one. Branding itself can directly influence the pricing of products and services as well. With a strong brand, it is easier for competitors to fade in the background. A brand also encourages repeat buying behavior after it has been established as a good one, and can be as vital to a business as acquisitions, investments, partnerships and talents. There could be benefits that are specific to different business types, but the above are the most prevalent.

Creating a Good Brand

It has to be memorable.

Remarkable brands always win. Being too safe with branding defeats the purpose. The goal is to give people a different feel from the competition, rather than just being one of the crowd.

It should come with a clear value proposition.

A value proposition should not be shallow or general. For instance, excellent customer service is desirable to consumers. The problem is when everyone starts claiming it as their value proposition. A value proposition should be unique. It should offer something that people will usually not expect.

It should be consistent.

Consistency is the real secret to successful branding. A brand can only be embedded in the minds of consumers if it conveys one and the same message through all of its campaigns. With different messages, the public can only end up confused and potential brand equity diminished.

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