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Building Your Startup into an Impactful Brand

Carefully crafting and building a brand is challenging. What has worked for someone may not work for you. And you may be tempted to compare your brand to certain established giants. Yet, you know it has taken them years to reach where they are.

These ‘giants’ have built a significant brand over the years. And that makes it essential for you to understand how to effectively build your brand. Here’s how you can start –

Understanding Branding and Strategy

Branding is distinguishing yourself from your competitors. It is clarifying what you have to offer, and what makes you the better choice. Building your brand involves representing who you are as a business. And how you want the world to perceive you.

A brand exists in the minds of its customers, and that impression can have a drastic impact on sales. So, you can’t ignore it – not even in the initial days of your business. Your brand will evolve over time. But it is important for that evolution to have a direction.

You will need to have a brand strategy, which is a formal plan to create a particular image of your business. This strategy includes specific and achievable long-term goals. It will communicate to the world what your brand is and the purpose it serves, along with what it aspires to be.

Knowing your target market

This is something you need to do before beginning the process of branding. Who is your brand for? Whom do you aim to reach with your branding? Whom do you want your brand to connect with? Gain a complete understanding of your target market/audience.

Everything in your branding must be in sync with this. Your target market consists of your ideal customers. They should be able to understand it and associate with it. So in a way, they will be an important part of your brand identity.

Creating a Brand

The strategy will set the stage for your brand identity and image. The brand identity is how people identify and distinguish your brand. Your logo design, visual language, marketing collaterals, graphic style, tone of voice, consistency in communication, etc. will define your brand’s values and personality. And make it stand out from the crowd.

Let’s take the example of Blackbuck, a company that has a dynamic and new-age brand identity. It is a famous brand in the freight industry, started by a group of passionate youths. Its products are driven by data science. Adams depicted the youthful aggression, along with showing what the company did, in their brand identity.

From just starting out to having 3,00,000 trucks and 60,000 fleet owners on its platform in under 3 years, the company has grown to another soaring level.

Having a pleasing website

Your website is an important marketing tool for your startup. It makes it easier for people to find your business online. While also helping your startup to establish credibility. Having a ‘pleasing’ website’ not only means one that’s aesthetically pleasing, but also easy to navigate and quick to load.

Get the help of professionals and ensure that your website design and development is done well. Also, invest in a good hosting provider as well as efficient SEO.

Using art and illustrations

Think of the last time you saw a good painting, illustration, or animation. Didn’t it interest you? If it held your attention for a significant amount of time, you can use something similar for your brand.

Art and illustration can engage audiences. Images can captivate them, and even spark their curiosity. Having animations in your marketing videos and illustrations on your website, will help to humanize your brand. And to differentiate it, while making your audience connect with it better.

Selling your story and being memorable

As a startup, it could be difficult to figure out who you are and what your brand aims to do right away. Yet, you need to use your brand identity and your company culture to create and sell a story. Recognize why your brand exists and make your customers connect with it.

Also give customers something to remember. Experiences that are hard to forget, or good to reminisce. Use your creativity and defy their expectations. Be a memorable brand, right from the start.

Paying attention to brand experience

Marty Neumeier, author of ‘The dictionary of Brand’, defines brand experience as “all the interactions people have with a product, service, or organization; the raw material of a brand.”

In an age where the internet and social media are on the rage, it is crucial to give importance to brand experience. By connecting and engaging more with your target audience, you can convert brand awareness to brand loyalty.

So aim for a continuous engagement with your audience, one that doesn’t end with a sale. With every transaction and interaction, elicit good emotions and positive feelings in consumers. If you have an outlet, have a pleasant ambience design – one that aligns with your brand identity. Make your customers feel good, and worthy.

It will shape the way people feel towards your business, product/service, and on the whole your brand. And that feeling is something you can always leverage, big time.

Creating a solid brand for your startup, or rebranding your existing business, are demanding tasks. It is advisable to leave them to those who have been there, done that. And yet always think beyond those boundaries for every new project. The whole process goes a lot smoother when you are sure your brand is in safe hands.

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