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Branding for Startups: The Essentials

Startups deal with challenges that are different from those faced by older businesses. 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.

What Is Branding?

Contrary to what many people think, branding is beyond a business logo. It’s more than having a professionally designed website and business cards. While these are definitely important, something else that is far more crucial, should 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. Therefore, a startup business owner must think deep into the image that will embody its brand in the minds of customers. 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.

Advantages Offered by a Good Branding Strategy

Effective branding brings many benefits to businesses. Brand design captures buyers’ attention, for one. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can be charged for a business’ products or services. If a brand is strong, it will face less direct competition. 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.

How to Create a Good Brand

It should be remarkable.

Memorable brands are runaway winners. Branding that plays it too safe defies its own 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. Excellent customer service, for instance, is attractive to everyone. The problem is, it has become the value proposition of too many brands. To be effective, a value proposition must be unique. It should provide benefits that people will probably not expect.

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. With different messages, the public can only end up confused and potential brand equity diminished.

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