This Article is contributed by Vivek Singh, Co-founder & CEO of ThriveCo.
The startup world is tough. Every minute you are going to be faced with challenges. The rapid highs and lows of the startup world would enthrall and overpower you sometimes. Branding becomes an important tool to ground you in these overwhelming times. As an entrepreneur, your priority should be identifying and projecting your brand image to your audience.
Branding is the first step a startup takes towards success. Creating a recognizable and powerful brand image ensures that your customers stay loyal to you and you remain in the public consciousness.
What is Branding?
Lisa Gansky, co-founder and CEO of Global Network Navigator and Ofoto says, "A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir." Branding helps create a positive image of a company and its products in the minds of a customer. It is a deliberate attempt at value-based communication through mission statements, logos, and design. Your brand is what you present to the world.
As an entrepreneur, you have to remember that your brand is an overall experience that people get from your product. There is a lot of visual and verbal communication that goes into branding. ThriveCo, a brand that invests in highly specialized and clinical skin and hair-care products, bases its branding on how they help the Indian skin and hair thrive with their scientifically accurate products. Their logos, mission statement, and design indicate their values as a company, the experience that they are going to provide their customers with and this is how they differentiate themselves from all the other companies out there in the market.
Why is Branding important?
The world recognizes you based on your branding. Branding helps you connect with the customer and exist in the minds of your audience. It helps create brand loyalty and get customers back by making an impression on them. Branding is extremely important, especially for startups, because it helps make your company more visible. A powerful brand image also helps draw in investors and stakeholders. You can show your customers what makes you unique through your branding. You can use your brand identity to highlight what makes you better than your competition.
Brand identity is important for marketing relationships with your audience. A strong brand image also imbibes a sense of trust in the minds of the customer and gains their loyalty. One of the strong points of ThriveCo. is their commitment to making their products environment-friendly and non-toxic. This brand identity has helped them cater to customers looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional skin and hair-care products.
There are a lot of ways you can express your brand identity. It can be physical with the help of signs, logos, designs, and identifiers. This is what your customer will think of first when they think of you. Then, you'd have to consider your brand personality and how the brand expresses itself to the world. ThriveCo. has made sure that their cutting-edge technology-based research and their transparency with their products will signify their commitment towards the safety of their consumers and the efficacy of their product.
You should also look at the values and principles that your brand will promote. These values sync with your target audience and help draw out people with similar values. The relationship that your brand shares with the customer are also very important. Having a friendly relationship with the target audience will help maintain brand loyalty and increase customer satisfaction. ThriveCo. especially markets towards its customers by constantly getting and working towards their feedback. These mechanisms are very important to establish customer trust and loyalty.
Do's and Don'ts of Branding
While there are numerous challenges, the brand's identity is what makes a start-up stronger. Needless to say, the brand is the heart and soul of any business, and developing an identity from scratch is difficult. It should be distinct from competitors and have an edge as well as a unique feature. Every brand, like every individual, requires a personality, and developing one is the first and most important checkbox when developing a strong brand.
- Do have a unique value proposition. It is critical to have an interesting brand approach that extends beyond the realms of just business. Maintaining consistency aids in the development of a brand's uniqueness, which aids in catching the attention and impacting potential customers.
- Don't have a product or service that fails to meet a certain virtue that your brand embodies and look for ways to incorporate that virtue into the product to create a cohesive branding approach. A critical factor around branding is developing a belief system around what the brand has to offer. It is critical to articulate the brand's philosophy; demonstrate how the brand can improve the lives of those around you.
- Do remember that a recognizable brand is a huge asset, so figuring out how to create one is critical. It is critical to use the right logo, a catchy name, and a set of colors that reflect the brand's personality and messaging. While there are big names in the industry, having uniqueness throughout the brand's products is critical. It is critical to figure out how to stand out. This will assist customers in perceiving the brand in the way that the brand owner desires.
- Don't rely on the "fix it later" strategy with branding. It will only lead to monotony and mediocrity for the brand. Long-term planning should be the goal. It is another important aspect of establishing a strong startup. Long-term planning, immediate action, quick solutions, and sincere effort are thus required to build a strong startup.
- Do focus on refining your customer experience. You should constantly interact with your customers and establish a point of contact to maintain brand loyalty. This includes return policies, marketing, the in-store experience and discounts, and giveaways. The customer should feel like a priority and the customer should be the focus of your branding.
- Don't neglect your brand audits. Having a brand audit every 6 months is extremely important and will help you understand where you stand as a company. Brand audits are an evaluation of your brand's position and perception in the market. You can perform brand audits to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can work on them.