Branding | Small business marketing

14 Achievable And Affordable Branding Tips For Startups

Branding tips for startups header

Most startups pick a random font, pick a color theme, and get a logo created in one night to check branding off the list. These startups will struggle with standing out. We’ll go over some practical branding tips for startups to help them stand out without breaking the bank.

A brand isn’t just a logo and a color scheme, it’s how people perceive your company.

What Is Branding and Why Is It Important?

Branding is what sets one company apart from another. It’s a way to develop your identity and differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

If you’re a small business owner, there are two things that you need to worry about: your products and your brand. Your product is what people buy from you, but it’s not enough for the customer to simply like or dislike the product. They also have to like and trust your company behind the product. Branding is all about building a relationship with customers.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing for any company is finding its voice and sharing that with the world. Branding is all about telling your own story in such an authentic way that customers can’t help but be drawn to you.

The importance of business branding is often overlooked by many small businesses. Businesses that don’t take the time to brand themselves properly are missing out on a significant opportunity for growth and success. Business branding is a way to differentiate your business from the competition. Branding helps you stand out and provides value for your customers.

Let’s talk startup branding tips so you can create a successful brand image.

Own a concept

When you’re creating a startup brand, it’s vital to become synonymous with one idea. When you’re starting out, you can get too ambitious with your growth plans.

Narrower the focus, stronger the brand.

Don’t go too wide, too fast. Although it may seem to work for bigger companies, remember that you don’t have the same budget. If you can pull off one idea and make it your own, it’ll be much easier to build your awareness. Some of the most successful startup brands are those that are synonymous with a certain product or service. Don’t think you can’t grow without expanding your products or services.

Subway sandwiches specialized in submarine sandwiches.

Try to create a new category in an old industry

See if you can introduce a novel approach in an already saturated market. First movers always have an advantage and will be remembered as the pioneers in their category. It doesn’t always have to a product innovation.

Dominos was the first to offer pizza delivery.

Consistent brand message:

It’s important to convey a coherent message. Your brand purpose, brand promise, essence, tagline, and value proposition should be in alignment. It’s a good idea to jot down everything your startup does and then get rid of anything that isn’t aligned with your core message. Try to boil it down to a few key messages. You always have to ask yourself, “how will this affect my purpose and essence?”

Positioning to win the market

This could make or break your brand strategy, so do your homework before you decide on your positioning. You have to think about it and plan it beforehand. You need to know what you stand for and what you want people to think of when they think of your company. Positioning requires extensive market research and competitor analysis.

Honda has become synonymous with “well engineered.” We associate Benz with “Prestige.”

Read more about the importance of brand positioning.

Value proposition

A value proposition is a statement that describes the unique value a brand brings to the customer. The brand delivers value every step of the way, so the customer keeps coming back. Value propositions should be genuine, memorable, and meaningful.

Value proposition is the promise of value that you give to a customer. It’s the way you say, “I’m going to improve your life.”

Brand personality

Unique brand personality illustration showing planes

By creating a brand personality, you can better express your brand’s identity overall. Just like in normal life, people pay attention to your brand’s personality. Are you friendly, aggressive, professional, artistic? People respond to brands they like. Underdog brands are the most exciting to follow because they are challenging; they are exciting.

Have an elevator pitch

Elevator pitches are especially helpful for service-based businesses. Use the below formula to create your pitch:

Personal one-liner:

Personal branding is crucial for startups. It can be a helpful tool for a startup founder at networking events where you have to give a quick one-liner about yourself.

I’m a [Your profession] who helps [target market] avoid [pain point] by [your service or product].

What’s your story

You should be able to tell your entire brand story in a sentence or two. You should explain why you created your brand, what you’re solving, and how you do it.

With [reason for problem], [state the problem]. [your product/service] will help you [result].

Example:

With thousands of businesses going online every day, it’s hard for small businesses to stand out. A clear brand message and strategic content can help you win more potential customers.

You can use longer versions for internal communications. You won’t get that kind of patience with your external audience.

Style guide

A style guide keeps a brand’s elements consistent across all touch points. This includes the look, feel, brand voice and tone. If your company has over one branch, or if you do influencer marketing, the style guide will help them all be on the same page about your brand strategy. A startup brand might not need a comprehensive style guide, but they should have a basic one – especially tech startups. A modern day brand will have a lot of communication channels like Facebook, Twitter and other social media marketing channels; it will be a struggle to keep marketing campaigns consistent without a style guide.

Brand identity

Consistent brand identity example

Brand identity is the visual identity of your businesses. A strong brand identity is important for people to remember your brand when they see your logo, colors, packaging and design. All your marketing material-including emails and social media-should look and feel the same. This will make your digital marketing and brand building efforts easier.

Have a branding zone

The branding zone is the place to organize all things related to your brand. This includes social media, business cards, business contacts, and more. These items are important to your brand because they’re what people see first. When everything related to your branding is organized in one place, you can easily make your brand effective. It becomes easier for your employees to tie your branding strategy with marketing efforts.

Discover your customer persona:

Customer persona is a fictional description of a segment of your target audience and is a major part of your branding and content marketing strategy. For example, you can create a persona for your “average” customer, but you might also want to create different personas for different customers you target.

For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, you may create personalities for your male and female customers, or if you’re a marketing company, you may create personas for your small businesses and your enterprise clients. You can then tailor your startup branding to resonate with your audience.

Clarity trumps cleverness

Always prioritize clarity of your messages over cleverness. Some people use clever words, but they lose sight of the message. Sure, it may sound nice, but it won’t deliver the results. Remember that your customer wasn’t part of your brainstorming, so his context is different.

Validate your findings:

The biggest mistake you can make is thinking every word you write is going to hit home with your readers. Always get outside opinion before you complete your go-to-market strategy. Bring in some of your current clients and run focus groups, ask your most trusted employees, friends, and family.

Activate your culture

Your company culture comes to life through the choices made by your employees and leaders. Make sure everyone understands your brand values. Everyone at your company needs to speak your brand language, so make it a part of your orientation.

Conclusion

Even if you’re bootstrapping, you still need a brand strategy. The way you present yourself to the world will make a big difference in creating brand recognition. You need to be sure that your branding effort is consistent, memorable, and impacts your audience in the way you want it to. Many startups cannot create loyal customers because they don’t get the basic branding aspects right. Having focus will help you build a strong brand.