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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 companies will struggle with standing out. Let’s look at some practical branding tips for startups so you can stand out without spending a fortune.

What is branding for startups, and why is it important?

A brand isn’t just a logo and a color scheme; it’s how people perceive your company. That’s how you develop a brand identity and differentiate yourself in the minds of the target market.

If you’re a small business owner, there are two things that you need to worry about: your products and your brand. It’s not enough for the customer to like your product—they should be able to trust the company behind it. Branding is all about building a long-term relationship with customers.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing for any company is finding its story and sharing that with the world. The goal of startup branding is to tell your company’s story authentically so that customers are drawn to it.

Many small businesses often overlook the importance of business branding. Let’s explore some business branding tips to differentiate your business from the competition.

Branding tips for startup

Businesses that don’t take the time to brand themselves properly miss out on a significant opportunity for growth and success. We’ll go through some branding advice for startups in this post.

Concept branding for startups

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 idea, product, or service. Don’t think you can’t grow without expanding your products or services.

Subway sandwiches specialized in submarine sandwiches.

A new category branding strategy for startups

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 be 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 deciding 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.

A 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 touchpoints. This includes the look, feel, brand voice, and tone. If your company has more than one branch, or if you do influencer marketing, the style guide will ensure that everyone understands your brand strategy.

A startup brand might not need a comprehensive style guide, but it should have a basic one. In the era of social media marketing, modern brands have many communication channels like Twitter, Facebook, and other social media marketing channels. Without any style guide, marketing campaigns might become inconsistent.

Brand identity

Consistent brand identity example

Brand identity is the visual identity of your business. It is important to have a strong brand identity and design consistency so that people can recognize your brand from your logo, colors, packaging, and design style. All your marketing material-including emails and social media-should look and feel the same. Your digital marketing and brand-building efforts will become more integrated and efficient this way.

Have a branding zone

The branding zone is the place to organize all things related to your brand. This includes design templates, social media templates, business cards, 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:

A 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 your target customers.

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:

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is assuming that everything they write will resonate with their customers. Always get an 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. Use them as the litmus test for your brand message, voice tone, and design style. 

Activate your culture

Businesses that reach their business goals share a common trait – an amazing culture.  Leaders should embody the culture and set an example for others. 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 must know your brand language, so make it a part of onboarding.

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. Building a strong brand requires focus.