Your brand… your story!
From unconventional small businesses, innovative mobile applications, to large technology companies; The term “start-up” has been spreading increasingly over the past few years to describe a wide range of different business types.
According to investopedia.com; “A startup is a young company founded by one or more entrepreneurs in order to develop a unique product or service and bring it to market. By its nature, the typical startup tends to be a shoestring operation, with initial funding from the founders.”
Usually, when you start a startup, you experience a flurry of positivity. Your heartbeat accelerates with enthusiasm when you think about your business model, while your mind calculates all future possibilities. But there's nothing more painful than realizing you've created something great, but no one seems to look at you or care about what you offer. Then you decide to review everything again to find out what is wrong!
While it often arises once a business begins to invest heavily in marketing activities, the problem may not lie in marketing itself.
Therein lies the problem… flawed branding.
It is one of the most common mistakes in the development of startups; focusing only on early brand development.
It is really unfortunate to see a startup wasting the amounts allocated for advertising in vain, by adopts a poor visual design and an ambiguous message in its campaigns.
After a series of low-return advertising campaigns, you start to realize that you either need to improve your brand, or prepare for the worst.
The reason for all this is simply because it is impossible to successfully market a product without what we call a strong brand identity system.
Do it right… brand identity system can get it up to speed. It is capable of attracting the minds and feelings of crowds. Leave it to chance, and you might hit a wall of marketing flaws.
So what should you do early to avoid wasting campaign budgets for advertising and ineffective marketing?
Here are some branding lessons you need to embrace from the start.
A big investment in a logo is worthless
If not supported by a brand identity system. That’s why what you really need is a good brand identity system.
Brand system building is not only about creating visual identity and guidelines for corporate colors and typography, but also emotional guidelines for copy writing, advertising and social media campaigns.
Emotional guidelines are essential for building your brand persona and attitude. Your brand voice and tone should be consistent with your overall brand system, but what is the difference between voice and tone?
Voice is the element that stays consistent in all of our content. This allows the reader to instantly identify your content, regardless of when they watch it or the platform they see on it.
By contrast, tone is the expression of that brand character to the audience at hand. Tone changes all the time. And it must change because it’s entirely driven by context… how I speak to my coworkers. In essence, voice is to climate as tone is to weather.
Define your purpose and keep your promises
One very crucial question that you have to answer… what would your customer miss out if you were not there?
The answer for this question is simply… the brand purpose.
Weak brands do not have clear purpose, that’s why they fail to influence their audience, as lack of clarity of what your brand can deliver results in a lack of customer’s interest.
One of the most important building blocks help you win more of the right customers is your brand promise. It is the commitment to your customers that really matters to them and differentiates you from competition.
What makes a Brand Promise “good” is not only its appeal to core customers and its ability to help you close sales with them, but also your ability to consistently deliver on that promise.
An effective brand promise helps build a strong brand, exemplifies your brand experience and has emotional connections with the core customer. It is more than a value statement, such as delivering high quality products. Just about every successful brand has a good brand promise that has helped draw their core customer to the door.
Here are a few Best Brand Promise Examples:
Nike - "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Tesla: "To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market”
FedEx - “Peace of mind”
Lego - "Endless Play"
BMW - “The ultimate driving machine”
Coca Cola - "refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, and inspire moments of optimism; to create value and make a difference"
A brand Environment… ensures better life for your brand
Brands communicate using a range of techniques, some of which are obvious and some of which are more subtle.
A good brand works on every level through Creating a branded environment helps to inform your overall marketing plan. When you hire a photographer, what do you tell them? When you onboard a social media agency, do they know how to continue to tell your story visually?
There are many ways to build visual consistency. It can be as simple as using a Harmonious color scheme in all visuals (light and airy, moody, bright?). You can choose to go straight for stock photos, or work hard to create all original images for your company. All your visuals can feature your brand’s mascot using your product, or focus on showing your product in the hands of real people.
Start by stepping back and comparing your marketing goals with what visuals you currently have. If you have a logo and color scheme, is it enough? How would you use them to design a flyer, a drip marketing campaign, or a website? Do you need more visuals? or maybe a consistent layout? Do you need standard copy created to help you speed the process up?
List down your needs—everything from graphic design to copywriting. Once you’ve put in the work to create your brand guideline, you can get to work growing your brand beyond its logo. Once you’ve done that, your creative sandbox will help you to…
A Great Brand Identity System Precedes Great Marketing
Marketing is fun when you get your brand right from the start. That’s because your brand is the long-term marketing tool that shapes your day-to-day marketing activities.
Building a stronger brand should start with why you matter to customers, and build up to a larger visual and verbal brand environment to play with. It’s all about structure, consistency, and active ideation in order to grow your brand recognition in the way it matters most.
The bottom line is… Whether you take control of your brand now or five years from now, your brand exists and affects your audience. It’s all a matter of whether you want to spend your time telling your customers what your brand is, or have your customers tell you.
It’s much easier to influence an audience early on than it is to change an existing bad perception of you.