More than 100 million startups are launched every year, which is about 3 startups per second, and guess what? 90% of them fail. Failure of a startup can be from a variety of reasons, and having a poor branding strategy is one of them.
Effective branding is at the heart of a great business. Companies like Apple, Airbnb, and even Coca Cola didn’t just make an impact because they have great products. These companies are effective because they know how to present themselves to the right audience at the right time.
Three "C's" to Keep in Mind:
All you need to do is keep the three “C’s” in mind: Clarity, Consistency, and Creativity while following these steps:
Step 1: Find Your Target Group
As much as we would like the whole world to be our customers, it is impossible and unrealistic to think so. The more diverse the target audience, the more diluted your marketing efforts will be. So how do you know if you have chosen the right target client group? Research. Research helps you understand your target clients’ perspective and priorities, anticipate their needs and put your message in the tone that resonates with them. To select your target group, you can use the funnel approach. You can segregate your product on the basis of gender, age and income level. This will help you get a detailed insight about which target groups will be interested in your product or services.
Step 2: Differentiate from The Existing Competitors
To stand out from your competitors, you need to find your purpose. Your purpose should be something that is different from the rest of the brands in the market. It can be targeting a new problem that the customer thought never existed or offering a unique solution to an already existing problem. You can provide a solution to a problem with a hint of your own style.
Let's take Airbnb as an example. Airbnb promises to deliver “living like a local” wherever you travel. They’ve leveraged a nearly untapped gap in the hotel industry: a taste of real life. They even evolved that promise of authenticity by offering curated “locals-only” experiences. Want to surf in Bali like a pro? Or hang out with a yogi in India? They’re on it. That’s why 150 million users are registered on Airbnb, and it averages 500, 000 stays per night. Such a great branding strategy, isn't it?
Step 3: Choose the Right Brand Name
Don't be in a hurry to name your startup. Do a proper research before jumping into any conclusion. By rushing to give yourself and your company a title, you can end up with some truly terrible names. Brand name is the most important part of your brand's identity. It's what the customers think when they hear your name. A rule of thumb to follow– if you need to explain how to pronounce your name, or justify how your name relates to your business and what it means, then you might not be on the right track.
The key is to keep it simple. You can create a name by several permutations and combinations. You can also translate a word that represents your brand to some other language. But all this aside, the customers should feel a connect with your font, style, color and graphics of your brand name. A name should be selected in such a way that it represents your values and goals clearly.
Step 4: Finding the Right Voice and Tone
Just like creating visual guidelines for your logo, colors and typography, your brand system needs emotional guidelines. How your brand treats people in written and spoken word can make or break you. That’s where voice and tone come in.
A great example of memorable voice and tone would be the infamous Wendy’s Twitter account. Their responses to customers and competitors alike have made headlines. Their team stays consistently sarcastic, and give their readers a good laugh.
Step 5: Create a Consistent Brand Image
Creating a brand environment is even more crucial for developing a branding strategy for your start-up. You can't have different themes going on in your website and on other online accounts. You need to have a guideline which should be followed at every platform because that is how your customers are going to recognize you. To leave a lasting impression in their minds, you have to give them something they'd remember you by. The more they come across your style of content online or offline, the higher are the chances of your target customers remembering your brand. Themes, color scheme and context should be consistent across all your platforms, be it your website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or print.
For maintaining a brand consistency, you need to take care of the following elements across all your platforms:
- Have a consistent aesthetic style in terms of font, color scheme, logo and images.
- Follow a uniform verbal style in terms of voice and tone.
- Have steady goals and values across both online and offline channels.
As an example of an engaging, branded content, take Daniel Wellington, a premiere brand for exquisite watches. When you land on their website, it’s clear why the company exists and what does it stand for.
Their website copy, photography, and overall content is so high quality. When you move over to their Instagram, the feeling is the same. It’s seamless, and there’s no disruption in the overall marketing experience. Every email campaign is a delight. Their marketing is clear and it’s easy to fall in love with them.
There are multiple ways to control your branding strategy and you are missing out on massive communications opportunities if you ignore these points. 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. The choice is yours!