How To Brand Your Startup and Start Marketing It

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By guest author Thomas Kucharski

A whole book could be written on how to brand a business and how to place it wisely in the market. Here, I’m going to give you a quick overview of the most basic branding factors to consider when starting a new business. First of all, the packaging (both literally and figuratively) of your product or service should be attractive. In other words, even the greatest idea should be branded so that people can readily identify it. Imagine Nike without their swoosh or Pepsi without their red, white, and blue logo. Would they be as successful? The answer is no. Of course, you should never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising but your relatives and team-mates are not enough to spread the word about your business. The branding must start long before you actually launch your products or services. Your audience must be ready to instantly buy whatever you offer long before you start offering it. So it’s a good idea to start planning your business for a long time before you commit to anything. You’ll want to have a business that your potential customers will really want. So it would be a good idea to first see where there is a gap in the market. For example, if you see that there is gap for service industries then that is the business that you should go into. You could even take a look at using landscaping software to help you plan and organise your business better so that your potential customers will be more then satisfied with the services that you offer. You might wonder how this can even be possible if people have never experienced your products or services. That’s a fair question. Let me explain.

Company name, tagline, and logo

You have two options here. Either you pay some branding company to create this for you or you do it all on your own. As a startup, you might want to research a bit and do it yourself. To start, take a look at what other similar brands have:

  • What do their logos look like?
  • What do their taglines and slogans look like?
  • How unique are they?
  • How do these brands interact with their customers?

It is important to observe all these things in order to not copy other businesses and make your brand even cooler and way more original.

  • As for the company name, make sure it is something that describes you best of all. Follow these tips to make your company name stand out as much as possible:
  • Keep it short and memorable
  • Make it related to what you offer
  • Let it describe your vision
  • Make sure it is understandable to your target market
  • Do not be afraid of experimenting; for example, you can even invent a name for your brand
  • Make it related to what you offer
  • Let it describe your vision
  • Make sure it is understandable to your target market
  • Do not be afraid of experimenting; for example, you can even invent a name for your brand

Another important thing that will help you tell your story is your company tagline/slogan. Usually, this is either a phrase or a short sentence. However, it is ridiculously hard to be brief when it comes to representing a whole company with a simple sentence. You might need the help of a copyrighter to generate a worthy slogan for your brand. If you decide to create it yourself, bear these tips in mind:

  • Include a keyword or a key benefit your company offers
  • Make it memorable
  • Make it fun and easygoing
  • Let it be something motivational rather than intriguing

As soon as you have chosen a company name and a tagline, it is time to create a logo that is going to represent your company virtually everywhere since it will be on your business cards, your packaging and even on your website. A logo is the first visual that reaches your customer and tells them about your company. So, it should be closely connected with the company name (some startups even choose their logos to be the stylized textual version of their company names) and, of course, it should be catchy and interesting to look at. Usually, when creating a logo, companies put some internal meaning into it. For example, let’s take Toyota’s well-known logo. It represents all the letters in the word Toyota with one simple symbol. Examples are endless; you can search them on the web or you can simply hire a freelance designer to create a few samples for you. If you wonder where you can find freelancers, Up Work and Fiverr are the best platforms to find and hire some really talented men and women ready to work on one-time projects at really low prices.

Company website and social media presence

Did you know that statistics show that the average American spends more than two hours a day on his or her mobile device? A company website and an app are practically a must-have for any business. It will help your customers get in touch with you and know you better. Usually, the website’s domain name is the same as the company’s name since it helps the brand get easily recognized. As for the website itself, make it as responsive and user-friendly as possible. The navigation should be intuitive and simple. Make sure the design matches your overall brand identity and your business voice.

A website is not a one-time thing, remember. You can’t just create one and leave it be. It must be updated constantly with useful, interesting, and engaging content. You had better have a “blog posts” page that allows you to post interesting stuff either about your products and services, or your company news and announcements or your daily routine. It is a good idea to show the world what an awesome team you are since it will motivate people towards buying things from you.

An ideal website must have the following sections plus some additional ones depending on your business goals:

  • An “About us” page where you tell the website visitor about your team, your services, your vision, your daily routine and the people you work for
  • A separate “Services or Products” page where you show in more detail what you do (you can also add price packages for each service or product you provide)
  • A blog as mentioned above
  • A “Contact us” page that must include your contact information, addresses, phone numbers and the rest

A website is not enough for your media presence. You need to be active on social media as well. Open your company accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Flickr, and Pinterest. Make sure you have a YouTube account as well to post company videos. All these social media websites will help you get in touch with your potential customers and enlarge your customer base by providing them with useful information and fun videos. You can even offer your followers special coupons and discounts. A good social reputation will help preserve a good brand image that everyone wants to follow and be a part of. Besides, social media platforms help companies create long-lasting brand-customer relationships. By being active in social media, you will be able to see what people think about your brand and your services. This will help you improve whatever you are selling.

Your customer service and your employees

Your marketing efforts must be backed with perfect customer service. Your brand should be consistent in delivering what it promises. Moreover, every employee of yours (regardless of their role in the team) must acknowledge that their work impacts your brand’s image directly. Following are several simple tips for you:

  • Create a company “voice” and stick to it
  • Use consistent design
  • Keep true to your vision
  • Always keep your promises

And remember, make sure your products are easy and intuitive to use. Whether it is product packaging or a website interface, it should provide a simple and easy user experience. These are several things you must consider when starting a new business. As soon as you have an awesome idea, it is time to generate a business plan.

What Is A Business Plan?

A business plan is a simple roadmap that outlines the steps you are going to take to transform your business goals and vision into reality. It is a document that reflects how you and your team are going to achieve your business goals.

In the past, a business plan was usually a long and boring formal document that had to be written and put aside on a shelf along with volumes of books that nobody was going to read. Today, it has transformed into something much more useful and effective, something you cannot just write up and ignore. A business plan might be needed for different reasons such as:

  • Finding investors
  • Requesting a loan
  • Guiding your employees towards the realization of company goals
  • Tracking business progress
  • Managing assets and finances

However, the most important reason for creating a business plan is to ensure you follow the right steps when starting your business. It is a kind of guide that will help you achieve success and take into account all the details of starting your business. When you write a business plan just for yourself, you can omit the following things:

  • The description of the management team
  • The description of how you are going to close the business in case your initiative fails

This means that a modern business plan does not have to be a long document. There was a time when business plans were easily more than 40-50 pages. Nowadays, you can even have a one-page simple and persuasive business plan that meets all your business needs.

As you can see, a business plan is nothing more than a simple draft of how you are going to succeed in your business. The business plan is not a tricky and complicated document like you might have imagined. Instead, it is something really useful whether you are starting a new business or running an existing one. Following are a few ideas to help you get the idea of what a business plan really is:

  • Typically, it is not something too long (even one page can suffice)
  • For most successful businesses it is just a few bullet points on a piece of paper
  • It usually includes your business goals, the tasks you are going to complete to achieve them and a few ideas about how you are going to distribute your funds
  • You only need to print out a business plan in case it is needed for outsiders (banks, investors) to decide whether to provide you with financial assistance or not.

About the author: Thomas Kucharski is a Brand Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands, human-to-human. After spending nearly a decade working in PR and marketing for successful brands and startups.

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