Every startup starts with a vision. Although you may have a gist of your brand’s image, there are a lot of details and nuances to tackle. This is a fact that isn’t often realized until you’re in the middle of actualizing your brand. Many startups might think that it’s easy. Who knows their business better than the owner? In reality, a lot of research, analytics, experimentation, and brainstorming come into play.
In the middle of the process, a startup owner can start to realize the contributions of a brand design studio. However, there are other essential things to set up. Covering these basics will help the process of building the brand a little easier with a little more clarity.
Define Your Target Market
An excellent place to start is getting to know your target market. A target market is a group of people who can potentially benefit from what you have to offer, be it a service or product. Getting to know your target market is helping in the strategy-making process. It also enables you to understand what appeals to them.
If you don’t know where to start, look at your current customer base. Who are they mostly composed of? What age range do they fall under? Where do most reside in? It also helps to study your direct competitors since they likely have a similar target market as you.
Study Your Competitors
Speaking of direct competitors, study their marketing campaigns, strategies, business model, and branding. Study their strengths and weaknesses. From this information, figure out a way to stand out, especially if the market is saturated. Figure out how you can do better while avoiding their mistakes.
Come up with a name, logo, color scheme, brand voice, etc., and stick with it. These elements make up the brand image and will only be effective if done consistently. It should be consistently conveyed in marketing campaigns, communication with others, and more. If it’s taking time to hone in on these elements, don’t fret. The trial-and-error process is normal yet essential. Study reactions, analytics, and engagement in the brand’s social media platforms. Observe which words, phrases, and slogans are aligned with the brand’s image. With time, you’ll be able to hone in on the right elements that convey your brand accurately and effectively.
Let Your Values Be the Core
Every business has its values, vision, and mission statements. These are often underestimated and done for formality’s sake. However, these determine a brand’s image, character, and long-term goals. The values statement pertains to the code of ethics of a brand. It defines the way they interact with others within and outside the organization. On the other hand, the vision statement states where the organization is going, while the mission states what it will do to get there.
An interesting consumer behavior observed today is people’s preference for authentic, transparent, and quality products. Products that also offer social value, awareness, promote advocacy, etc., appeal to many consumers. As brands get personal, consumers become attracted to their vulnerability and openness. Understandably so, as it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the established mass-producing big corporations out there. Everybody wants something that’s real.
Discover Your Competitive Advantage
It’s essential to come up and highlight your brand’s edge, especially if it’s in a saturated market. As mentioned, it helps to study your competitors’ weaknesses. Maybe what they lack can be your strength. Moreover, ask yourself why customers buy from you. What do you have that others don’t? What should you improve on? Some sources of competitive advantage include differentiating your product or service, understanding your customers’ willingness to pay, price discrimination, bundle pricing, and human capital.
Develop a Community
Building a community fosters brand identity and affirms the quality of your products or services. Additionally, people usually trust reviews more than the claims of a brand. Seeing that a brand has transformed potential customers into loyal ones says a lot in their perspective.
Building a community online is easy to do for the tech-savvy startup owners of today, from subreddits to Facebook groups. You could even launch a brand ambassador program to spearhead the formation of the community.
The Bottom Line
Establishing your brand is never an easy challenge, but its output is worth the effort and resources spent. This may heavily depend on your target market’s perception, but that’s what branding is all about. It’s about having your own style and personality to make you memorable and stand out among your competitors.