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Branding Basics for Startups

When a new business opens, its owners need to set it apart from others in its field. Marketers call this process branding. Think of all the world-famous brands: Coke. Nike. Mercedes-Benz. Just the name conjures up a logo, a color scheme—maybe even a jingle. At one time, those brands were the same as current startups. In addition to having great products, these companies got branding right. The rest is history.

Here’s how to make a startup a memorable brand:

 

1. Remember That a Brand is a Promise

 

Go back to those global brands. When customers see their names, they know that they will always enjoy a sweet, bubbly cola that tastes great anywhere it’s sold, a great pair of athletic shoes, or an astounding, well-built luxury car. That’s a promise. A company needs to put out consistent quality and stand behind its product—no matter what.

 

2. Consider Customers’ Needs

 

Consider the company’s target customers, too, when it decides on a brand strategy. An effective branding policy will do research about its customer base, so it can appeal to those who will buy its products. Consider their values, their needs, and their pain points. Position the company’s brand to meet them all.

 

3. Create a Memorable Logo

 

Give this a lot of thought. Consider turning it over to the pros. Labeling companies often have a graphic designer on staff if the startup plans to include labels or stickers in your marketing strategy. Agencies that supply freelance artists, such as Fiverr, can also supply new companies with a logo at a price can afford. A logo—from its colors to its design—should reflect a company’s values, goals, and its promise to its customers. Again, Coke’s red-and-white color scheme, its fonts, and its wave logo, all promise fun and energy. Nike’s swoosh speaks to superb, seemingly effortless athleticism. Mercedes’ star is the consummate symbol of elegance and luxury. Go and do likewise.

 

4. Once the Company Has Its Logo, Plaster It Everywhere

 

Work the logo into the company website’s header (the permanent top part of the site that stays from page to page), the stationery, the staff members’ uniforms and name tags, and all promotional gear the company offers. Use it on labeling, advertising, company vehicles, and signage if the company is a brick-and-mortar one.

 

5. Write an Effective Tagline

 

A tagline is like a logo in words. In only a few words, it should communicate all a company stands for. Brainstorm among the key players in the company, but consider hiring a professional copywriter. Agencies like Get a Copywriter and Fiverr have staffs of proven professionals who can tweak some of the possibilities to come up with a winning line.

 

6. Brand the Company’s Communication

 

It’s not only about using the logo. A company’s brand values should reflect in its advertising, spokespeople, social media posts, and articles. A company who sells eco-friendly products wouldn’t have a conspicuous consumer as its spokesperson. They would choose someone whose care for the environment echoes their own. A law office wouldn’t choose a bubbly jingle for its ads. It would use a more serious tone commensurate with their work. Use language that reflects the company’s values and communicates them clearly with potential and current customers.

 

With all these things in place, a company can get itself in front of more potential customers and deliver a message that will ring true with its customers’ values. When it gets branding right from the start, it makes sales skyrocket down the road for years to come.

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