Making waves as a startup is vitally important to the success of your company. Without attention from investors, your target market and the industry as a whole, you’re going to have a hard time coming out of the first few years with a thriving company. You’re juggling a lot, and trying to pull all of the pieces together – but it’s essential that one of those pieces is your branding strategy. Establishing and growing a strong brand can make the difference between success or becoming another statistic.
Here are three easy steps that you can use to clarify your brand and grow your startup.
Get clear about what you do
“What do you do?” is the most common question that entrepreneurs hear, yet it’s also one of the most difficult to answer. Many start-ups are unclear about what language to use, and stumble over the benefits and features of their products and services. It’s important to clarify what your company does into one clear sentence in plain English. Don’t fill your branding statement with overly advanced language or “corporate speak.” Write down a summary statement that offers a few supporting details that is clear and concise. Then, as you would memorize lines in a script, practice saying them out loud and time yourself. In today’s world, messages need to be digestible within seconds or people lose interest. This one sentence won’t encapsulate all that you do, but it will give people you meet a taste of what your company has to offer. Then take your concise elevator pitch to the streets and test it out. Many entrepreneurs have coworking space memberships as an affordable workspace solution. Attend a networking event and try out your elevator pitch with a couple of your fellow members and see how it feels. Do they get it? Ask for feedback and make adjustments from there.
Make sure you’re different from the rest
Doing what everyone else does is not going to help you stand out in a crowded market. Even if you do compete in some areas, it’s best to focus on the ways that you are different from everyone else. Why should people choose your services or products over your competition? What really sets you apart? What are the unique attributes and selling points of your offering? Are you the lowest price in town? Is it marketing or tech? Do you have partnerships with other businesses which your customers will benefit from? Get specific about the value you bring so potential customers can quickly understand how you’re uniquely positioned to better solve problems than your competition.
Pro tip: Don’t fall into the trap of explaining how great you are in ways that others in your field explain themselves. Look at the website and marketing brochures of your competition, and then remove their names. Re-read the content, and if it sounds similar to ways you have explained your company, then it’s time to rebrand and refocus your materials, so you sound different.
Nail down your design and look
Many companies make the mistake of getting a shiny new logo or website identity before they think about the bigger picture. Be sure you are clear about what you do and how it’s different before you work with the visuals. Hire a great graphic designer or web designer who can take your statements and identity and communicate them visually. It may be worth it to get a committee together and set-up a few meetings to collaborate and evaluate the options and pick the design and colors that best communicate your statements and differentiators. Then be sure that the look is consistent across the board. Brand your website, printed marketing materials, social media profiles and email newsletters for consistency.
Your brand may need to be refreshed and refined over time, but following these three steps at the outset will help your company become established more quickly. Don’t discount the power of branding! Start putting together your list of what you do now, and then clarify how you’re different. You’ll see much better results from your branding efforts.
To learn more on what you can do to position your startup business for success, including how to choose an affordable workspace solution, contact us at CloudVO.