How would you describe your company as a brand? Branding is crucial to all businesses, but especially to start-ups staking their niche on the industry. Survey the history of any successful business and you’ll notice its brand can evolve, but is often identified by one defining value.
Your branding is your identity in the industry, also the market’s perception of your business. This will set you apart in the face of tight competition, keep you relevant when the market is shaky, volatile, unpredictable. Have you ever wondered why the best brands are able to charge more for products and services? It’s because they’ve developed deep connection with their markets, a relationship based on brand trust.
If you’re still figuring out your company brand, here are a handful of guidelines to consider:
1. Defining your brand. This has everything to do with your product or service, as well as your niche in the industry. What’s your target market and demographics? Pinpoint the particular appeal of your business to your customers. How is your business set apart from the competition? Is it customer service, product quality, consistency? Your brand is a set of character traits that promote your business, something that deeply relates to your customer base.
2. Think of your brand as a person, with quirks, preferences, character. Many business brands are inseparable from their founders: think Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. Is the CEO the face and embodiment of your business brand? Some also humanize their business as a brand, ascribing mission, vision, and purpose as characteristic traits. Does the company have its own set of heroes and mentors? Clarify your core values if you want to flesh out your business brand.
3. Build relationships with your market. Nothing spoils a brand than a string of empty promises. If you’re going to announce the release of a revolutionary product, make sure expectations are met upon launch date. In short, don’t sit on a bubble that will eventually pop. Building trust with your customers means you respect their preferences and expectations, ensuring you’ll deliver to any guarantee you’ll ever make.
Building a brand requires patience and consistency, and you might stumble over roadblocks and potholes along the way. However, you’re sure to gain traction, so long as you stay true to your company’s core values.