If you’re launching a start-up then you need to have a strong brand. This is key to standing out in an increasingly crowded media landscape where your potential customers are bombarded with hundreds of sales messages every day.

So how do you build a strong brand for your start-up?

What is a brand?
Your brand is not your logo. It is the perception that your audiences have of your organisation and is formed through everything that you do.

Your logo has an important role to play in communicating your brand, but so does the way you use Twitter, the pictures that you use on your website and the way that you deal with customer complaints.

Consider Your Target Audience
You need to think about who exactly your product or service is aimed at. No start-up can aim themselves at every single consumer out there, so you need to work out who exactly you want to target and what aspects of their lives you need to become part of.

One thing which I like to do is develop personas. These are a representation of your target audiences and can be used to test your start-up brand as you develop it.

Do Your Market Research
It’s important to look at what exactly is already out there. If a similar product has been released but didn’t do well, focus on what exactly your start-up can do differently, in terms of marketing or the product itself.

If there are similar successful products and services out there, think about how you can improve on what they do and extra aspects that you can provide. Your main goal should be to differentiate yourself from similar companies and products – you can do that through visual branding, your company voice and, of course, through the product itself.

Consider Your Own Message
Every company should have an elevator pitch – a pithy, short one to two sentence summary of your company and what exactly you do so that you can explain it to people at events.

To come up with this statement, consider what exactly you’re passionate about and what you want your company to stand for, whether that’s strength, compassion, justice or anything in between.

Your start up’s ethos and mission statement should be about more than the product itself, and that ethos and mission statement should be replicated in every single thing that you do, from your logo to your social media to your packaging. It’s important that you’re consistent with your branding.

Figure Out How You Plan To Communicate
In all businesses, communication is key to your success, whether that involves the way that you communicate with your colleagues or the way that you communicate with your customers.

Everything that you do should be formed by your company’s brand: if your brand has a jovial, humorous voice then this is the sort of atmosphere that you should try to foster in your office as well.

As a start-up you’re unlikely to have a huge budget for your logo and website and even if you do, wait until you’ve proved the concept before spending lots of money (use Fivrr or 99Designs to get something that will get you started)

Stay True To Your Brand
With your brand, you need to make sure that your sincere passion and love for your product shine through. Enthusiasm is key to your success, but it shouldn’t come second to professionalism. You can deploy humour on Twitter while being professional at the same time and answering any customer queries.

Make sure you encourage your employees to be loyal to the brand and your start-up by treating them well and involving them in any discussions about branding – you need to make sure that everyone understands what exactly you’re trying to do.

Make sure that you don’t change your branding all the time – your customers need to recognise your logo so that they feel safe and comfortable and get the product and service that they’re expecting from your business. Improving your branding doesn’t necessarily mean making huge changes.

In conclusion, developing a strong brand for your start-up will help both attract and keep your customer base. Be unique and find your slot in the marketplace, and make sure that your branding is something that you really believe in.

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