How to Create a Branding Strategy for Your Startup?

Why is branding important? Branding determines the public’s feelings towards a company and its products, it is critical in how well a business fares up against competitors. It’s what helps customers distinguish the company from similar businesses. A business must brand itself in a way that makes it the natural option for new, or face being overlooked for companies with similar products.

While most people can copy a product or an idea, a brand will always be unique. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are in many ways similar, however, a long history of branding means that people will be more inclined to choose one over the other.

Apple is another example of proper branding. While many have been critical of Apple, they know how to captivate their audience, and the results speak for themselves, not only does Apple have the biggest brand value in 2018, they also managed to become a trillion dollar company.

Internal branding

Companies such as Apple remain at the top of their game due to factors such as branding, and this branding philosophy is felt throughout the company. A company can spend as much time on external branding as they want, but if they don’t spend time on internal branding, then the effort on the external will be wasted.

Ultimately, if your own employees don’t believe in your brand, how can you expect your customers to? Internal branding ensures that employees embrace company values. This way, when executing strategy, they will be more enthusiastic about the product/service, and this does not go unnoticed. Remember, employees are the face of the brand.

When devising a branding strategy, consider the following:

Have a purpose

Having a clearly defined vision helps customers understand what you’re trying to achieve, beyond mere profit. For consumers to know that your e-commerce brand is trying to achieve something substantial can help the company to resonate.

Asos can be seen as a role model on how to brand your business, as their espoused values are aspirational for customers. And it shows. They market their products accordingly and have built a community of unique individuals that contribute to their platform.

Unique marketing

Getting consumers to choose your e-commerce over big companies like Amazon, is facilitated by emotional connection. Unique branding will aid in the customer discovery process, as even consumers who are looking for alternatives to Amazon need to choose your startup over all the others.

Good branding firmly positions your brand in the customers mind, allowing them to choose your products with the minimum amount of cognitive dissonance. If you are able to connect, you’ll establish yourself as the default choice for your product category. Dollarshaveclub is a perfect example. Their video went viral and due to its alternative approach to marketing that resonated with people.

Unique experience

Unique experiences set you apart from other major e-commerce companies that may treat all customers the same. As a small company with fewer customers, you are better able to tailor the experience to them.

By treating customers as individuals, they will feel appreciated and more likely to return,  instead of being treated in a generic way.

Design a quality website

A website gets your brand, values and necessary information across to customers, and an optimised website will decrease increase your customer conversation rate.

The principle of cognitive ease also plays a role in decision making: when presented with complex information, the brain must work harder to process this information, which is mentally exhausting. Websites using simplicity come across as more pleasing as they decrease the amount of effort the brain has to put in.

Social media

Used correctly, social media can connect you with your target audience. People use social media for up to nine hours a day, as such, avoiding it is not an option. It can be utilised as a customer service platform, for general inquiries and troubleshooting issues. Ikea is an example of how a corporate uses social media to address different topics across different channels.

Consistency

Being consistent with your brand allows customers to better remember it. Specific colour and font, and tone in messaging are all important. In the 21st century, consistency is a difficult balance to strike. As the digital revolution continues to disrupt traditional industries, established business are feeling a greater need to innovate.

Innovating whilst remaining consistent in brand message, however, can be difficult and this is considered to be a major factor in predicting the companies most likely to fail in the future.

Conclusion

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding branding. While some people view it as merely a slogan and logo, it’s clear that it’s much more than that. Having a well executed brand sets you apart from competitors, and getting employees aligned with brand philosophy will ensure maximum engagement with customers.

There are different ways of branding yourself, but putting in the effort shows your audience that you mean business. Generic e-commerce startups don’t last long when competition is so stiff, setting yourself apart is paramount.


About the author:
Adel-Alexander Aldilemi
is a content writer at Valuer.ai. He’s an avid traveller, and has lived across two continents and is currently studying humanities at Copenhagen University.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/adel-alexander-aldilemi-023157a0/