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Essentials of Branding for Startups

Startups have different challenges to face compared to those which older businesses encounter. Although full of passion, drive and energy, startups usually don’t have enough time or money to invest into branding. Nevertheless, branding should begin early on, if only to immediately build brand equity for future leveraging.

What Is Branding?

As opposed to what many people think, a logo alone does not make a brand. It’s not merely a matter of having a good website or professionally designed business cards. These are definitely important, but something far more crucial must be define. And the good thing is, it’s free.

Based on the Business Dictionary, branding is providing a product a unique name and image in the minds of consumers, mostly through advertising campaigns with a constant theme. Furthermore, it is a way of establishing a differentiated presence in the market that is attractive to customers and encourages loyalty among them. Thus, a startup business owner should think deep into the image that should represent his brand in customers’ minds. Before deciding on this image, the business owner should first define two things – what’s unique about the business and what unique value it offers.

Advantages Offered by a Good Branding Strategy

Businesses have a good number of benefits to expect from an effective branding stragegy. For one, brand design catches the attention of consumers. Branding can also affect directly the prices that can be charged for a business’ products or services. Good branding brings less direct competition. A brand also encourages repeat buying behavior after it has been established as a good one, and can be as vital to a business as acquisitions, investments, partnerships and talents. There could be benefits that are specific to different business types, but the above are the most prevalent.

Creating a Good Brand

It has to be memorable.

Brands that stand out, win. Branding that plays it too safe defies its own purpose. The goal is to give a brand a unique feel compared to the competition instead of simply blending in with the crowd.

It should have a clear value proposition.

A value proposition should not be shallow or general. For instance, excellent customer service is desirable to consumers. The problem is, it has become the value proposition of too many brands. Uniqueness is the most crucial element of a successful value proposition. It should provide benefits that people will probably not expect.

It should be consistent.

What makes branding really work is consistency. A brand can only be embedded in the minds of consumers if it conveys one and the same message through all of its campaigns. Having different messages is confusing and reduces potential brand equity.

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