Branding strategy for startups — where to start?

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Building brand awareness (so-called branding) is the basis without which it is difficult to imagine undertaking any business activities. The term covers assigning meanings, creating a network of associations, and consolidating ideas about the values professed by a given company, which together create a coherent, conscious vision of the company on the part of its recipients. What does an effective branding strategy consist of? Let’s take a look.

Branding strategy for startups. Table of contents:

  1. Personas in branding strategy for startups
  2. Brand axiology in branding strategy
  3. Unique selling proposition in branding strategy
  4. Brand positioning versus branding strategies
  5. FAQ. Branding strategy for startups. Frequently asked questions.

Personas in branding strategy for startups

Define your target audience

Launching a product or deciding to provide a service without knowing the profile of the potential recipient is like playing the pinata. That is why it is so important to define certain ideas about the real image of a potential customer of a given company (the so-called persona).

He or she has a name, gender, certain age, marital status, education, character traits, place of residence, interests, aspirations, needs and problems. It is their knowledge that grants not only appropriate profiling of the product or service itself but also the proper shaping of the marketing communication of the brand and the selection of tools used for this purpose.

Where to get this information?

The answer varies depending on the stage your product is at. After all, if you are taking your first steps with it, your ideas about the product and its targeting of particular audiences are a valuable resource in this regard.

If the product has already had a chance to prove itself on the market, analytical data showing the effectiveness of the actions taken so far may prove extremely useful.

At the end of the day, however, the data is used to create an image of a specific person along with his or her characteristics – so it is necessary to be able to interpret the obtained data and translate it into real character and needs.

A persona shaped in such a way will give a chance to create a qualitative, well-addressed message, which is especially important in the context of the ubiquitous ocean of ignored messages. Consistency in the scope of communication activities undertaken, in turn, supports building coherent marketing campaigns and consequently translates into a brand image.

Brand axiology in branding strategy

Why does branding matter?

Growing consumer awareness means that price and product quality are no longer the sole determinants of purchase decisions. The customer increasingly often chooses those brands whose values he or she can identify with.

Consequently, corporate social responsibility, production and employment ethics – all these play a significant role when it comes to branding strategy for startups. Their implementation makes it possible to gather around a brand a loyal group of consumers who, in all probability, would not stay with it for long just because of superficial “coolness”.

Develop real value

Authenticity is something that is highly valued in this era of ubiquitous post-truth and idealized images. Therefore, people have developed a deeper desire to support ideas with the real value behind them.

Branding strategy for startups has became more than just a way to differentiate goods and services from those of competitors. It is the experiences, emotions and values-oriented around it that constitute its true strength and identity.

How to identify brand values?

The first step towards achieving this has already been discussed, and that is identifying the audience for your products. It is the values they share that should be at the heart of the brand – this could be high quality, speed of service, a sense of intimacy and so on.

However, the issue of values can also be looked at from a broader perspective, by implementing the aforementioned CSR activities, i.e., corporate social responsibility, in which brands support pro-environmental, educational, social, etc. activities. They endorse expressing values, and what is most important – they introduce real changes in the world.

Unique selling proposition in branding strategy for startups

A unique selling proposition boils down to emphasizing a brand’s competitive advantages in the marketplace in its messaging.

This element, expressed in the language of benefits, is to convince potential customers of the profitability of your offer. At the same time, this element should be so expressive that it will prevail in favor of this particular choice.

And there are many ways to stand out. They may relate to the production process itself (e.g. cruelty-free, vegan, only natural ingredients), the characteristics of the final product (e.g. unique taste, unique texture), the available range of products (e.g. availability of different shades, sizes, complementary elements of the offer) or evaluation by consumers (the highest average score among competitive offers).

Brand positioning versus branding strategy for startups

Positioning is about designing the way you want your brand to be perceived through the eyes of your audience.

It’s a very important element when it comes to developing a branding strategy for startups. Positioning is a certain model, an assumption, which then, with the use of dedicated tools, you translate into the actual image of the company. Positioning is achieved by implementing successive stages of building brand awareness.

Among them, we should distinguish:

  • consumer insight, i.e., the concretization of the target group’s needs and their genesis,
  • a brand promise is a real promise made by a brand,
  • reason to believe, thus making the brand credible in terms of the promises it makes,
  • the already mentioned unique selling proposition or emotional selling proposition; the latter distinguishes a brand from its competitors on the level of emotions experienced by its customer’s thanks to the products it offers,
  • brand values, i.e., the already mentioned brand values,
  • brand voice, i.e., the way a brand conducts its marketing communication (e.g. the tone of its statement, its character, its overtone),
  • the key message, i.e., the main, most important message that resounds based on all the actions taken by the brand.

Positioning a brand in such a way allows creating its clear, consistent and original image.

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FAQ. Branding strategy for startups. Frequently asked questions:

  • What is branding?
  • Branding is the creation of brand awareness, which can be achieved by implementing a branding strategy.

  • What elements does a branding strategy for startups contain?
  • A branding strategy consists of elements such as building personas, values, a unique selling proposition, and brand positioning.

  • How to define a unique selling proposition?
  • A unique selling proposition is always formulated for a specific good or service. It’s a very important element of branding strategy for startups. The differentiators can relate to the product itself, the process of its creation, the available range of variants, the evaluations made by the brand’s customers, etc.

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