Branding your business is a powerful exercise which, in itself can contribute to the success or failure of your start up. Your brand is essentially the voice and the identity of your business or company. If you want to a customer’s top choice you need to build and manage a powerful brand.
Of course, the most successful brands will have access to and employ top branding agencies, but for the majority of today’s lean start-ups, out comes the whiteboard and the notepad and pen for multiple brainstorming sessions! If you can afford to; always allow some budget to enlist the help of a professional who will help you make a seamless transition from a ‘business name’ to a household brand.
When choosing a branding agency to employ, ensure you ask for references and examples of recent work, together with an estimate for their services. If you are unable to afford the complete package, perhaps you could ask them to break down their costs and help with a specific aspect of the branding process.
In any event, you will need to do some homework before you start the branding process or approach a branding company to take on your project.
Essential questions to ask yourself include;
1. Find Out Who Your Company Really Is and What Makes It Unique:Why are you different to others? It is important to delineate what differentiates you from others in your niche and then go on to build your brand by emphasizing that competitive edge that you hold.
2. Identify and Understand Your Competition:
Another key factor is to research and understand the peculiarities of your competitors. Figure out what unique features you need to incorporate into your business to make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. See how you can identify your brand by pointing out the features you need to be unique.
3. Define How your Product Or Service Is Going to Benefit the Customer:
Point out how your product or service will benefit your customers. Make a list and develop it into a tagline. See how uniquely your product will serve your customers.
4. Identify Your Audience:
Find out the exact requirements of your target market how you can cater to their particular needs. Try to predict how they will feel about your product or service and what emotional response they will come up with.
5. Develop a Personality:
Will you be traditional, trendy, quirky, up to the minute, solid, strong, fast, cheap, luxurious? Whichever you choose, you will need to communicate this to the customer. Your product or service must reflect that personality throughout – you have to be consistent.
What to do next
In short your brand can be defined by answering 3 simple questions;
1) Who are you?
2) What do you do?
3) Why does it matter?
Once you have decided the message you want to deliver, you need to develop a name, logo and a tagline for your product or service. These three almost constitute the entirety of your brand. Your name should be unique and smart; your logo should be unique and it should reflect your product or service; your tagline should be easy to remember, offering a quick definition of what your product or service does or conveying its benefits.
In case you decide to seek professional help for building your brand, there are branding agencies that you can hire. Guerilla Communications is a great example of a branding agency to consider; they have vast experience in branding services, their website clearly shows a portfolio of recent clients and recent work. They look friendly and approachable and cover all aspects of branding, so you could select a specific aspect of the branding process as opposed to an entire branding package.