The importance of Branding for Entrepreneurs and New Ventures

23rd Dec 2010
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Almost as a rule, the entrepreneur is faced with stiff competition from established businesses and brands. And more often than not, it is the lack of brand value that eventually downplays a new venture. Even though the entrepreneur decides to invest in innovation and "unventured" markets, he is unable to attract consumers for his products. Usually, entrepreneurs refer to established brands in setting up their brand value. But doing so actually results in the downgrading of the brand.Branding is a core business activity that is often neglected by new businesses and entrepreneurs. There are four main avenues of branding, an entrepreneur should not neglect. The primary goal of any entrepreneur should be making sure the target audience has heard of his company. The advent of the internet, through increasing viewership, has made itself the single most powerful tool for an entrepreneur to publicize his business. It is the most effective and cheapest tool of branding that a new venture can invest in. A website and a blog containing all possible information a consumer or an investor requires is a must-have. In fact, companies which branded themselves through the branding mediums of yesteryears like TV and Radio are feeling the pinch due to lack of presence online.

The online world also brings with it certain negatives. The social media revolution has now given the power to the consumer to negatively brand any company or venture they want. It is rare for a new venture to bring in negative remarks but a portal to address these grievances needs to be up and running. Anything that a consumer sees about you online should show why you are the preferred choice. Of course, building a brand also requires that the entrepreneur and his employees mention their company in relevant forums and profile. But again, social media is a double-edged sword. One of Twitter's engineers, Alex Payne, quit blogging because one of his tweets created a minor firestorm among Twitter App developers and others in the company. One employee can ruin your company. A quick solution to this is to embrace a social media policy. It is striking that today, only 29% of the companies of the world have a social media policy. Having one today will not only prevent unwanted embarrassments, it'll help in strengthening the company's brand.

What most entrepreneurs fail to grasp is that it is not only their company that needs branding. For a consumer, the company is synonymous with its maker. The entrepreneur is always looked up to. It is seldom that one finds companies whose owners are not considered to be experts in the respective fields. If the owner is discredited, so is the company. Personal branding has never been more important as in the 21st century as before. Web 2.0 enables the person as a brand to grow. Active accounts on various social media forums like Facebook and Twitter ensures that every individual is heard and reachable. The entrepreneur needs to align his goals and visions with that of the company. By building his brand as an expert in the industry he's working in, he effectively gives more value to his company. He makes it easier to promote his company. Gaining respect in his peer circle and in the circle he interacts should be the first aim of any entrepreneur. Personal branding gives this very respect. In fact, preachers of branding brand themselves through social media.

Importance of Branding

Another important branding avenue is the concept. If people like a concept, they are attracted to the product. A well-structured and well-formed concept will virally spread through his audience if he brands himself accordingly. If the industry is a place where the concept has been in use since eons, he would do good to find a different approach to showcase that concept. The difference in approach to promoting your concept will not only catch your consumer's attention but will leave your competitors grasping the phone to dial your number!

The entrepreneur's community is the people that support him in his venture. He needs to engage people in his community to keep his concept in the spotlight, and therefore, his company. Spreading his concept to more people increases his chances of his brand being the "next-best-thing". The consumer is always the best judge of a product/service. Well-serviced clientele reins in even better clientele. And to feed the base is, the entrepreneur needs to ensure that they are always engaged with his brand, whether directly or indirectly. Continuous interaction actually results in the consumer turning into an expert of the brand, thus giving the entrepreneur low-cost publicity while ensuring high traffic! Word-of-mouth has and always will be the best form of publicity for an entrepreneur.

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