5 brand building essentials for every new startup


I, along with my co-founder, spent the last couple of weeks meeting with some of the best marketing minds in the country at India’s highest rated PR agencies. While all of them had unique ideas on how to connect brands with their target audience, here are the five essentials almost all of them elaborated on:

Image Credit "ShutterStock"

  1. Story:It's all about blockbuster storytelling. Give people something they can relate to - something nostalgic, something funny, and/or something simple. The story has to genuinely communicate the reason for both your own and your product's existence. It must be an authentic, must touch hearts and connect with the audience on a personal level. While a need is fulfilled by a commodity, aspirational value is fulfilled by a brand. The Ghar Ka Khana ad campaign by Fortune Foods was a wonderful example of touching hearts with a story. Moms, the target audience, loved it.
  2. Content marketing:Marketing is evolving, just like everything else. Consumers pay little attention to direct advertisement, especially if the ad is not on a full page in a leading newspaper. Brands need to connect with journalists to have their story covered. The story could be an article on the top fashion trends of the season, in which case the writer will mention your brand along with nine others. Or, if your story is actually a blockbuster, then you can enjoy the privilege of some singular publicity for yourself.Also, referent power comes into play when a reputable media house covers a brand. Most newspapers print a weekly section covering what is hot in the market;it could be about tech and valuation, or simply what’s trending in men’s watches.
  3. Brand association:Connect with brands your target audience relates to. This brings about instant improvementof your brand's image in the eyes ofyour target audience, and adds credibility to your relatively new brand. It is, however, a strategy that comes with appreciable risks, as your brand's image can be tarnished if things go wrong with the other brand. A successful example of implementation of this technique is Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker. Previously, they had no presence in India, so building the trust factor was crucial to their success here. They sell their products exclusively on Flipkart, as people trust Flipkart’s policies. This gives a first-time buyer the sense of assurance and confidence needed to place an order.
  4. Creative communication:People’s eyes are busy, and they have very short attention spans. How do you grab eyeballs, then? The answer is simple - you can't; at least not with a ‘start-up’ marketing budget. The only way a new brand can gain attention is by being dangerously creative in its marketing campaign.Millennials are more connected than ever; when they like something they share it with hundreds. US-based startup Dollar Shave Club ships men’s shaving razors for a dollar every month. What’s really interesting about this company is how they launched; at 6am California time with about a minute and half long video on Youtube, an incredibly creative one of the Co-founder detailing the reasons for their existence.
  5. Influential outreach:It’s about more than just getting actors and sports icons to say something good about your brand; it's about personalizing your reach. Connect with a local who hasa large social media following, but is living everyday life with a passion for something that fits with your goals. This person could be a photographer with few thousand followers on Instagram, or a fashion blogger, or even a tech blogger. Get 20 of these on board rather than one A-list celebrity. This grounded approach helps reinstate brand's authenticity. For example, Motorola recently started an influencer program, through which they are reaching out to photographers with a decent social media following. The photographers take shots of one of Motorola’s phones, and post these pictures on their own social media. In return, the photographer gets to keep the phone.

About the Author: Sushant Saini is a finance professional and an enthusiastic starter. He lives in Canada and is working to launch an eyewear brand in India. He is a 10K runner and appreciates how simple, yet powerful, products are being built using technology. His fun filled startup journey can be followed at Instagram.com/parkandfinch)


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