All of us remember this ad by CrabTree switches where a man instructs the builder to use only Crabtree switches and nothing else. His wife retorts: “A switch is a switch.” He laughs it off and asks her if they could have a cup of tea. He stops the car at a roadside chawl and a visibly shocked wife asks, “Here?” to which he replies, “Tea is tea”. This response gives the customer in you the assurance that Crabtree is of high quality. All startups should aim at creating a strong brand which will attract valuable investors, employees, business partners and customers.
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To succeed in a challenging environment, it is important that startups manage their brands effectively. Out of 1000s of multi-million-dollar brands around the world, only 100-odd companies can be considered as brands that are dearly loved by people. This shows that building a brand name is a challenge. Let us see what a brand should do to stay on top of the customers’ minds.
Stay on top of conversations around your product: Like branding, social media is all about creating conversations. These days, it is not enough to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. You must participate in your brand conversations by putting up regular posts and replying to messages from your customers. Social media has changed the way customers expect a response when they have a complaint to register or an issue to share. They expect instant access to their brands. Monitoring social media has become a must. It is advised that companies respond to social media posts before anything could go out of hand.
Offer a great product: The greatest branding exercise for your business is when you create your core product. It will sell your brand more than any other metric. Do not try to attract the average Joe with a substandard product at low pricing. Instead, go for premium pricing with a sturdy product that would satisfy most users. It is better to have fewer customers who are high paying than having to manage hundreds of low-paying customers who will add to your support and maintenance woes as well. When exceptionally successful companies start to play the market based on pricing, their brand value automatically drops.
Be open and inviting: You do not have to go out of your way to say that you are a cool company. Welcome customers of all ages, races, creeds and orientation with open arms. There should be an ideal customer profile but it should be based on their buying capacity and not on any other factors. Help fulfill human needs like a sense of belonging and self-esteem by being open to all people.
Target your niche market well: Online is a crowded world to be in. But most of us have nowhere else to sell other than online. Constantly shifting marketplace means that one must be creative in their approach towards differentiation. The better you understand your customers, the faster is the chance of the brand growing rapidly. Startups often struggle to define their target market and focus broadly, which is a mistake.
Showcase your work: A good brand is all about respect, trust, and relationships. Your customers would be eager to see your previous customers and what they have to say about the brand. Request your previous customers to post testimonials on your company’s work. Research says that a video testimonial carries more weightage than a few sentences put together in haste. This will add credibility to your brand. You could also add your clients’ logos on your website. Also, mention any awards or recognition that you have received to make your business look appealing.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)