We all have our definitions of branding, but most schools of thought agree on one thing – branding is necessary. With its magnitude established, it becomes imperative to answer the next most-important question – when? Most young startups are too eager to be recognised and think of branding as the best option to do so. At a time when the focus should be on designing, analysing, and testing the core idea, if you indulge in branding, you are sure to regret the move. However, if you have done your homework and are ready to launch yourself on the world stage, here are a few steps you can to slowly permeate the minds of the masses.
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This strategy never grows old. If you like to hear your brand’s name, make people talk about it. And no, we don’t mean on social media but within their neighbourhoods, their friend circles, and alumni meets. Nothing makes your brand come alive more than its ability to bring friends and strangers together by way of conversation.
If you are bootstrapped for cash but need your company to become known, the best thing to do is participate in as many college festivals and community get-togethers as possible. You can set up a booth or stall, distribute leaflets, and organise games that get people to flock your stall. You can also make video recordings of such events and post them on your social media page to tell people what they’ve been missing.
In the end, it comes down to how, and how well, you interact with your consumer. It doesn’t matter if you do that under the cold and distant ceilings of a Louis Vuitton or in a dinky little coffee shop. If your intention is honest and well-articulated, it will make the consumer feel happy and recognised.
From quirky twitter feeds to elaborate and well-strung Facebook posts, your social media account holds the key to defining your rapport with people. Lawrence Watkins of Great Black Speakers gives a personal perspective to an altogether universal theme of being seen online, “My company gets more leads through social media than through our website. Therefore, I am spending a lot of time making sure that my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, AngelList, and Pinterest pages are the best they can be.” Apart from your usual, you can even create video tutorials to project your brand in a memorable way.
Writing forms a crucial aspect of brand building. Erik Severinghaus of SimpleRelevance enunciates the importance of building content with character. He says, “The best way to market is through creating compelling, valuable content.” And Matt Wilson of Under30Media highlights the impact consistent blogging can have your brand awareness. According to him, “You’ll be surprised at the opportunities that’ll come your way. It’s (blogging) an amazing networking tool because it allows people to get to know you on a mass scale.”
It’s important for young startups to understand that they have to fish for customers not only in the digital sea but in the virtual whirlpool as well. They are different from each other and little wonder, expect to be treated accordingly. According to Melissa Stanger, a contributor for Business Insider, “The online and offline customer differ in part due to the mediums being used to reach them; so both messaging and value propositions may vary. Additionally, because of the different types of attribution and metrics available for on- and off-line advertising, new brands often approach the two mediums are often approached with different goals and success metrics.”
A young startup has to face many challenges, but branding doesn’t need to be one of them as long as they keep their wits about them, not fail to experiment and not fear to fail, their childhood years in startup can prove both beneficial and fun.