Finding the idea, the funding, the time, the staff... and the brand. There are a million different things to juggle in the early days of a startup, but building your brand is something you can't afford to neglect.
By Sumeera Rasul (Co-founder, Madesmith)
Telling a story about your brand is the most important thing you can do for your business. Branding is the face of your business and it’s how the world perceives it. If this isn't not done right, it can make it very difficult for customers and investors to understand why your business exists in the first place.
It is very common for startups to focus their efforts in the beginning on other objectives such as press coverage, acquiring funding and talent. Branding often takes a backseat. However, making sure that the brand story is in place at the very start not only helps people communicate their ideas, their passion and their mission, but it will also help them with all the other strategic goals and objectives to ensure that their business survives and thrives. It will also help when it comes to marketing and press releases in a big way by providing a meaningful story that resonates and sticks with the audience.
What Is Branding?
These days branding is much more than the design of a logo or a website. A brand needs to tell a story that is authentic, clear, and stands itself apart from it’s competition. Have a think about the products and services you prize above all others and about what their brands mean to you. What comes to mind? How does it make you feel? Simple things like font, colours, layout and language will all have an effect on how consumers perceive a company's brand.
First impressions are very important for a startup, and it’s critical that your startup's identity and brand are defined clearly from day one.
How To Create Your Brand
At Madesmith, we work with many makers and their brands in their infancy to help them not only survive this initial stage, but also build a system that helps them thrive. We often start with a very simple exercise of asking six foundational questions that help define the purpose of a brand from the very start. It's worth taking the time to consider:
- What is the purpose of my business?
- What values does my business stand for?
- What emotions does it evoke?
- How does it help my audience?
- How is it different from others like it?
- How much of my own beliefs and personality does it reflect?
Answers to the above questions will not only assist you in defining your business, it will also help you:
- Build a story
- Clarify your purpose
- Guide your day to day business decisions
- Focus on the right partnerships
- Attract the right talent
- Create a roadmap to long-lasting stability
So, before you reach for any other strategic objectives, you need to make sure that you have created a branding story and a system that helps you tell that cohesive story about who you are and why you exist. Once you have a strong sense of your brand, this narrative needs to be communicated in a consistent manner throughout all the appropriate channels such as pitch decks, website, social media, blog, press coverage and marketing materials. It really will make a huge difference, in the short-term and the distant future.
Women 2.0 readers: Do you have any other tips when it comes to building a brand?
About the guest blogger: Sumeera Rasul is the co-founder of Madesmith.com, a website devoted to telling the stories of designers who make sustainable, handmade objects in America and sell featured designers’ limited edition products exclusively to the readers of Madesmith. Prior to launching Madesmith, she worked in corporate digital advertising, and always had a deep interest in sustainable community growth and a love of all things digital. Follow Madesmith on Twitter at @MademithCo Photo credit: joingate via Shutterstock