Are you a startup planning to greet the world anytime now? Chances are, the term “business branding” is something you don’t know how to tackle yet. Well, don’t worry guys as this article is the last thing you will need for branding your startups.
So without delaying anymore, let’s get the real fun to begin. Sharpen your pencils or open your spreadsheet, here is a five-point checklist to help you build a brand from scratch.
1. Crystalize your products:
Chances are you have well analyzed your products. But before you dig deeper, you must take a step back and ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- What is this product?
- What does this product do?
- Who will care about this product?
- Why should they care about this product?
Make sure to keep the answers to these questions less than a paragraph. The next step is to simplify these answers into a single line. Once you are done, try to explain your product or service to others who are not your work people. You can talk to your family members or friends.
So how was it? Did you get the blank stares? Well, that means your work is not done yet. Simplify further and repeat this step until you got them interested and they’re able to understand what your product is about. Historically it’s proven again and again that simplicity always wins. If you have clear USP for your product or brand then promote that strongly on every platform.
2. Analyze competition:
One of the biggest blunders startups make and because of which they fail, is they don’t analyze the competitive landscape enough. If you are launching your startup without analyzing competition, you are risking your time, money and above all, passion. Here are some steps you need to follow to understand your product market:
- Who are your direct competitors? – Just google the key phrases that describe your product and analyze the search results. Most of them will be your competitors.
- How are they offering their products? – What are their USPs? Are they using any special offerings? Are they using special terms on their website?
- How do they look? – Is there any specific design they are using? Is there any visual design element everyone is using and you should avoid.
- What their customers and employees are saying about them? – You can check their testimonials page or you can look for review websites such as Glassdoor.
3. Create a buyer persona:
Once both of the above steps are carefully followed, the next step is to identify the right people to whom you want to introduce your product. Not every product can be targeted to everyone. You must identify the right audience in order to achieve greater ROI.
The process of creating a buyer persona is definitely worth the time for a longer run. It will help you and your team clearly understand what your audience cares about and how you can make your product relate to their problems. Buffer has provided here an amazing guide to creating a buyer persona that you can follow.
4. Choose a name and get the domain name:
Okay, I know, many of you might have already a brand name in mind. That’s what we all have scribbled in our notebook while sitting in the boring meetings but guys, it’s time to get real. Your brand name is something you have to live with for a long long time. Your business and domain name is going to have a big impact on your audience.
Following are some tips to follow:
- Make sure it relates to your products: Choosing any random name just because you like it doesn’t help in the long run. Whichever name you choose make sure it resonates with your products and audience. Also, if you are planning long term, don’t be too specific like “Flower Delivery in Jaipur”. You don’t want to change your brand name every two years. Instead, you can go to “My Flower Shop”.
- Make sure it is easy to pronounce and easy to remember: Now you might know how “Tumblr” is spelled, but most of the people still don’t. Don’t make sure mistakes. Keep it simple, small and above all, easy to remember.
- Check all trademarks: You don’t want to build a brand around a name that is already used by someone else. Check your brand name for any trademarks wisely in order to stay away from any legal casualties.
- Make sure the name is available on social media networks: Social media is no longer luxury but a must for businesses nowadays. You don’t want to register a name only to realize that all social media profiles of the name are already owned by someone else.
5. Build a brand own story and create a visual identity around it:
A great brand story becomes the touch point for every newbie no matter a potential customer or a recently joined employee. Below are some points you should include here:
- Who are we?
- How did we get here?
- What do we care about?
- What are our aim and vision?
Having a brand story helps customers connect with you at a much personal level. So even if it looks unnecessary right now, don’t make the mistake of skipping it if you plan for the long run.
Lastly, when you are clear about your product, competition, story, and name, the final step comes which is to give your business a visual identity.
Start with a beautiful logo that makes you stand out from the crowd. Being a startup, paying huge bucks for designing logo is definitely not what I would recommend. Never get too big for DIY.
There are plenty of online logo maker tools available for free, Canva is one of them. Below are some logo designs created for free.
Your work doesn’t stop here. Along with the logo, you also need to take care of other design elements, like colors, typography, icon and much more. Analyze how your competitors are doing and do 10 times better than them.
Wrapping it up!
Guys, branding doesn’t stop here but this is the checklist to get you started. The importance of branding is never too small to be ignored. Depending on your niche, there are various ways you can brand your startup. Just get your creative juices flowing and you are good to go.