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Build the brand before you sell – brand marketing hacks for startups

In the course of our existence, we have come across a host of small businesses and startups. Some become a huge success and the others not so much. But the one thing that is common across most successful startups is the fact that they focus on building the brand before they get to selling and making profits. Make no mistakes, the end goal of any business is obviously to get sales and earn money. But if you don’t create a solid brand then it can’t sell. It’s that simple.

Your brand is essentially like your child. After all, it’s a standalone entity with its own growth curve. You would want to nurture your child, give them the best upbringing and focus on the human beings they become. What career they choose or what they become is secondary. Their life path will depend a lot on how you raise them. The journey with a brand is no different. Unless you nurture and nourish it and give it a personality, its growth will not be as expected. And this can eventually affect your business goals.

Brand building is more than just a cool logo or rampant advertising to sell it. It is an experience and a perception of your business, it has a purpose, value, and image, quite like a human being.

Before you do anything, ask yourself these questions –

  • What would/should my brand look like? If it was a person, who would it be?

  • How should it make people feel? What are the emotions that you want the brand to evoke?

  • What would be the personality of my brand?

Once you have answers to these questions, start with the more technical steps –

The 3-step guide to brand building

Step 1: Brand Strategy

A brand strategy is that blueprint for building a brand from the ground up. Start with thorough research on your competition – what they are selling, how they are selling it, and why do their customers like them. At this stage, you also need to identify your audience, work on the brand message that you want to share with them, and give the brand a voice.

Step 2: Brand Identity

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Going by Jeff Bezos’s words, a brand identity is as vital as your personal identity - who you are, how you look and present yourself, and how people see you? The brand identity rides a lot on the visual messaging, the experience it offers to the customers. For instance, the colors and fonts, logo, design, copy, and content, everything should be consistent and in alignment with the brand’s personality. The brand strategy will drive how you use your brand identity and becomes recognizable to your customers.

Step 3: Brand Marketing

Now you have a brand with a personality and ready to be presented to the world. How would you sell? At the nascent stage, brand marketing essentially involves creating awareness about your products and services, using the personality that you gave it. This is followed by consistent and continuous messaging across various channels. Whatever platform you choose, strategic communication and relevant messaging must remain integral to marketing your brand.

A few simple hacks to remember

Here are a few simple hacks to keep in mind while you go about the journey of brand building using the above 3-step process.

Discover what is the purpose of your brand

Why does your brand exist? How will it help your customers and what value would it add to their lives? People don’t just want a product or service, they want an experience, a connection to an entity that they can relate to.

Identify who you are selling to

Your product and service might be good for everyone but you cannot sell to everyone, right? Narrow down your audience within your industry space. Focus on a niche, who they are, what they are like and how your brand can be relevant to their lifestyle, personality, and community.

Create brand evangelists

Whether it’s through word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) or creating social media communities, brand evangelism can create a follower base who believe in your brand story. Developing your personal brand is another great way to do this. Becoming an advocate for what you are selling can strengthen your brand image and your audience see you and your brand and one and the same.

Make your brand personality become memorable

Treat this as you would treat your own personality development exercise. Use the tricks of smart communication, appealing presentation, excellent social skills, and a good listening ear. Your brand should become that person who makes heads turn when they walk into a room.

Rely on expert opinion

Building a brand is an exciting exercise but no one said it’s going to be easy. Creating a recognizable, relevant, and memorable brand, takes work and doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process and requires strategic thinking, planning, and establishing a long-term relationship and commitment to your audience. Most importantly, it requires an expert eye to understand what will work for your brand and what won’t, what it needs to grow, and so on.

Connect with our team of experts in design, strategy, and marketing, and find out how we can help shape your brand and help your business become a voice that stands out.

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