So many parts of a business have to come together for a successful launch. You need a business model, a value proposal to customers. Funding, sustainability, and scaling also have to come together. That’s just the beginning. However, maybe the most important in all those stages of a startup is branding.
Branding isn’t just a logo or a fancy graphic. It’s so much more than that. It’s all the small bits and pieces that make up how a customer feels about your business.
Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room
Think of branding like a multiplier. It builds recognition, consistency, targeting, retention, repeat business and user experience. But only if it’s successful. So what makes a successful brand? Read on.
Great brands start with a deep knowledge of who they are. It’s more than just the product. It’s the people behind the product and how they care about other people. Steve Jobs was a known narcissist, but he cared about people’s user experience. He was willing to be a complete jerk just to wow users with his products.
Steve Jobs was a known narcissist, but he knew what Apple Computers purpose was. He cared about people’s user experience more than just the product he sold. Maybe that’s why he was willing to be such a jerk. He wanted to wow his users with a completely new experience in personal computing.
Most of all, he knew what he was about. The same is true for every great entrepreneur. They understand themselves enough to know what they offer. Great branding starts there. We call that a deep dive. We ask questions that help new business owners find their deepest self.
The same is true for every great entrepreneur. They understand themselves enough to know what they offer. Great branding starts there. When an entrepreneur digs into their identity, I call that a deep dive. That’s where new companies begin.
That’s where new companies begin. Shortcutting that process always leads to missteps and wasted time, energy, and most of all, money.
No great product leaves out this piece of the process. The best brands show how a product adds value to a consumer’s life. They show how a product can make their lives better. It communicates value.
Continuing with the Apple theme, the iPod did exactly that. All the advertising for the iPod didn’t talk about specs or even its iconic design. Instead, it showed people using the iPod and how their lives were different because of it. That’s communicating value.
Great brands don’t just communicate value, though. They show how they change lives. It’s more merit than value.
Consolacon is a company you’ve probably never heard of. They are listed in the business section as a building contractor. That’s true, but their brand isn’t building new kitchens.
What they deliver is a different kind of life. The kitchens they build are entertainment centers for people who love to have company. We all know kitchens are the center of most parties. Consolacon simply made their brand about entertaining rather than the benefits of great materials and craftsmanship.
Branding is really about storytelling. Great stories showcase the merit of a brand. They give people a glimpse into what makes a brand unique beneficial. It draws them into that story, then makes them want to be a part of it.
Any brand can be compelling simply through effective storytelling. Nike masterfully uses storytelling. They start with a celebrity athlete and tell part of their story, even if it’s just them playing their sport. Then they put regular people into the story by dressing them the same way. It engages their target market and pulls them into a story.
Of course, there’s more! Great brands are built around these three elements, but that’s just part of what branding does for a startup. It takes a great plan and the execution of that plan to make it work. It takes market research and great design. The real problem is that most entrepreneurs aren’t also great designers and great marketing experts.
It takes a great plan and the execution of that plan to make it work. It takes market research and great design. The real problem is that most entrepreneurs aren’t also great designers and great marketing experts.
That’s really ok. There are great people out there who can help. If you would like some help with this so that you don’t have to guess at what works, let me help. I’m giving away my branding process.
This is the one I’ve used and developed for over a decade to help small and large businesses figure out their why so they can develop their what.