Why Branding Is Good For A Start-Up Business

If you think of the car company or someone says the word of a brand to you, the chances are you are thinking about a red sports car or their respective logo.

The images appear instantaneously in your head because branding works on the subconscious and conscious levels. If I say ‘baked beans,’ are you now thinking about a tin of baked beans with the Heinz logo? I thought so. With this in mind, if someone were to mention a product or service you provide, wouldn’t it be quite wonderful if they thought of your business?

Though branding is synonymous with big brands such as Apple, it still has a part to play at the start-up level, and this can be done at a relatively low cost. It also will not take up much time, and you won’t have to invent waffles. The branding element of a start-up business is very simple. Let’s look at a brief history of branding.

A Super-fast History Of Branding

Though branding began when farmers started branding their cows to show ownership, branding as we know it today originated during the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Products and goods produced locally started to be produced en masse in factories. People in small villages and towns distrusted these factory-produced products, so the manufacturers had to develop a way of promoting familiarity with people who had never heard of them. So they began to label their goods with a symbol or logo to promote trust. Campbell’s Soup and Quaker Oats were among the first to do this. Have they ever heard of them?

In the 1900s, a man called James Walter Thompson began exploring trademark advertising. This man was the first to brand products as we know them, and soon businesses were using slogans, jingles, and mascots to sell their goods to the public.

Your Start-up Business And Branding

It is easy to get carried away with branding concepts such as global branding, brand loyalty, or concept branding. Unfortunately, these concepts are quite specific and will, in all probability, be no use to you or won’t come into play until you have been established for some time.

So, for the time being, let’s concentrate on what you can influence now. Three branding elements are important at the start-up level; the good news is they are relatively cheap to implement. First, developing brand values, a logo, and a strap line (sometimes called the tagline) will start the ball rolling in branding.

Brand Values And Personality

Leading marketers concentrate on giving brands a personality and a set of values to live up to. This is because branding, as we have seen before, works subconsciously and makes an emotional connection with potential customers and clients. And this is why logos, adverts, jingles, and mascots stay with us whenever the brand or the brand’s strapline is mentioned. So, try to work out a set of values for your business and identify its personality. Sounds a bit challenging? Let’s look at an example.

Innocent Drinks is the largest manufacturer of smoothie drinks in the UK. Here are their brand values:

Innocent uses green electricity at its headquarters, Fruit Towers
Innocent sources fruit from suppliers that look after their workers and the environment
All of Innocent’s bananas come from Rainforest Alliance accredited farms
Innocent donates 10% of all its profits each year to the Innocent Foundation, which funds NGOs in the countries from which it sources its fruit.

As you can see, they have very clear values that have guided the company’s image or, if you prefer, their brand. So, for example, they appeal to people concerned about environmental issues and their health and wellbeing because of the fresh fruit element. As you can imagine, parents make up a large part of their customer base. So their values are also a statement of how they will run and conduct business and tell their customer base what is important to them.

Though the source of the fruit doesn’t influence people who do not care much about environmental issues, people who are concerned about the environment will be. When the latter group of people buy a smoothie, the Innocent Drink product will win every time.

Your Business

To work out your brand values and personality, let’s look at how you want your customers or clients to feel after you have delivered. Please write down the words that spring to mind; do not rush this process and add words as you think of them. Here are some examples:

  • Satisfied
  • Happy
  • Secure
  • Pleasure
  • Engaged
  • Informed
  • Pleased

Now write down some words based on how you don’t want them to feel after buying a product or service from your business. Examples may include:

  • Unhappy
  • Dissatisfied
  • Annoyed
  • Uncomfortable
  • Angry
  • Hateful
  • Irritated
  • Wasteful
  • Neglected
  • Rejected

Taking the good and the bad into account, write down how you will adhere to the first list and not the second. For example, if your business sells products online, your list may look like this:

  • Good, easy-to-use website
  • Delivered within two business days
  • Securely packaged
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Posted on the same day if the order was taken before 4 pm
  • Easily contactable – good customer service

What you have created are your brand values. It is hard to imagine a person feeling anything negative towards your business if you work with them.

Brand Personality

As I mentioned earlier, branding works by making an emotional connection with your customer and client base. To do this, you must give your brand a ‘personality’ or human characteristics people can relate to. To work out a personality is important to work out what kinds of people will be looking for what your business provides.

Look at the chart below and take a few minutes and place an X where you think your business fits in. If your business builds robots, for example, your X will be more on the left for Modern/Technology, but if you sell toys online, it will be nearer Classic/Traditional.

Friendly Corporate

Fast-moving Strategic

Modern/Technology Classic/Traditional

Cutting-Edge Established

Fun Serious

For Everyone Specific Audience

If you find your Xs are more on the left-hand side, we can see your brand personality is about doing things on the fly, which everyone loves. However, your brand also wants to connect personally with its customer and client base. In addition, due to the technical nature of the business, it is probably explaining new concepts to a wide audience.

If the Xs are nearer the right-hand side, your brand personality is one of consummate professionalism and targets a specific audience. So the chances are your products and services are unique and will have a professional face.

Once you have decided where your business fits in on the chart, you have established your brand personality and target audience, which will dictate future marketing campaigns, together with the next two important elements of branding: the logo and the strapline.

I will share tips and resources for getting your logo and strapline created in Part 2, “Every Start-Up Business Needs A Brand Logo.”

Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother of three, PR Consultant, and Entrepreneur

Like many women, on most days, I seem to have to juggle all my roles on other days, just three or four. This is why I founded Homeforbusiness. I recognize what it takes to be a working Mum and how to set up an online business from home with all the ‘pulls’ of everyday family life and work.

I have always been entrepreneurial and set up by my first corporate communications company, EMA Productions, in my 30s working with big corporate clients such as Texaco, Rank, and Boots. While it was challenging and hard work, it was quickly successful. I could focus solely on winning contracts and meeting the client’s needs without family distractions and with the support of a fantastic team and office.

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