Seven Tips For Entrepreneurs To Develop An Engaging Brand When Starting A Company
Before I started my own company, my impression of a brand was the company name and logo and maybe some type of tagline. As I started to build my company, I realized that a brand was so much more than that. It serves as your reputation — one that you want to make engaging, attractive and meaningful to others.
However, when you’re starting a company, you are beginning with a clean slate. Here are some tips that I learned from the experience of developing my own company brand.
Focus On A Passionate Purpose and Platform
To get others excited about your company, your brand has to be a manifestation of your passion and purpose. Showing your excitement is often what helps those around you get excited about a business venture. They pick up on your positive energy. Therefore, your brand should answer why your company exists, what makes it different, why people should care and what problem you solve.
I created a mobile phone for kids because I was looking to creatively solve a problem that was driving so many parents like myself to frustration. None of us really wanted our kids to have a smartphone that cost nearly $1,000 and gave them access to things we didn’t want them to see.
It is the passion to solve that problem that defines my company and that passionate solution is what excites my customers. You need to do the same with your startup and transmit that excitement into a “Hey, look what I came up with!” experience for your customers and collaborators.
Promote Your Values
For me, it was vital to connect values that are important to me with those that my target audience might respond to. One of my core values includes having an intentional use of technology. I firmly believe that technology has a place and a time, rather than become the all-encompassing force we often see it as.
This value not only reaches parents who are concerned about their kids and technology, but it also appeals to adults, including those who work for my company.
Be Consistent With Communication
From the start, it’s important to be consistent in the messages you share with your audience about what your company represents, its purpose and its values. There are many online and offline channels to keep track of, including your physical office or store environment, all marketing messages, all visuals, content, sales, as well as service and support.
As a leader, I also have to carry this consistent communication into aspects of my own life. Today, so much of our personal lives are shared on media channels that we can’t forget to ensure what we do and say when not “on the clock” still reflects those brand values.
See Brand Building As A Process
When I only viewed the brand as a logo and tagline, it was easy to understand how a company founder might see branding as a task with a definite start and finish. In reality, brand building occurs constantly over time, just like the reputation your products develop.
It is best to look at it as an ongoing effort to evolve your brand’s meaning and values. Consistent refreshing can also keep the brand relevant and engaging to your audience and customers. You may need to adapt what the brand means as time goes by, especially as your customers change their own perception of what it stands for or what they seek from it.
Clearly Establish A Unique Brand
You don’t want your company to be confused for another brand out there. It’s important to stand out. To do so requires significant research about what competitors say about themselves and how they represent themselves to others. There is no room for engagement if you’re just imitating what’s already out there.
However, if you come up with your own angle, value proposition and solution, your audience will be drawn to your brand. Besides steering clear of copying what’s already out there, studying your competition can help you better understand what they did that you should avoid. In this way, there are many brand lessons to be learned by those already in the market.
Research Your Audience
For a brand to be engaging, your audience has to feel a connection. To understand what motivates and enthralls your target audience, you need to study them through tried and true methods, including researching their behaviors and habits.
Another thing I learned when starting out was that my brand wasn’t going to appeal or engage everyone out there. I had a specific target in mind that would respond to my solution. I focused solely on getting to these audience segments better so that I could have the right messaging and visuals that spoke directly to them. And, our product isn’t marketed toward all parents either. It is geared toward parents of kids in an age range that most need access to a safe cell phone.
Put It In Writing
Having a picture in your mind of a defined brand for your startup is a great place to begin. But you also need to share it with your team, investors, audience, media and, of course, customers. That’s when I put it on paper and share it everywhere. It’s become a brand mission statement that is easy to read, defines the brand values and describes what makes our brand different.
When it’s in writing, you can refer back to it with everything you create and every message you develop. Anyone new to the company can get an immediate answer to the purpose and values that drive projects, strategies and work.
I have already tweaked my written brand values statement and picture of what my company means from what I originally created. That’s because launching my product and working directly with customers have both broadened my perspective and purpose. It’s okay to make changes because those changes are what move your company, brand and customer relationships forward.