You’ve started your new company, and you’re ready to get customers through the door. Marketing brings your audience to you – letting them explore your product and service offerings and giving you the opportunity to sell them on how your business can solve their problems, make their lives easier, or even help them reach their goals.
The first step in marketing your startup or small business is to establish a brand. Branding is the way that you present your company to the exterior world, both visually and conceptually. More than just the shape and color of your logo and the packaging of your products, branding extends into your messaging, your voice, your product offerings, and even how you make your customers feel. Establishing a strong sense of brand awareness among your audience is imperative to ensuring that your company comes to mind when the potential customer realizes that they are in the market for your product or service.
What is the first thing you think of when you think of Target? Probably their recognizable logo.
What comes to mind when you’re asked about Facebook? Likely their signature blue.
What is most recognizable about KitKats? Their memorable slogan!
These companies all have strong brands that communicate their product offerings, as well as their values, quickly. Your brand sets you apart from your competition, and establishes your business as reputable, trustworthy, and professional. You’ll want your brand to communicate who you are as a company, while also being a quick symbol for recognition.
- Start early.
When creating a new business, it’s never too early to start building and promoting your brand. Think about what elements your logo should have – what colors make sense for your business? What icons or imagery complement your products or services? What matters most to your customers and other stakeholders? Make sure these elements are reflected in your branding.
- Stay consistent.
As you’re developing your brand, it’s important to create a recognizable look and feel. To do this, make sure that your logo, colors, messaging, and other elements remain consistent throughout your website, packaging, ads, social media presence, stationery, or any other elements that reflect your brand and its distinct look and feel. Using your brand consistently across platforms allows your audience to instantly recognize your brand or product, raising the probability that you are their first thought when they become in-market buyers.
Your logo should be used wherever possible to connect any of your content to your brand, and should not be altered. Create a list of brand guidelines, which dictate how you’d like your brand to be used, the exact colors used in your logo and in other imagery, sample messages, and more. Your brand guidelines will help your brand assets remain consistent across both print and digital avenues, especially if more than one person is utilizing your brand elements or designing with them in mind. This can even be a running document that is updated often, but should always be updated any time you change your logo, colors, or other brand assets permanently in any way.
- Be different, distinct, and recognizable.
Set yourself apart from your competitors! Try to create and use logos, imagery, and colors that are different than others in your market. Even if you sell the same or similar products, you’ll still want to stand out, especially to stay top of mind for your potential and current customers. Think outside the box – what symbols convey your message or services without showing a direct picture of your product? Consider the industry you’re in, and how you help your customers. With a few brainstorming sessions, you can create a unique brand that is distinct from the rest of the market!
Establishing a strong and consistent brand will help your business stand out from the competition, remain top of mind for your audience, and can even establish trustworthiness in your products and services. Remember to start thinking about creating your brand as soon as you’re able, remain consistent wherever your brand is used, and create a recognizable brand that can’t get confused with other companies in your industry.
Need more information about running a startup or small business in Maine? Contact the Union River Center for Innovation today, where we’ll connect you with local business resources like our business incubator program or business affiliate program, coworking spaces, conference room rentals, and more!