Being jack of all, it is very obvious for startup founders to miss little details of various startup operations because they are mainly focusing on the big picture. And, most of the first time startup founders mix up marketing and branding in this slapdash which results as poor branding and of course low brand impact.
So, if are a first time entrepreneur and have been mixing up marketing and branding earlier, the first and foremost thing if to know the difference between two. Here’s the list that better explains the difference.
- Marketing yields instant yet short lived results and branding takes time and yields lifelong results even when you are not running any campaigns.
- Marketing uncovers and activates buyers, while branding makes loyal customers and brand advocates.
- Marketing pushes your products/services to the potential customers and branding pulls them towards your business.
Branding is in fact, vital for any startup having a vision for the future, and plans to go big with a team of quality employees. And, it requires an effective branding strategy, sufficient budget and the right people to execute the strategy.
If you are a first time startup founder, chances are you don’t have a lot of money and time to build a million-dollar brand. However, with the help of a good branding agency, you can grow your business in the right direction and build a brand loved by target audience. And here are five essentials you must take care of:
1- First thing first; communicating the brand narrative:
No matter how professional a branding agency is, they might not be able to deliver if you do not communicate the brand narrative rightly. A great brand narrative is one that comprehends the values and beliefs that your brand cares about.
This brand narrative must be used internally within your teams and it can also be a great resource for marketing campaigns, i.e. website content, imagery, social media promotions, newsletters and even offline marketing materials.
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Please, note that creating a great brand narrative is most important and once it has been created, everything else should fall into place. A good branding agency or an expert marketer with hands on experience of brand marketing can actually help you tweak your brand narrative.
2- Branding cannot be done in a haste:
Well, the most important thing every first time startup founder should know that “haste makes waste” perfectly fits when it comes to build a brand. You must not rush this process and make sure that you are investing your time and money in order to attract the lifelong benefits.
3- You must actively participate in brand building efforts:
Once you have a great brand narrative and you understand it well, the next step is to get an expert (individual or agency) to creatively interpret your ideas into a brand identity that your business will use for upcoming campaigns.
It is crucial for a startup founder to work closely with the branding team, i.e. designers, copywriters etc. because it’s your idea that is being elaborated by a team of professionals and you must coordinate with them on each stage to make sure that the visuals are expressing the true brand narrative.
To evaluate their ideas, see if:
- The visuals capture the spirit of what your brand cares about or not.
- Do they stand out in the competition or not.
- You being a consumers gets an immediate sense of what it is about.
- It can be used in all the places where your brand will be seen, i.e. packaging, online and offline media.
4- You must allocate enough budget to do justice with your brand:
Being a startup on a tighter budget you may feel cutting costs by hiring a low cost designer, but I will suggest working with someone takes time to express your brand clearly and powerfully; and it may not come cheaper.
You may be surprised to know this, but it is a fact that a lot of startups miss the opportunity to stand out and stand apart from their competitors just because they do not have a strong visual language.
5- Don’t spread your marketing budget too thin:
Being on a tight budget, startups often make mistake of targeting each and every marketing medium. For an early stage startup it is better to do a small number of things well than trying a lot of things and compromise on results.
You may put the offline branding on hold for a certain time and focus strictly on online branding as it is cost effective and you can reach a broader set of audience in limited budget.
The Bottom Line:
Effective and timely branding is the key to startup success and there’s no magic formula to effective branding. You as a startup founder must educate yourself constantly and tweak your strategy accordingly to build a trusted brand.