Branding is far more encompassing than just a logo. A well thought out and defined brand should also take into account the intangible aspects of a company’s identity. The following are some of the obvious, and at times not so obvious, aspects of your business that branding should cover.
Possibly one of the hardest elements of branding for a new startup is choosing the company name. Get it right and yours becomes a household name. Think Uber, Airbnb or Facebook. Get it wrong and you’ll struggle to be seen and remembered for years to come.
A compelling name should be something that appeals to your target audience and your brand values. If you’re still unsure of these elements, it might take time before you are ready to name your company. It’s why many startups change names after their initial incubator phases. They simply aren’t ready to fully define their brand.
The colors, fonts and photos that represent your company should be carefully chosen to create your logo, copy and imagery, collectively known as the ‘visuals’ of your brand. These can affect how people see your brand, whether they are persuaded to use your products and whether or not they trust you.
Color selection is a real science. Certain colors can affect your product position and tone and frequently make a statement about what you represent. Fonts can also be a powerful indicator of brand perception depending on factors like your industry, target audience, and even location.
Selling is no longer purely transactional. People don’t blindly accept what a brand offers if it doesn’t make an effort to hone in on their needs and their lifestyle. A brand that does this really understands its customer’s identity and goes beyond traditional marketing.
Lifestyle brands are increasingly common because they focus more on customer activities in their marketing than the products themselves. If a brand can successfully connect with an audience through their lifestyle, they’ll reap long-term benefits.
Branding also needs to take into consideration your company’s values and its point of difference. Why should consumers buy from you and not your competitors? This isn’t a tagline, like Nike’s “Just Do It”. It’s a proposition statement that answers the following questions:
- What consumer need does your product fill?
- What benefits do you offer over your competitors?
- Why is your brand the best choice?
Young consumers in particular expect your brand to engage with them. Of Millennials, 45% want a more engaging experience with brands. They want to be part of the process and to feel like they are not just buying, but participating in a process. At the same time, they are far more conscientious of the impact their purchases have on the environment and the world around them. Clearly communicate your values to make this evident.
Rather than painting your walls and slapping a giant aluminum logo in the entrance of your office, the dynamics and infrastructure of the workplace should reflect your company’s mission and values.
Google has a famously creative and flexible workplace. Employees that work for Google know they are entering a unique environment, not just working in an office with a Google logo on the wall. From their famous 20% rule encouraging employees to invest in personal projects during company time to their fun, flexible environment designed to make people feel comfortable on the job, Google was the prototype of the “laid back startup” culture that now dominates Silicon Valley. And it works.
Whether it’s defining how you will convey your core values to customers through visual and digital materials or the way in which you treat your employees and customers, your brand is everywhere. To maintain and manage public perception of your company requires a concerted effort and a careful investment of time. Do it right, though, and you’ll stand to benefit immensely from the positive associations your prospects and customers make with your company.