Building a brand is one of the great challenges that goes alongside building a company. In some cases it’s totally neglected or put on the back burner. And it’s understandable. Between attending meetings, dealing with people, and running the company, it’s the last thing managers want to focus on. Who really has the time to build a brand?
The thing is you’re building a brand whether you know it or not. Venture Capitalist Mark Suster advises startups to control their messaging so visitors and customers know what their brand is about. He says:
I have long advised startup companies that if you don’t control your messaging somebody else will and your potential customers will form impressions of you shaped by somebody else or by nobody at all. It’s why it’s important to establish a brand, know what your key messages are and communicate them often and simply.
Brand is more than just “what people think of a company”. Brand is also what your company stands for, what it values, and what helps guide the company. In cases like Apple, the brand is exposed in every consumer touchpoint. How people feel when they walk into an Apple store. How they’re treated, and how they feel when they walk out of the store. Same for when they are shopping for devices and look at Apple as an option. How Apple portrays their products and their employees are viewed by consumers is vitally important to the buyers decision.
So how can startups and companies build their brand?
Denise Lee Yohn writes that startups need a Minimum Viable Brand. To help develop your MVB, Yohn gives you this framework to work with:
- what we stand for – our brand essence
- what we believe in – our defining values
- what people we seek to engage – our target audience(s)
- what distinguishes us – our key differentiators
- what we offer – our overarching experience
- what we say and show – our logo, look, and lines (messaging)
Below is an infographic that gives you tips on creating a great brand. Underneath the infographic you’ll find some articles to help you learn more about creating a brand strategy.
Good resource on brands:
Seth Godin defines what a brand is
What does your brand stand for?
The simplest brand health question for your startup
Users first, brand second
Your brand is not your logo or color scheme, it’s how people think about you
Simply put, your brand is your reputation. Make it a great one.