Branding your startup can be a difficult process to navigate. You’ve come so far based on a vision and unique idea and now you must package it in a way that is appealing to the market. Most entrepreneurs are experts in their businesses not in marketing, and it can be easy to overlook important brand opportunities.
Of course, there are the obvious brand elements like your corporate name and logo, but there are several crucial pieces of your brand that, when joined together, help amplify your message and drive demand. If neglected, these elements can represent value left on the table and result in your brand becoming another dead-end story. Implemented properly, however, these opportunities can take your business from startup to stand-out.
Here are 4 key brand-building opportunities that every entrepreneur should tackle carefully.
Descriptive Tagline: Most often company names are made up and meaningful to the founders alone. It takes time for a brand name to be associated with the products, services and culture that you envision. Too many companies take creativity into esoterism by adding a philosophical or poetic tagline, which just adds to the confusion and creates a mash up of unmoored nonsense to the target audiences. You end up wasting precious time explaining who you are and what you stand for, when your name and tagline could have given you a foundational start. For a company just starting out, you need a descriptive tagline. You need a tagline that accompanies the business name and is straightforward about what you have to offer and who you have to offer it for. As your company grows and gains market recognition, you can evolve your tagline. Company names should change as infrequently as possible (typically after M&A or some PR scandal) but taglines can move and shift as the strategic direction gains momentum, and you should take advantage of that to start to tell your story. One famous example of an evolved tagline is GE. Their tagline was “We Bring Good Things to Life,” for twenty-plus years when they were focused on the “electric” part of their name. Even though it took well over 20 years, when their tagline no longer properly expressed their mission, they launched a new one, “Imagination at Work.” The evolutionized slogan now effectively serves their company message to their audience. An effective tagline claims a consumer’s memory so be descriptive but don’t overcomplicate. Right now, you’re starting from the beginning; you want people to get it.
Custom Phone Number: You put a lot of effort into the details. You pick your company name, your logo, your URL, so why be settle for the phone number randomly generated by the telecom provider? A phone number is a versatile business tool and an important part of your marketing toolkit. It is both a branding element and a call-to-action in one. You can use it to improve marketing efforts, generate revenue, and grow long-term brand loyalty. Whether you are looking for a toll-free or local number, there is a number that fits your brand, and companies like RingBoost have the technology and network to find the right one for you. (You can start searching today, with 10% off with the code DAILY10) Your story is really important to tell, and connecting person-to-person is ultimately more efficient in the long run than trying to drive all inquiries through a website that can’t adapt easily to individual needs. A memorable phone number increases lead generation and leads to more voice connections, allowing you to start building those crucial relationships sooner.
Storytelling Website: Speaking of telling your story, a well-rounded story can be completed with a quality website. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of throwing up what is essentially a business card online. Your website does not have to be the best looking or most advanced site, but it does need to take the time to share your story in a way that makes sense and will resonate with your audiences. Don’t just throw something up there to have something: make it a storytelling platform. Chances are, a consumer was driven to your website by something they saw and they are looking to learn more about the brand. This person is searching not just for your history from your point of view, but for a compelling reason for them to do business with you from their perspective. Think about the information they need to make a decision and make each sentence count. Also, always have proper contact information – not everyone wants to fill in a web form or send an email, sometimes they have a simple question and just want to pick up the phone.
Public Relations: For startups, a goal is to increase brand awareness and draw audience in. This cannot be achieved until there is brand trust and a positive public image established. A large challenge with this element is that business owners will hope that free, organic press will flock to their brand. They can take on an “if we build it, they will come” mentality and focus only on the big wins. You have to face the fact that the Wall Street Journal isn’t going to announce the incorporation of your business on day one. You need to build PR presence with an attitude of the sum will be greater than it’s parts. Good press not only gets your name out there, it builds curiosity about your company, and also provides essential back-linking that improves SEO rankings. Tools to look into include HARO (Help A Reporter Out), press releases (e.g. PR Newswire), podcasts, and any opportunity to get referrals to your website. Although the main topics might be about general topics like building a business as opposed to the exact industry you serve, you’ll be getting your brand name out there and establishing yourself as an expert.
It’s not easy to take a startup business from introductory period to top-of-mind brand but knowing what elements to focus on help create a path. Taking advantage of these brand-building opportunities can put your business on the map and maximize growth potential.