Successful Strategies for Branding Tech Startup
Tech innovations are shaping the way we experience the present and defining the future. Sad to say that around 50% of startups fail and go out of business in their first 5 years. There are many reasons why but one worth exploring is definitely due to a poor branding foundation.
Imagine hiring a contractor to build your house. A 2-story mansion with a breath-taking view over the beach. The contractor gets excited and he’s anxious to begin building. He gets to work without even developing a plan and without consulting with you to know your vision and casing the area, taking measurements and necessary preparations.
At first, everything seems fine but halfway through you start realizing that it’s the opposite of what you’ve wanted. It turns out he wanted to impress you, hoping to get more work. He began with all the things you can see first thinking he can make up for the thing you don’t see later. 2 weeks in you see cracks forming in the walls, and after two days your dream house is no more. This is simply because 1. There was no foundation build 2. The order he went to work was not right
Many businesses are anxious to start, kick off doing a big inauguration event launching their brand identity and website. They are convinced that they have a great business idea and they want to see the fruits as soon as possible. Being aware of the fact that a strong brand identity can help boost a company into success, the founder picks up the phone and calls a designer that a friend recommended them.
Founder: “Hello, I’m the founder and owner of a tech start-up that’s going to revolutionize the world.
Designer: How can I help you?
Founder: I need a logo and some digital designs.
Designer: When do you need them by?
Designer: Haha I’ll need 2-4weeks
Founder: OK, the sooner the better
They agree on a price and the designer gets to work. After two weeks he does the big reveal. It’s only then you realize he didn’t get it. He was off by a thousand miles. So, you send him back. 2 weeks later he’s closer but not fully there yet. Now you’re faced with the decision to start with what you have or postpone your launching event. But wait, there’s more…. After a couple of months after launching, you realize you’re not attracting the customers you’ve wanted and you have no idea why.
Most businesses experience this at one time or another and it’s not their fault. Designers should start with diagnostics first then execution. Sadly, most of them don’t. Before developing any visuals, collateral, Facebook page cover, website, or logo design, there are some important steps you should take the same way you should when building a 2-story mansion.
Branding vs Brand identity
Before diving into all the good stuff, we have to define what branding is. Although both are important, one has a bigger impact on your business. It’s important to separate branding and brand identity. There are many misconceptions of what branding is and how you should go about it. One of the biggest misconceptions is that a logo is a brand. Your logo is a means to identify your company so it’s not your brand.
One of the definitions that truly hits the mark is the following.
“Branding is the gut feeling a person or group has towards a company” – Marty Neumeier.
How can you trigger this feeling and most importantly, how can you position your brand to make the most impact?
Here are 6 branding strategies to ensure a strong brand positioning, enhancing that gut feeling among your customers and future customers.
How do you create a tech-branding?
1. Define who you are
You can have a killer idea, a killer product but if you do not position your company and make it clear to your audience you will get lost among thousands of other startups and existing companies. Here are some questions that could steer you in the right direction.
What do you do? Who do you do it for? Why do you do it?
2. Define your voice
Written or through speech, imagine your brand being a person. What would it sound like, what is the feeling your customers will get when hearing you? Let’s take Nike as an example. Watching any Nike commercial or ad, you hear that they are athletes who win.
By defining your voice you talk the language of your target audience. What kind of voice will resonate better with your target audience?
3. Define X-factor
What makes you unique, what sets you apart from your competitors? As Marty Neumeier puts it in his book: ZAG, “When everybody ZIGS, ZAG!”. If you do not stand out you will get lost in the crowd. Imagine a school of bluefish and within them 1 redfish. Which fish will stand out more? It’s the same with your business. If you do the same as others, you will not stand out. Be different, be authentic.
4. Define your culture
Left untouched it could become impossible to manage. You may have less than 10 employees now but in time you may have 50+ employees. How would you manage and do a quality check on the culture? Your customers will probably first hear about you through marketing; social media ads, billboard, or trending on Reddit. Your culture is what keeps them coming back. How do they get treated when they experience you or your workers? Do they get the same feeling as they get when they see you online?
5. Define your personality
Every business should have a personality. Only by defining it you can ensure consistency and reduce the chance for confusion among your customers. Is your business the bright, loud friend who is the center of attention, or is it the caring friend who is always there when you need him/her? Either way, your personality is a key component in developing your brand and brand identity.
6. Define your target audience
Whom are you targeting? The common thought is that I want the whole world to buy my product or service so I can have an increased chance of success. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a business, especially a tech company you should define and choose your target audience carefully. By focusing on 1 type of person you will create stronger brand loyalty and eventually superfans.
Imagine buying the same gift for your wife that you bought for your childhood crush. Their both women but their 2 completely different human beings in different stages of life.
Know your audience and market directly to them.
The core attributes should be used as a guide for your brand identity and future design and marketing strategies.
Does a startup need branding?
Although branding isn’t in your control, you can inspire it. It is important to strategize on this topic from the beginning. It would very much make the difference between you and other competitors. Branding will make current customers stick with you even through tough times. Branding will help the word spread faster and make a greater impact. Last but not least, be consistent with your brand. Branding done right will be one of your most valuable assets.
- Your logo is not your brand
- Branding is the gut feeling that customers have towards your company
- Before building a brand identity, follow the 6 steps
- #1Define who you are
- #2 Define your voice
- #3 Define your X-Factor
- #4 Define your Culture
- #5 Define your personality
- #6 Define your target audience
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