Starting up a business is a pretty exciting thing to do. OK, exciting and scary, probably in equal measures. A new journey where you can’t see what’s at the end, in the middle or probably further than about next week. But the new business is yours, and you’ve invested everything into it, to make it the best you possibly can.
You’ve got your product or service and have done your research, so you have a good understanding of who your customers might be. You’ve got your logo, decided on a color palette, and invested in a smart website and e-commerce platform. You’re all set: except for one thing. Have you thought about your brand?
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”
— STEVE FORBES, EDITOR IN CHIEF, FORBES MAGAZINE
We all know that a brand is not just a logo, or a set of colors. The red logo of Coca-Cola is iconic and well-known around the world, but its brand essence is “happiness in a bottle”. Nike’s brand is about “uniting the world through sport” while the Starbucks brand is around “inspiring and nurturing the human spirit”.
Your business “why”
A brand therefore is more than just the product or service: it’s the personality and purpose of your business. It’s what makes you identifiable to your customers and the basis for building high value relationships. It’s also the reason or “why” your business exists. I’m a huge fan of author and speaker, Simon Sinek and his 2009 TEDTalk inspired me to establish my “why” prior to establishing my own marketing agency.
Has your business got its own “why” yet? Schedule your why discovery today.
Your brand represents who you are, what you believe in, how you want to be perceived, and tells your customers what they can expect from you. Branding is, quite simply, critical to your success.
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
— HOWARD SHULTZ, STARBUCKS CEO
The clothing analogy for understanding a brand
So, if you’re the kind of start-up that might not have gotten around to thinking too deeply yet about what your business “why” is yet, here’s an analogy that I think works really well: the clothing analogy.
You put your clothes on every morning before you show your face to the outside world. You choose clothes that reflect an element of your personality. Your clothes do not define you, but they express who you are and the beliefs you hold.
Your brand is your company’s personality. How you behave, interact, and communicate will ultimately impact your business performance:
- How you treat your customers will affect whether people have a positive impression of your business and therefore how much word-of-mouth referral business you get.
- How you work with colleagues, vendors, suppliers, and partners will impact your employee retention numbers and whether you attract the best talent.
- How you communicate your product and services will influence your success much more than a fancy logo or an expensive website.
Brand goes beyond the mere transaction of a customer purchasing a product and is part of the overall customer experience. Ultimately, your brand will drive awareness of your products or services, drive new customers to your store or site, and increase your business value.
Build your brand with marketing consulting services from Take the Stairs
A good brand can bring all manner of good things: recognition within your marketplace, employee morale, pride, and productivity, and a vehicle upon which you can build trust, credibility, and reputation with your new and existing customers.
So, don’t skip the branding exercise with your start-up as the time you invest is likely to repay you one hundredfold. And if you’d like an expert pair of hands or just a sounding board for your initial ideas and plans, why not reach out to us at Take the Stairs? We offer a number of brand marketing services, including workshops, such as “Discover Your Why”, “Buyer Persona Development”, “Brand Positioning”, and more.