Having an impressive startup is about more than just the product. While the product is and will always be the core of the company, getting it in front of investors, customers, and even potential partners means having an overall package to show the public that you’re proud of. And as a lot of entrepreneurs often are wrapped up into delivering the most viable product, they often ignore a lot of basic principles of marketing and branding that could potentially send them to the front of the pack. However, that’s exactly why we’re going to break down a few basic principles to consider implementing before launch. Check them out below:
Invest More Than Average Into Branding
Branding is often considered an afterthought for a lot of startups. With the belief that the product will sell itself, many companies will get a placeholder logo that overstays its welcome, leaving the company with a struggling image that doesn’t attract customers, no matter how great their offerings are. Where this disconnect lies isn’t necessarily because they didn’t hire a top-tier design firm or branding agency, but because they didn’t take the time to examine how their brand comes off to the public perception, as well as why someone would want to gravitate towards it.
Branding stems from a belief in not just a product, but how it can change the world. As lofty as that sounds, it’s something that’s always resonated with consumers; in fact, 64 percent of consumers cite shared values as a primary reason they have a relationship with a brand, which when you see the allegiance to companies like Apple or Instagram, makes perfect sense. Don’t stress if this sounds like a big challenge, as some of the best brand ideas come when you least expect it. All that you need to do is just be mindful of how this living, breathing image is going to change the world (even by just a little bit).
Have Strong Executions For Social
Another underrated aspect of a lot of startups image, having strong executions for social is an absolute must. This goes well-beyond just posting regularly to the social media accounts you consider important to your brand, but actually having campaign strategies and design templates that prove you’ve invested the time and effort into making your account worth following. Especially when you consider the amount of scrutiny we put branded accounts under in terms of delivery versus our friends, it makes sense to put in the work for this early. However, before you start coming up with design concepts, you first need to consider who your audience is and how you’re going to reach them.
As no two startups have the same social strategy, the first thing you need to ask yourself is who your audience is, as well as where they live; for example, a subscription box service might have more success on Instagram, while a SaaS company for accounting services might see more success on LinkedIn. Another consideration you should make is how your brand can possibly implement itself as a thought leader on a day-to-day basis, because as noted by Hootsuite, with 45 percent of US adults receiving their news from social media, there’s always an opportunity to capture that market for your industry, encouraging healthy conversations. Brainstorm some campaigns that you could run consistently, creating a calendar that keeps you busy. And finally, don’t forget to keep track of your analytics, as that will become how you gauge your success down the road once you’ve picked up steam.
Be Unconventional In Your Other Marketing Mediums
While social media can be great, there are plenty of other mediums your startup can master regarding marketing. From street level merchandising to interactive displays, there are plenty of avenues you can grab attention and showcase your brand’s thinking. The magic, however, is figuring out not only what works for your brand, but how it will resonate with your audience, as well as how you can execute this project consistently.
An excellent example of this is with podcasting, which has swept the digital media world by storm in recent years. As noted by Wired, advertising spending reached $220 million in 2017 and has been on a meteoric rise ever since, proving that not only is this immensely possible but could be a win/win for your brand regarding digital presence as well as a slight revenue stream. You might be thinking, “what is a podcast?” These are essentially broadcast series set around a particular story or theme, often complete with dialogue or interviews. Practically an untapped market in the startup world, we highly recommend this as a consistent storytelling technique you can utilize to bolster yourself as a thought leader.
Be Consistent With Your Efforts
Finally, no matter what medium of delivery you pick, it’s important to remain consistent with your efforts to reap the maximum benefits. Not only will this bring you more visibility but also revenue, because brands that are consistently presented receive 23 percent more revenue on average than those that don’t. Granted, we understand that at startups things can get busy and therefore, marketing doesn’t always take precedent as much as items like development or fundraising. However, that’s why it’s imperative to set your parameters and stick with them from the jump.
In looking at your marketing mix, list out the different deliverables you’re aiming to offer, as well as what your capacity is for each one. For example, if you’re a strong writer but take a little longer on design, then perhaps utilizing written content as a primary strength while buying or using templates from online. Furthermore, creating and sticking to deadlines can be an underrated practice as well, especially when it comes to creative work and execution. The overarching goal here is to push yourself enough that you’re getting it done, however, not overdoing it that there’s a risk of burnout…because once you master that balance, you’ll be ahead of the competition in no time.
What are some strategies you’d suggest for a startup to stand out from the crowd? Comment with your insights below!