Starting a business takes a lot. You’re thinking about loans, paperwork, daily operations, suppliers, customer demographics, and far down that list is brand image. But it’s an important point to hit, especially for a startup. You need to create a reputation from somewhere, or you’re not going to get much traffic. Not only will you need to maintain a brand image, but you will have to cultivate it, which can be considered a lot harder.
If you’re looking to build a brand or a reputation for your brand, take a look at our guide. We’re going over a breakdown of the basic channels you have to hit to create a credible brand.
If you have an already established business, you might need to look into this concept more. The good and bad thing about working as a startup when it comes to brand management, is that no one knows who you are. You’re looking to cultivate more than you are managing a public image.
A good first step there is to establish who you are and what you stand for. So, you start by determining your demographic and then working on a narrative, products, services, and image that would appeal to them most. For example, just about any product or service can have a brand that is either affordable or luxury. You could be selling at rates that are purposefully the middle of the road, but the image you put forward will inform customers on whether you are affordable or luxury.
However, customers aren’t idiots. If you are presenting yourself as affordable and your prices don’t reflect that, expect some backlash. This is the point where management is more important. Percepto reputation management can help you recover from any negative attention. Their model mainly consists of suppressing negative links, creating, or controlling company narrative, improving online presences, promoting key messaging for your company, and risk management for any future problems.
Creating a brand statement and promoting what your brand stands for in every action is vital nowadays. We’re in a culture of users not only finding and buying what they want online but researching brands online before they confirm on that basket. They want to know that brands have principles and that they are sticking to them, and they will show support (or not) with their wallets.
Logo and name
Creating your logo and name is a big part of creating your brand. People don’t know you and have to identify you, but they also get, from a couple of words and a small image, an idea of what your brand is all about.
A lot of symbolism goes into logos and names to put across what the company expects you to assume about them. An obvious example is green to symbolize anything eco-friendly. But that is quickly becoming tiring, according to polls. You’d be better putting a little more work into it. Nike is a good example. Nike’s logo is a tick, sure, but it’s also the view of something fast coming towards you and disappearing to your left, like, say, a runner or F1 car? That’s pretty apt for a sports brand. And then there is the name itself. Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory, which is what every athlete is striving for.
Importantly, both the name and the symbol are very simple. The “swoosh” as Nike would rather you call it, is a simple design that can be adapted into just about any format. The goddess herself has wings, an intricate staff, a helmet, and occasionally with an Olympic headdress in hand for the winner, which is all a lot of big clunky symbols to put into a logo designed for, say, a mobile app. If Nike hadn’t come across their signature “swoosh” you can bet a marketing executive was pushing them towards focusing on only one of these attributes as a logo.
Marketing is obviously integral to creating a brand reputation, and social media is the most effective way of marketing a smaller company. It’s affordable, it’s instinctive, and it works.
Once you have your name, logo, and priorities in order, you now have to inform the public of them. Use concepts like user-generated content to allow you to harness online word of mouth, as there is no more valuable marketing asset, and curated content, which is essentially collaborating with other businesses. You can encourage user generated content by sending out complimentary items, like smaller PR packages, and asking questions to the wider community. Ask them what their favourite item is, what weird ways they use your items for, etc. then showcase the answers on your site.
All the while, understand that high quality content has a different meaning today. It no longer means you need the best camera or audio quality, but it means you have to entertain on top of the market. So, if you’re showing that your products work, do so with a before and after demonstration, if you want to show your principles, incorporate them into a skit or proof of you enacting them. Don’t simply spin off all the benefits of your product. We’ve heard that before.
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