Are you considering joining the many people who, despite all the challenges of the past 12 months, have set up their own start-up business? According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of new companies created in the UK compared with last year soared in the second half of 2020.

Starting a new business is an exciting endeavour, but start-ups often rush into the marketplace using a hastily designed website and without a clear idea of the product or service they’re offering, the target audience they want to reach and the brand identity they want to establish. This results in ineffective marketing that wastes time and money.

Good branding is essential for any successful business. It enables you to introduce your company and convey what you are and what you stand for. It lets you create a personality that resonates with your potential customers and investors and it allows you to forge an identity that can stand out from the crowd.

Yet branding is not simply about choosing your name and logo. You need to carefully consider many other factors ranging from your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and the choice of images on your website to how your branding will work on social media.

In such uncertain times, you need an agile and cost-effective approach to your marketing.

Here are five branding steps for start-ups:

1. Identify your target customers

Trying to sell to everyone won’t work. A start-up needs to establish itself quickly and the best way is to focus on a niche in the market. You first need to know who your ideal customers are, their spending habits, where they sit in the marketplace and how your product or service compares with your competitors. Knowing your audience in turn informs how to establish your brand’s image and create a strategic marketing plan specifically for that audience.

2. Assess the competition

You need to differentiate yourself from already established competitors, so take a good look at your rivals and see if there is a gap in the market. Consider the logos that work in your niche market. How do your competitors interact with your shared customer base? Where do you think they succeed and fail in their marketing?

3. What’s your USP?

Ask yourself what makes your business offering different. You may be in a crowded marketplace, so identify something, however small, that might differentiate yourself. Focus on one or two aspects of your product or service that you consider brings most value to your customers and highlight them.

4. Take time to choose your name

Customers will associate the name of your business with your product or services, so it is a vital part of your identity and marketing. Before you even think about your logo and sorting out business cards, ask yourself if your name makes sense without having to explain it. Does it convey the message you want to portray for your business? Can you pronounce it easily? Will it limit you as your business grows? Will it be understood in different countries and cultures?

5. Start building a brand identity

Once you understand exactly what your new business is about and the niche market you want to reach, you can start working on your brand identity. There is much to consider, ranging from deciding on the personality you want to convey for your business that resonates with your customers to your logo design and choice of imagery and content on your website and social media accounts.

Having figured out your target audience, you can start to tailor your content online for that audience. A consistent brand image in your print materials and across a variety of digital platforms is important as this shows professionalism, attention to detail and builds trust and a sense of reliability with your customers.

It’s not only important to be consistent in your use of colour and typography, but also in the way you write copy and campaigns and post on social media. They all help to solidify your brand identity, increase your visibility and help in interacting with your customers.

Your business identity is likely to be with you for a long time, so it’s worth getting it right. A design expert and copywriter are invaluable in crafting the right brand identity that will be a lasting, positive image for your business.

If you need help with your branding, marketing strategy and promotional material, contact us today to see how we can help.