Startup Branding: Dos And Don’ts For Your Small Businesses

Branding is usually seen as an expensive and complicated task normally associated with big organizations that are identified globally. However, in today’s digital world, as more organizations are moving from traditional to inbound marketing, things are changing. The barriers to entry are low, and anyone using social platforms and new media can establish a known brand. When done with good planning, the right thinking partners and a thought-out approach, it need not be expensive. We don’t want you to reinvent the wheel, so here are some startup branding dos and don’ts for your small businesses!

Startup Branding Dos And Don'ts For Your Small Businesses brandanew

Branding dos for Startups and Smallbiz

1. What do you want to be seen as?

Basically you need to know your brand positioning and proposition. What exactly do you want to offer to customers? What sets you apart from your competitors? What’s your ideal buyer profile? Does your product appeal to the middle class or niche high street shoppers? It is for the youth or the elderly? Are you targeting men or women? Know exactly what you want to be. If you are not sure then your campaigns will not be focused on the right segments nor will the right customer get attracted to them. This is branding 101, define your customer.

WATCH: Ije Nwokorie, Wolff Olins London on the impact of the Internet on branding

2. Get your brand elements ready

From you logos to punchlines, all the elements of your brand identity will play a major role in the process. People will associate you with these symbols in the long run identify you accordingly. So, all these things must be well thought out and ready before you launch your brand. 

3. Claim your online properties

Register the web domain with your brand name before somebody else gets onto it. The same goes for social media profiles too. You do not want someone else to have a site with your brand name and create confusions. So nip these possibilities right at the bud by registering or claiming all online properties just before you launch the brand. Ideally, you should check if they are available even before you decide the final name. If there is already a big organization with the same name owning these properties, then you may want to rethink.

Branding Don’ts for Startups and Smallbiz

1. Avoid vagueness

There is no scope for vagueness in branding. You need to send out a clear message. You target audience should immediately understand what you are offering and what kind of value can you provide to them. So, keep this in mind when you develop your brand communications.

2. Don’t be desperate 

Do not insult your consumer’s intelligence. Honestly state what you are offering and how it can help people. Try to back up your claims with facts, numbers, case studies and reasoning rather than making overt sales pitches all the time. Writing all caps and offering a coupon on every Facebook post is likely to be seen as too desperate.

3. Avoid false claims and shady techniques

Never make false claims to sell. You may sell once but you will lose the customer forever. Besides sustainable brands are not built on lies. Avoid shady black hat SEO techniques or buying fake fans on social media. Such things do more harm than good in the long run. You may even end up getting blacklisted by Google and thus never show up on search. Organic growth may take time, but it really will push your brand for the long run!

What are some of your branding dos and don’ts? What tips would you share to new Startup owners or small businesses? Do share with me in comments or with Brandanew on Twitter!

Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.