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Brand Building for Start-Ups

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Brand Building for Start-Ups

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Brand Building is both an art and strategy often overlooked by start-ups, especially those run by founders with technical backgrounds. It's not just about putting a logo on t-shirts, it's about product market fit.

Brand Building is both an art and strategy often overlooked by start-ups, especially those run by founders with technical backgrounds. It's not just about putting a logo on t-shirts, it's about product market fit.

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Brand Building for Start-Ups

  1. 1. Brand Building for Start-Ups
  2. 2. Why Brand Matters Financial: Influential brands are an asset in their own right, and research demonstrates that there is a strong correlation between brand strength and stock market performance. Even for startups that are nowhere close to IPO, a coherent brand strategy can inform an investor narrative that breaks through in a funding environment where the power has flipped from founders to VCs in the past year. Community: Brand drives incremental value by creating strong emotional resonance with its community, creating loyalty beyond reason. As Zoe Scaman states, this creates a flywheel between audience, product and brand that powers business growth, which was instrumental to fueling early success for companies like Peloton and Amazon. Employee: An influential brand is a beacon to attract (and retain) top-tier talent in a tight labor marketplace. According to Deloitte, purpose-driven companies report 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of workforce retention. While total compensation is key, a clearly articulated brand purpose can be the invaluable decision-maker. Cultural: Influential brands also create cultural advantage that contributes directly to business success by delivering a disproportionate share of voice, driving the PR narrative and attracting partners. For example, while celebrity endorsements cost tens of millions, Airbnb was able to get Beyoncé on board for a much lower fee because she was so aligned with the company’s brand purpose. Img from: Branding For Small Businesses Made Simple
  3. 3. Key Brand Strategy Questions ● What is our product value proposition? ● How do we differentiate our product or service in a crowded competitive landscape? ● Who are the primary audiences to win with first—and who are the growth audiences that will enable us to scale? ● Where should the leadership team focus more (or less) time and attention? ● Why does the world really need another “Uber for x” or “Stripe for y”? Img from: How to Identify Your Brand’s Value Proposition | by Jones + Waddell | The Startup | Medium
  4. 4. Self Assessment ● Has the ROI on performance marketing become less efficient? ● Are you about to embark on a big hiring push? ● Is there an imminent funding round or IPO? ● Have you found traction with a core audience but now need to “cross the chasm” to the mainstream? ● Are you expanding your product into new verticals and markets? ● Has your early success spawned a wave of “copycats” that talk and look like you? Img from: Marketing ROI: Definition and How to Calculate It - Ruler Analytics
  5. 5. Note: Pay and Spray Branding Isn’t Strategy When startup leaders hear “brand,” many automatically think of logo, colors, swag, perhaps splashing dollars on endorsements or sponsorships. If this is how brand is defined, then it’s 100% accurate that startups shouldn’t spend much time or money on it. Building the product, scaling the team, securing financial runway, getting to product-market fit—all of these must be higher priority to ensure the startup has a chance to survive.
  6. 6. Source: Founders of Tech Startups Often Overlook Brand Strategy by Colin Chow

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