Is Branding Your Start-up Selling Out?

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You’ve built your business from the ground up, maintaining your independence and credibility all along the way.

Now your business is on the verge of becoming a big success, and your investors and others recommend that you start acting like a bigger, more established company and do things like developing a brand for your firm.

But you can’t help but wonder whether you’d be selling out if you do something as “corporate” as branding your business. After all, you’ve gone a long way with a company name, logo, website and little else.

And your instinct is right: If you develop a traditional brand, you could very well be selling out and doing a disservice to your company.

What you need is a brand as revolutionary and up-to-date as your business.

The traditional brand

For decades, brands were typically built from the top-down and information about them was broadcast from the corporate level down to the consumer.

Marketers in corporations typically worked in isolation to develop their brands. They created messages, images, logos and other brand identifiers that were designed to explain what the company wanted to say to the world at large. These messages were delivered in big media channels like television, magazines and newspapers that offered little or no opportunity for consumers to interact with them.

It was an approach to branding that was effective in its day. Big companies talked and consumers listened.

Today’s brand

But today, it’s different. And that’s why today’s brands must be developed in a more open and inclusive way.

You created your start-up because you listened. Whether you monitored social media, read the news, listened to friends or paid attention to research, your company was born out of a consumer or industry need that your business fills.

And that’s how your company’s brand should be built, as well.

  • By listening, not talking or broadcasting.
  • Organically, from the ground-up, not from the top-down.

Modern brands must be based on conversations with consumers, insights and research, so they speak to the needs of the people companies like yours are built to serve. They should also be developed from the ground-up, so they can be effective in social media, websites, online chats, through photo-sharing, online transactions and other micro-channels that your customers engage with every day.

Today your customer — whether it’s a B2B or B2C one — is more likely to engage with your brand on a smartphone or tablet than a television or billboard. An experience on a smartphone is a two-way personal one and your brand needs to be prepared for a dialogue, not a broadcast.

The benefits to your firm

So, how can a professional brand benefit your mature start-up?

1. It brings clarity and definition

First, a brand helps you more clearly define and explain:

  • What your company does
  • How it does it
  • Who it serves
  • How consumers can engage with your business
  • What makes your company different
  • And more.

This level of clarity becomes more important as your company moves up to serve a bigger and broader consumer base. In a larger marketplace, you’ll need to cut through competitive clutter with a clear and defined message that your consumers can understand.

2. It helps build a world-class customer experience

Next, a defined brand will help you deliver the consistent consumer experience today’s customers expect. The most successful modern brands — Apple, Amazon, Gilt, Disney, and Facebook are just a few examples — deliver a defined customer experience that begins with the first customer contact and continues on for years through every single touch point.

Your company — whether B2B or B2C — will not be able to reach its full potential if it cannot deliver the kind of experience today’s modern consumer expects. It doesn’t make sense to limit the future growth of your firm by not taking the time to develop a defined branded experience.

3. It facilitates connecting with consumers

One other thing: you may only have a nano-second in social media to connect with consumers, get them to recognize your company, make a positive first impression, and drive them to do business with you. A good brand can help you do all that. That’s because it will provide your company with a logo, messaging, tone, voice and visual image that quickly communicates what your company does and what makes it different from — and better than — your competitors.

Can you really afford to waste an impression or lose a sale because your company doesn’t have the tools needed to communicate it’s message to the public in today’s fast media world?

The implications

Emerging start-up companies like yours need a professional brand to up their game and compete effectively in a broader, more competitive marketplace. The important thing is that you don’t “sell out” and make the mistake of building an out-of-date brand that could communicate all the wrong things about your business.

That’s why you should connect with a branding company that has experience building and developing contemporary brands for modern companies. Carpenter Group could be the agency you’re looking for.

When we develop a brand, we work closely with the company to understand their business, their goals, who their consumers are and how they prefer to engage with and sell to their consumers. Then we construct a brand from the ground-up that will deliver a consistent consumer experience from first contact and help drive engagement and sales.

Getting started is easy. Contact Carpenter Group to begin a discussion about how we can help take your start-up to the next level by developing a polished and professional brand.