How can Entrepreneurs build a strong startup brand

By Hayut Yogev

to maximize the company’s value from the first day?

Any business’ mission is to maximize the company’s value. For entrepreneurs building their business, it’s a must. Mark Zuckerberg issued Facebook for 100 billion dollars while the company’s net income and revenues were $1 billion on $3.71 billion in 2011. That’s called Branding.

Companies’ value is built of two factors:

  1. Financial results = customers and sales
  2. Brand perception

The right customer focus will able you to achieve both factors in the fastest and most effective way.

I love to say that marketing is magic. The magic of marketing is based on your brand. Building a brand, any brand, has very clear rules, once you follow them, the magic happens. 

In this post you will learn about

  • What Marketing and Branding means
  • The 5 most significant elements in branding
  • The most important steps of branding your startup

About Marketing and what Branding means

Every meeting and lecture with and in front of entrepreneurs, I use to ask the same question: What is marketing? Since there are countless definitions for marketing, I get many results, and they are all true: Marketing is about earning money, building demand for our product, creating value, and more.

My definition for marketing is, “seeing things from the point of view of your potential customer”; because of a simple fact, the money we are looking for is in his pocket!

Branding your startup means creating its identity and differentiation in the mind of the potential customers In order to get their awareness, recognition, trust and loyalty. The initial meaning of branding was to mark (an animal for example) in order to recognize and differentiate it. We do the same thing in marketing, giving our product a name as well as a specific look and feel.

In summary: “Marketing is a battle of perceptions”* in customers’ minds. Branding is about building an identity for your product within this perception.

* THE 22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF MARKETING by Al Ries and Jack Trout

(Related: 5 reasons to fail with your startup marketing - and how to avoid them)

The 5 most significant elements of branding

After discovering your brand’s basics, you need to learn what the 5 most important elements of your brand are.

1. Decide your brand’s basic strategy of who your initial (current) customers are and what your product definition is.

2. Decide which market category you should play in. Based on your market overview, ask yourselves which new Market Category can we lead? Once you find the right category, you can take ownership, which is critical for building your company’s value.

3. Create your brand’s visual identity based on the basic decisions you made on paragraphs 1 and 2 above.

4. Build your Branding EXPRESS Plan (EXposure PResence awarenESS.)

5. Form your 6 month Marketing & Sales plan based on your brand’s identity factors.

The implementation of branding your startup and achieving your sales goals

Now, when we understand what marketing and brand means, what we have to do to brand our company, and we are ready to build our marketing and sales 6 month plan, it’s time to put the needed steps in order:

Before starting, we should schedule D-Day* (the date for the launch or relaunch when we approach our potential customers), and schedule the following steps accordingly.

  1. Study the market situation and discover the biggest opportunity for your product (2-3 weeks)
  2. Brand’s strategy discussions and decisions (1.5–2 weeks)
  3. Writing your brand visual identity brief and finding the right providers: for Graphic Design, Website, and copywriting (1.5–2 weeks)
  4. Building your Brand Visual Identity and basic brand and marketing materials (3-6 weeks)
  5. [Parallel to d] Building your brand EXPRESS plan for exposure, presence, and awareness (1-1.5 weeks)
  6. [Parallel to d] Build your marketing and sales activities plan for 6 months (1-1.5 weeks)
  7. Preparation for launch or relaunch (2 weeks)

(Related: How a small marketing budget works for startups better than a big budget?)

Launch or re-launch D – Day* !!

D Day

*D Day is the day on which an important operation is to begin or a change to take effect. (The best known D-Day is during World War II, the day of the Normandy landings-initiating the Western Allied effort to liberate Europe.)

An important note: When we build our startup or entrepreneurial business, we should expect changes, turnarounds, barriers, and unplanned opportunities. A lot of startups choose not to create a plan. This is a major mistake that often leads to chaos and failure. You should build an excellent plan, take everything in consideration, and expect changes. When it comes, compare the situation to the original plan, decide which actions you should take, make an updated plan, and keep moving towards meeting your goals.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, and to answer any question you may have about customer focus, startup marketing, successes, and failures. 

Looking to learn how most successful entrepreneurs became a ‘customer focus’ oriented? Listen now to interviews with Playbuzz, Guy Kawasaki, Entrepreneurs On Fire and more




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