Branding and Marketing for Startups

The last couple of years we have seen a huge increase in independent businesses and start-ups. Well-wishing strangers have funded many of these start-up businesses. According to CB Insights, both private and corporate investors gave up $47.3 billion into start-ups last year. The only other time that invest capital has come even close to this number was back in 2001, when $36.2 billion was invested in to dot com business ideas.

Why have we reached this peak in investment revenue? Well, thanks to the ever-growing power of the Internet, is now possible for anyone, anywhere to launch his or her business idea out in to the world. Once they have a good idea, all that they have to do is create a well thought out business plan and then they can present their start-up to a stratosphere of investors, waiting to find the next big thing. People love to feel that they are a part of creating some new and exciting, so investors can range from a fifteen-year-old girl investing her $15 pocket money in to the latest technology in video games, to a business-savvy banker hoping to turn a big profit by investing in some stimulating technology.

marketing-startupHowever, there are thousands of entrepreneurs beginning their start-ups every day. Whether they are launching them online, or to private investors through pitches, they have to make sure that they stand out from everyone else that they have seen that day. You could have an amazing, groundbreaking idea, but if you present this in a dull and uninspiring manner then your brilliant idea will be lost in the tediousness of the pitch. You need to discover who your target market is and work towards this crowd. If you believe that your startup can attract a whole range of persons, then ensure that you have a global and neutral brand strategy that can be enjoyed by any age, sex and personality. You need to really get to know your audience, and understand what marketing will really speak to them. Every aspect of your marketing and branding is important, from colors, to typography, shape, size, the tone of the pitch and the overall aesthetic of the product/idea.

Whilst large and pre-existing companies have teams of employees to do this for them or hire outside help from branding strategists, startups can take care of this themselves. With the startups it is your brainchild, your baby, and how could anyone else as enthusiastic about your product or idea as you yourself are? By taking care of the branding and marketing yourself you will not only be more involved with your business, but it will also save you a lot of money. Here are some top tips to get you on your way to creating the prefect brand for your business:

Define your brand. Pinpoint it in the market, and understand what makes you different.
Develop your brand. Have an entirely three-dimensional view of your brand. Understand not only what you do, but also why you do it. Have values, beliefs, ideals and purposes that your customers can connect with.
Be individual. Do not copy existing companies or products. You do not want to look like them or sound like them. If you copy an already existing brand then why would anyone choose you over them?
Grow. You have defined and developed your brand; now help it to grow as you learn. Do not keep repeating the same things over and over again, but instead listen to your client base, move with your customers and grow with your business. Be daring- don’t get stuck in the sand.
Using these tips, you can use blogs and social media sites to effectively market yourselves. Create a profile for your company or business idea, and create a blog showing what you are about, how you go about achieving your goals and updating clientele on the progress of your business. Useful sites with a lot of traffic are Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. The main idea here is to create a personality through your marketing. You can do this for free, and you can do this yourselves. Update your blog or social media sites as often as possible, so that you are constantly reminding people about your business.
Here are our tips on how to use each site:

Facebook: Facebook is used by billions of people across the globe, and it is fairly easy to set up a company page. You set up the page much like how you would use this social media site for personal purposes- by choosing photos, a profile picture, adding information to your ‘about me’ and reaching out to Facebook users within the community. In the ‘about me’ section you can create a first impression, followed by a longer description of your business idea. You can also create a link to your official company website. The great thing about using Facebook for marketing is that it is so easy to create posts and also see how many people you have reached with your marketing strategies. The ‘Insight’ tab takes you to a page of data, showing your page likes, post reach and engagement; while the activity page shows you how much marketing you have achieved that week and allows you to set up scheduled posts- ensuring that you are always promoting your business.
Tumblr: Tumblr is also used by many people worldwide. However, Tumblr is used primarily for image-based blogs. If you are looking to promote your startup through animations or photos, then Tumblr is the blog to use. To set up a blog you join the site, create a page and start posting! You can create posts of only images, or posts of images and text, or only text (however, as aforementioned, it is mainly an image based site). Tumblr is pretty user-friendly, however some knowledge of HTML would come in useful if you would like to change the template or layout of your blog. Like Facebook, you can set up scheduled posts.
Twitter: Twitter is a text-based post with an option to add an image. Twitter gives you a 140-letter character limit- so your posts will be short and snappy. If you are using twitter to market your brand then it is a good idea to use another social media or blog site also, to give a larger overview of your business. It is very simple to join twitter and begin posting- but make sure that you follow people who you want to market your business to, so that your tweets show on their newsfeed.
Now that you have these marketing and branding tips, get out there and launch your start up!

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