Simple Brand Management Tips for Startups

Starting a new company comes with more than a fair share of headaches, but it is the potential for true creation and meaningful growth that keeps entrepreneurs coming back for more. In order to succeed, a laser focus is required, and a big part of that success is about defining your brand and communicating that identity to your customers. But, with instantaneous and prolific communication channels, a brand identity crisis can happen a lot quicker than one might think. Here are a few simple brand management tips to implement within your company early and often so your customers always know what to expect:

  1. Clearly define your brand (in writing), engrain that definition into your company culture, and inject that ethos into all your communication:  Communicating a clear brand message, both internally and externally, is essential. Potential and existing clients need to identify with your brand and understand what it’s about and how it can benefit them. Cultivating customer trust and company credibility through consistent and creative marketing communication encourages customer loyalty — your biggest brand currency for spreading the good word.
  2. Stand out from the crowd, but stay true to you:  In any market, make sure your brand stands out, like DollarShaveClub.com, but always remain true to #1 above or your customers will see right through you. Entice them to interact with your organization by creating a buzz around your brand within the niche networks where they actually live and play, and not just on the most common and popular networks. This means that your marketing tactics should remain flexible and dynamic so you can learn fast, while still being guided by your brand ethos.
  3. Be approachable in all your customer interactions:  Put your best “brand foot” forward like these companies, and ensure your customers have something memorable and personal to associate with who you are. Introduce your company culture to the masses, and then make the experience feel unique and intimate, up-front experience with your organization.
  4. Create a sense of community:  Once your customers become familiar with your brand and culture, give them all the opportunity to join in. Offering special access or unique events makes your customers feel like they are a part of the movement. SendGrid’s developer community is a great example of creating a rabid and loyal environment, building a fervor around their products and services.

Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that your brand identity will come to define itself. Your brand ethos is a guiding principle within your company, and it is how your customers will come to know and trust who you are.

Paul Arterburn is a Co-founder and the Head of Product at Brandfolder, a Techstars Boulder 2013 company. In this capacity, Paul is responsible for overall product vision and execution. This includes managing the development and design processes, constructing and executing the product roadmap, and deploying code daily. Paul is nearing the magic 10,000 hour mark of coding through the dedication of learning 15 different coding languages over the past 15 years. Daring and scrappy, Paul is ready to leave the Web better than he found it: this is what drove him to found Brandfolder. Me in 3: • Movies people can’t believe I don’t like: Star Trek and Star Wars. • My secret talent: As a songwriter my first songs at age 16 were about all girls, and my latest about just one - my fiancé. • My first invention: A wrestling move dubbed 'The Bob Dole' still used across the state of Nebraska today.

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