Corporate Branding and Brand Awareness for startups
Table of Contents
Corporate branding: what is it and why is it important for startups? How can you implement it and create effective corporate branding strategies?
All this and much more will be deepened in this article, in which we will initially give a general definition of the concept of corporate branding and then present some guidelines to follow if you are interested in building your brand and corporate branding strategies for your startup but still do not know where to start from.
Corporate branding, in fact, is one of the first key activities to take care of, even for a startup.
Going to market is not easy for a startup: there is a lot to do to be successful! You need to communicate the value of your product or service to your target audience, and corporate branding is fundamental for this purpose.
In the initial phase of your project, you need to take care of numerous aspects, like the definition of your positioning, tone of voice and company key values. In addition, you have to create a pitch to present your idea to investors and take care of the contents, all of this without forgetting to do everything in a coherent way, in order to build your own corporate branding and remain impress in the mind of your target audience.
You need to build your brand identity, which has to embody the concepts and values that your startup wants to communicate to customers to conquer a leading role within your market, gain visibility and trust.
Having a well-designed corporate branding identity will not help you to sell immediately, but it helps you to be identified and increase your sales opportunities. So the main goal is to give your business a recognizable identity as soon as possible.
What is Corporate Branding?
In general, when we talk about corporate branding, we refer to the features with which a company identifies and, at the same time, to the set of services made available to build a recognizable image and create valuable content, which remain impress in the minds of customers. Doing corporate branding allows you to convey to your target audience the peculiar characteristics of your offer compared to that of competitors. It expresses, in fact, the uniqueness of the story, values and culture of the brand and, at the same time, contains its objectives, i.e., what it intends to represent with its product/service.
To strengthen the identity and trust that a brand transmits, it is necessary to include and plan corporate branding within the strategy. Within this activity, there are all the elements strictly related to the brand itself (employees, partners, stakeholders, etc.).
How to build your corporate branding
Implementing a good corporate branding strategy brings considerable benefits to your business. For example, it helps to create a strong brand identity, recognition, and an emotional connection with consumers and, therefore, greater loyalty to the brand. It also helps to launch new products on the market, enter the company on foreign markets, etc.
Corporate branding strategies are therefore very important for companies and startups that want to develop a solid recognition around their image and strengthen their brand reputation, thus attributing value to their services or products. Building effective strategies, however, takes time and it is also necessary to focus on different factors, including target, mission, vision, values, and communication.
Before outlining some corporate branding strategies, it is good to clarify some fundamental points and ask yourself a few questions:
- What is your brand about?
- What are the services and/or products offered? How can they be used?
- What differentiates your brand from that of other competitors?
- What promises and values are offered?
Once all this is made clear, you will have to proceed with the definition of what will be the cornerstones of your strategy.
First of all, it is necessary to have a good organization within the team and to make clear the company philosophy and the objectives set, both on the long and short term.
Subsequently, to build corporate branding strategies that are effective and targeted, it is necessary to keep in mind who the target audience is and to which market your product or service will therefore be destined. The final step is to decide how to position the brand on the market.
Finally, what are the elements to care of to create your corporate branding? Let’s see them below:
- Mission, vision, and values
- Target Audience
- Logo and design
- Integrated communication and corporate storytelling
Mission, Vision and Values
Mission, vision, and values are the engine of every company. They explain who you are and what you do, they show you the way to achieve your goals and they identify you as a company.
The mission is a statement of your goals to define why you are on the market and how you stand against the competition.
Having a vision helps you to have an eye on what will be.
The values are at the center of the choices you make and define a sort of morality of your company. Thanks to corporate values, you have a course to follow.
These elements are of great support for the creation of the message that the brand will then transmit to its target, thus building an integrated and effective communication strategy that is in line with the image that the company wants to convey of itself.
The definition of the target audience and its customer journey is a fundamental point for the realization of an effective and efficient marketing strategy and corporate branding identity.
It is necessary to establish who makes up the audience to which we speak, and to which slice of the market corresponds, thus analyzing its distinctive features, and then understanding what the interests are, to subsequently position your company as the best solution on the market.
Only after carrying out the activities of analysis of the market and competitors and choosing how you want to position yourself, you will be able to build an effective corporate branding identity and strategy.
Positioning is an essential aspect, which often is key to business success. Closely related to the UVP, it represents how you want your business to be perceived by your target audience.
It is essential to analyze how competitors communicate to understand how you can differentiate yourself. Do an accurate competitive analysis to understand how each brand wants to be perceived by customers and, then, you will decide how to make yourself stand out.
Logo and Design
Another point that should not be underestimated is the visual aspect of the brand, to make it recognizable and, at the same time, give it a unique and original character. In fact, one of the elements to focus on is the logo, which is often considered the face of a company because it is one of the first things that a potential customer will remember about a brand.
The brand image must be completely consistent and coordinated and shouldn’t stop at the logo, but must also be allocated to the website, social networks etc.
If you are interested in Brand Identity and Logo, please read more on: Logo and brand identity: their importance for startups. and Logo Creation for startups: more than 30 tools
It is important to combine the image and name with an effective “payoff” that identifies the corporate identity. A payoff is nothing more than a short sentence that encompasses the philosophy, goal or spirit of the company. Its goal is to strengthen the brand identity, differentiate the competitors and create a trusting relationship with customers.
Integrated communication and corporate storytelling
A further aspect not to be underestimated within the corporate branding strategies is the coordination with all the corporate communication activities. It is essential to choose the right tone of voice for the brand, contents, and messages that you want to convey to your audience. It is very important to plan a good integrated content marketing and communication strategy.
Once you have defined the objectives you want to achieve and your audience, you must move on to the key point of the creation of storytelling. Telling stories is an essential aspect of the corporate branding creation. Corporate storytelling is not just the story of the business, but a way to rework a whole series of stories to strike a certain audience, convince them, involve them, share experiences, promote products and services. Storytelling is the focal element on which the corporate branding is built and that can make the difference for the customers to obtain a distinctive and leading positioning on the market. The storytelling element is indispensable to involve the target audience. The power of storytelling, combined with a multi-channel logic, can contribute to create a successful and effective strategy in terms of reputation, visibility, and recognition of a brand, but do not forget that it is essential to listen to the online conversations in order to be sure that your strategy is well implemented, and if not, you can then put in place the best action plans to make your brand well perceived by customers.
If you want to know more about corporate storytelling, please read also: Corporate Storytelling, key driver for brand communication and Storytelling books: the top 20 in our opinion
Corporate branding strategies to strengthen awareness and reputation
But what are the strategies that can be implemented to increase the brand awareness and reputation of your startup?
Surely, it is important to find a way to make yourself known as a startup, i.e., as a newborn reality. To do that, you must give priority to the expansion of your audience. How?
First use your network and then try to have a good presence on social media and use Digital PR. Do not forget that video marketing is a great tool to connect with existing and potential customers, and video is one of the formats that generates the best ROI.
Remember that you have earned, owned, and paid channels available and to increase your audience you need to mix them efficiently.
Never stop monitoring your online reputation through a series of tools, such as Google Alert, to be able to identify any risk and problem and act in time.
Ads and traditional banners alone are no longer enough, you need quality content to attract users. Consumers are changing the way they buy, so brands are increasingly understanding the need to make investments in exchange for creating and conveying content on the web. Content marketing is based on the creation and distribution of valuable content, with the aim of attracting a target audience to the website or social network, create a relationship, retain users and customers. Today, brands produce content with the aim of involving and attracting the interest of users, who will feel an integral part of a community and will identify with the brand’s values. Content marketing, together with an inbound marketing strategy, allows brands to create engagement and attract and retain customers. Through a structured content marketing plan, you can effectively increase brand awareness, strengthen the positioning in your target market, structure a coherent and integrated communication through all channels and guide the process of acquisition of leads and sales.
To expand your audience, using your network, you can rely on LinkedIn, which certainly remains one of the most important channels to make your startup known. Let’s deepen it briefly.
LinkedIn: how to use it if you are a startup
Startups are also companies, and therefore they should be present on LinkedIn with a company page to have direct contact with all the actors of their business who use the platform. Startups that do not have a company page preclude themselves from important opportunities, especially if they are B2B.
It is important to create an active LinkedIn page by publishing content that will have to be shared by the followers and by the members of the startup’s team. Through the LinkedIn page, the startup will increase its visibility on the platform and will have a greater chance of getting in touch with possible customers and people interested in the new product or service. Also be careful to take care of the SEO of the LinkedIn company page, using keywords to be easily found within the LinkedIn search engine.
Conclusions on corporate branding and brand awareness for startups
In summary, to create a corporate branding identity and strategy, it is necessary to follow a series of steps which define the company philosophy, so that your corporate branding identity can perfectly reflect your company values. You need to identify your audience, because in this way you will be able to establish the most important aspects you need to focus on, meeting the preferences of the consumers you want to reach and conquer. You must stand out from competition. A well-designed corporate branding identity will be an extraordinary driver for your success. Create a coordinated image consistent with all your communication and work out a memorable payoff that reflects both the identity and the mission of your company.
It can be said that these are the fundamental information to be able to start planning and implementing the brand creation activity of your startup and the creation of the best corporate branding strategies to increase brand awareness and improve brand reputation.
In this article, we have analyzed the main elements that a brand needs to establish itself on the market and stand out, thus outlining the main steps to follow if you want to include corporate branding strategies within your marketing activities, and finally achieve all the objectives set.
If you are interested in Corporate branding for startups, find out more on Start your startup page. You will discover more interesting content and videos to watch!