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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Four ways to make your startup brand stand out

The world’s most successful brands are the ones that are able to connect with their customers on a personal level

Four ways to make your startup brand stand out
[Photo Source: Wayhome Studio/Adobe Stock]

We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by brands: in the street, on TV, while we browse the internet, on social media. Companies everywhere are competing, trying to stand out from the rest and get your attention.

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In this context, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create brands that get noticed, are relevant, generate consumer interest, and garner empathy so that clients feel that they are represented or that they belong.

A modern brand is composed of many things, some of which include:

1. Logo and name.

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2. The formality/informality used to communicate.

3. Type of product/services the company sells.

4. The culture and the people that are part of that company.

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5. How it advertises.

6. The design style it embraces.

7. Social media footprint.

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Today’s brands are very complex structures. The world’s most successful brands are the ones that are able to connect with their customers on a personal level, transmitting emotions and a sense of belonging or feeling represented by what that company stands for. They have loyal followers that love their products/services, the experience of buying from them, the support, the quality of those services or products, etc. Emotions are a huge part of this.

Here are the main aspects of a successful brand.

1. BE DIFFERENT

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It’s key to try to differentiate yourself from the rest of your competitors. If everyone is doing one thing, don’t be afraid to try something different—there’s no upside to playing it safe. A good example of this is how banks have changed their communication strategy. In the past, they portrayed themselves as very serious/prestigious entities. Today, most of them take a friendlier approach, using more casual/informal language to talk to their clients.

2. BE RELEVANT

Besides being different, you need to be relevant and generate interest in your audience. It’s very important that you communicate how your products/services can make people’s lives better and easier and produce results for them.

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3. BE KNOWN

Of course, it’s not enough to be different and be relevant if nobody knows about it. A carefully planned marketing campaign is key when it comes to engaging consumers. Once people know about your brand, they’ll keep coming back for the quality of the products/services, good distribution, pricing, and other aspects—but they need to know about it first.

4. COMMUNICATE EMOTIONS

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We already went through all the things that are important to create a successful brand, but what’s definitely a “must” is emotion. People are consuming services and products regularly, but if yours is memorable and creates fidelity, then you’ll soon find that you’ve built a successful brand. This can also mean that the experience is different from the one your competitors offer. Sometimes even the smallest details count when it comes to generating emotions in your customers and getting them to fall in love with your brand.

Apple is a company that does all of this very well. They are great at creating loyalty, their customers love them and share their passion for the brand with other people. This is a company that takes this very seriously—it’s in its DNA. The experience of buying an Apple product is completely engineered, and they have hired experts to create this experience and make sure it’s flawless.

WHAT STARTUPS CAN DO NOW

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Make sure you’re on top of the whole experience. It’s not just about selling a product or a service, it’s also about what happened before and what’s next, how your clients feel after buying something from you, and whether they’d do it again. This applies to services, consumer products, and even using a mobile app.

I believe people talk about products they love. As a startup, you only get one chance to make a lasting impression. Make sure you approach things from the customer’s perspective and give them an experience worth talking about.

The good thing is that as a startup, you’re starting from scratch and you have no limitations in terms of what you can do. I usually make sure to get a general idea of what my clients want to communicate and strive to do so in a way that produces emotions in their clients.

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Finally, creating an original brand benefits an up-and-coming business. It’s imperative for startups to consider the importance of building a solid brand experience because it can result in being acquired by large corporations, landing six-figure deals, getting investors on board, and increasing your user base, among other benefits. I’ve had this experience with many startups, and I know for a fact that a huge part of their success in getting funded/acquired or improving their business development efforts has been thanks to the fact that they had good positioning and a great brand behind them.


 

Nicolas Susco is a designer, entrepreneur and investor. Founder at (ea) ElipseAgency. Designed for Twitter, Google & Coca-Cola. Co-founder at Whyline & Minds.Dev

 

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