In 2018, there where 8671 digital product launches by tech startups on Product Hunt alone. We know that paying for your brand is low down on the agenda when a startup starts out but hopefully in this article we can convince you that, when the time is right, investing in a brand is a worthwhile decision.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Product Hunt is, it’s a platform for developers and teams to share their latest product. Other users can “Upvote” or comment with support or questions on that product. Creators can hope that they receive enough upvotes on their product to hit the top of that day’s leaderboard. To give you an idea of the success of Product Hunt and its importance in the market, Google regularly shares their releases as well as highly influential product-makers.
Standing out as
Standing out is where branding comes in. Branding is, in most cases, under the umbrella of marketing. We believe it’s a blend of business strategy and creativity. Branding can not only enhance and improve your tech experience and grow your customer base but also drive effective company culture. Branding is a lot more than just your logo, which we’ll get into below.
- What is brand in a nutshell?
- Why is branding important?
What is “brand” in a nutshell?
At its core, branding is a marketing tactic that helps identify you amongst your competitors. This can be done in a variety of ways. With branding, you want to leave the potential customer with a clear idea of the promise that you are making to them. That promise can be physical things like – we will make your life easier with our product – or it can be something slightly more intangible.
Take Coke for instance. Instead of selling the drink, Coke promises to sell you the idea of happiness, family or sharing. You want to be the sole provider to a clear solution to your customers problem and your brand gives you a voice to be able to achieve that.
Whatever your promise is, it should be consistent in everything you do. It should be a guiding light to all your marketing efforts but this doesn’t need to be just a fake marketing effort.
Branding is often deeply rooted in the values and ideas of its founders so is often born from genuine beliefs. This should set you aside from your competitors because although your product might be similar to another, you’re able to eke out the USP (‘Unique Selling Point’) and promise something deeper. Your customer should feel that promise in the entire customer experience and this can only be achieved through a well-defined brand strategy.
A final point to make is that for your brand, and the following points to work, you must understand your customer. Who are you talking to and why? What are their pain points and how do you solve them? Only then, can you build something effective into your efforts.
We have a post on how to develop your brand strategy here.
So why is branding important for my tech startup?
Branding is so important for many reasons (both internal and external). From an internal perspective, it can help align the business on why you are building your product or service so that you are all speaking the same language. The business should be geared towards the same objective so by going through the motions of developing your brand, this becomes clear. A great consequence of this is improved company culture – something that is integral to the success of any tech startup.
Position in the market
As mentioned, going through the motions of your brand strategy should identify your position in the market. Shouting about it is your way of standing out and setting yourself apart from the competition. Positioning is integral to standing out so we hold this process highly in a brand strategy workshop.
A brand with a higher value (from investors etc.) is perceived to be a bigger market player. This allows you more leverage and increased investment opportunities as your brand should represent establishment, confidence and success.
As a tech startup, in a sea of competition, recognition is also important. Having an attractive and engaging brand is one way to stand out. It’s also another way to remain in the minds of the consumer. Launching a new product becomes easier as the customer will be familiar with your brand. Everyone can
Building recognition also builds brand equity and so improves the chances that if you seek investment, you’re more likely to appeal to investors. This is because your brand equity is strong and this builds on the value we spoke of previously.
More Customers and referrals
When you engage with your customers you should give them a great service, and believe it or not, by having your brand consistently play a part in that process, it’s a way to drive up customer satisfaction. Their impression of your tech startup is further imprinted in their mind with every successful engagement.
Happy customers also mean you’re likely to get referred as that customer seeks to recruit more into the brand ecosystem.
Note: A concept called “brand tribalism” also contributes to the fact that raving fans will want to refer their friends. We won’t go into brand tribalism now but it essentially means that customers buy into the feeling it gives them. Sometimes they buy that more than the product itself. If they can grow this sense of pride, this can work well in your favour.
From the offset, if your brand is strong you’re likely to attract a specific kind of employee -hopefully one that aligns with the values you are trying to convey in your brand. When your employees believe in the values themselves and are encouraged they are likely to be proud and become a raving fan of their employer. They will also have a greater sense of belonging which is what we all pine for. They will feel like they are part of something bigger! We know that culture is a huge part of a positive atmosphere so if you have everyone believing in the same thing, you’re going to have a good atmosphere.
Stand out and build trust
Having a strong brand is a sure-fire way of looking professional, established and legitimate. As a growing tech startup, you’re likely to feel a bit of imposter syndrome sometimes and taking on tech giants can be a daunting task. With a strong product paired with a great brand, you’ll stand out and build trust within the market. People will be more likely to engage and purchase from you if they trust you and a well-put-together brand looks like a well-put-together business. This will lead
Clear and easy direction
Having a set of brand guidelines and a clear idea of the message your tech startup wants to convey is a huge weight off your shoulders. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for you allowing you to focus on more important things (the product). Getting the right emotional and visual direction nailed means you can forget about wondering if you’re conveying the right message and trust in the brand working its magic.
So as you can see, having an effective brand strategy for your tech startup matters so much more than just the appearance of your website or the design of your logo. There are clear benefits to it both internally and externally that you can leverage and utilise.