Startup Essentials: How to Make Your New Business Stand Out

A majority of the new age entrepreneurs think that it isn’t the right time for branding when you’re just starting your venture. While some would share that opinion, it is wild that something so essential to any business, let alone a startup can be ignored so easily in the rapidly advancing tech world. It is usually seen as a later-stage luxury, something they think is nice to have rather than a must-have. And if the startup is entering the B2B space, they think that there is no requirement to have a brand environment whatsoever. What these entrepreneurs do not realise is that in the end, every startup has to attract several different kinds of people, and not just their customers, such as investors, good calibre partners and suppliers, employees and of course, early-stage customers as we already mentioned.

A human brain is built like a filing system. It takes fragmented associations from various aspects in life, and ‘files’ it under different ‘tabs’ depending on what you are experiencing at that moment. This tab could be a visual cue, a sound or a smell — something that triggers a memory of all the fragmented associations that you have gathered over the years. Simply put, a brand is the perception of the sum total of all the touchpoints — of a product, a service or a business. This is why everything you do, the other party relates it to your product as a brand, whether it is a PowerPoint presentation, a meeting, personality of the promoters, quality and uniqueness of the product/service offered etc.

Having certain associations that are unique to your brand is immensely helpful in building up your image. A powerful visual ‘tab’ to which all associations of a brand start getting attached is a logo. The earlier you organise your brand image and start creating this bank of associations, the stronger it gets. Every cue is like a barcode. Every time our brain scans it, it automatically unlocks all the experiences, facts and memories that you have about that brand. A good brand image should be as such, that it stands out from the crowd but it should also be memorable. Apple’s apple, Nike’s swoosh, Audi’s concentric rings are some examples of simple yet distinctive logos. A good brand image also goes a long way in creating a greater belief among investors, who see a branded pitch as more professional. With greater market clarity, you also attract better talent and partners, which creates trust, affinity and preference and a greater belief in the future dream.

A brand answers the most fundamental question about a business — “Why would someone buy your product/service?”. Most startups do not have an answer to that. Just having an idea is not enough. It is equally important to define why your product is relevant to your customers. You need to define what sets you apart from the others, what gives your brand a distinctive personality and the promise that you aim to deliver. No matter how great your product is, there always have to be emotional reasons to support it since these are what helps a customer connect to your brand.