Why Branding Is Essential to Your Early-Stage Business
by Devin Richards
If you’re the founder of a business that’s in its early stages, you’ve probably got your hands full. In addition to building the foundation for your company, you’re trying to get the word out about it so you can attract both customers and investors. And on top of all that, you need to be running the business as it is.
Branding may be the last thing on your mind. Maybe it’s something to consider for the future, perhaps after you raise the next round. If that’s the case, it might be time to reconsider your position on branding.
That’s because a strong, memorable brand is imperative to organizations of all types — whether they’re big or small, whether they’ve been around for a century or they’re just starting out. And for those that are still early in their journey, brand is especially important for a number of reasons.
A solid brand sets you apart from your competitors.
When you’re beginning to establish a name for yourself, you don’t want to get lost in the sea of competitors; you want to stand out. What makes you different from the others? What makes you better? Having a strong brand foundation helps you identify that uniqueness and communicate it in a number of ways, allowing you to lean into your strengths and put your best foot forward at every touchpoint.
This is especially true if your organization provides a product or service that’s similar to others. By acknowledging the competitive landscape — what’s working and what isn’t, what others are doing and what they aren’t — you can use aspects of your brand like color and typography to create clear distinction from the others, setting you up to create memorable impressions and divert attention to your business.
Customers and investors take note.
At this stage, impressions are everything. You want to show customers that you can solve their problems like no one else can — and potential investors need to recognize that, too. Even if your product or service is the best in its class, nobody’s going to bite if they don’t believe it. Branding can allow you to play a bigger part in the reputation you build and own how your story gets told.
And once you know what that story looks like, brand ensures you stick to it so that you look, speak, and act consistently at all times. When the brand experience doesn’t skip a beat, customers and investors who have multiple touchpoints with your business come to know what to expect. And that builds trust, paving the way for a track record of reliability and trustworthiness.
You become more than a business.
Branding can take your business to the next level by setting you apart, helping you to play to your strengths, and making you more appealing to both customers and investors. But there’s something more you gain when you invest in a brand: You stop being just a business and become something more: a force of nature that has personality and knows what it’s about.
That confidence and self-assuredness is infectious. It has the power to excite your team and give them a better defined vision to rally around. And it’s attractive to potential employees, those on the outside who find themselves drawn in by that energy you create.
Branding is an investment, and you’re at a point where you have to be smart about how you spend your time and resources. But when you consider the opportunities branding can open up for your business, how it can make you irresistible to customers, investors, and employees — that no longer seems like such a large investment, does it?
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash