How do people experience and interact with your company? If you want to make an impact in the innovation market, you need an innovative branding strategy. Ultimately, branding is a tool that can be used to fund your start up and support innovation research and development projects, thus shaping your future in the industry.
For many technology start-ups, brand management takes a back seat to other business development tasks. This is often because the products or services being developed are so unique that the company can immediately enter the marketplace as a leader, or even with a monopoly. But branding is not just about cool logos and catchy slogans– it is truly a business development tool, in every sense of the word. The results of an investment in branding are slow growing and long lasting.
Investors and consumers alike need to experience a feeling of connection, trust, and excitement when they encounter your brand. Eliciting an emotional response will create a lasting first impression. First impressions are instrumental in forging lasting relationships with your consumers and vendors. These days, a potential consumer or investor should be able to learn about your company through any means necessary – digitally, online, locally, in print, via mobile apps – the works. In an age when consumers are relying on the Internet to locate product manufactures and service providers, the company with the best online image wins the business.
Modern branding is overturning some traditional ideas about branding, especially with regards to online and social media avenues. Think of brand management as an umbrella that covers the marketing, advertising, and networking operations of an individual or business. In other words, a well-executed positioning strategy leads to a strong brand which ultimately results in a strategic and sustainable competitive advantage in the market. When done well, branding and design can provide a foundation for your business to grow on for decades.
While it may not seem so innovative, if a technology company intentionally places greater weight on the customer’s experience with the company instead of the product itself, the customer’s feedback will drive the most favorable and profitable product design. In this way, the technology innovator is building customer loyalty and simultaneously securing its position in the marketplace. These results are based on an emotional response to the company, not just an exchange of goods or services.
If you have been postponing your brand management initiatives, I encourage you to bump them up to your number one priority. It may be tempting to throw together a logo on a business card and brochure and see how it goes, and plan on changing the design down the road when you have more time or money to invest in branding. The problem with this is you are introducing instability to your company’s foundation right from the start. Do it right the first time and be done with it. The payback will be tenfold.
Likewise, do not put branding at the bottom of your marketing budget. It deserves a large portion of your budget because well-executed branding and positioning are your foundation for market leadership. And be careful about assuming you don’t need branding because your products are so unique and you don’t have any competition. Down the road when competition does show up (because it will!), and they have a strong brand, you’ll be wishing you had one too.