The Founder’s Guide to Building a Strong Brand for Startups
Everything You Need to Know to Foster Lifetime Loyalty with Your Customers
Let’s talk about your ideal future.
You’re attracting all the right people with very little convincing. They’re crazy about your product and buy it without thinking twice. Your customers rave online and tell everyone they know about how awesome your company is.
Now, this is the power of branding.
But all too often, early-stage startups miss the mark. Their trouble? Only going skin-deep with their brand and not latching onto a defined purpose.
Every brand needs to connect emotionally with its prospective customers to build a loyal fan base. And this requires digging way past company colours and logos and even paid advertising tactics alone to win over the hearts and minds of customers.
Building a brand is about creating the feelings and experiences that only live inside your customers’ minds–the most powerful place to be that can either make or break your business.
As Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, said it best, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
So how do you stay authentic, develop experiences that resonate with your customers, and stand apart from the run-of-the-mill brands?
We’ve got just the thing. Our resident marketing experts at Harvest have pooled together the most valuable resources on brand marketing, including best practices, case studies, and templates on how to attract your customers faster through the power of branding.
The more familiar people become with who you are, what you offer, and most importantly, how you make them feel, will ultimately help you grow your fan base and lower your customer acquisition costs in the long run.
By balancing a compelling brand narrative with the right mix of marketing channels and stories, you’ll have built yourself a brand with the ultimate staying power. Let’s get started!
- The Basics
- What is branding, and why should you put effort into it?
- Building a purpose-driven brand starts with your mission and vision
- Defining your brand core values isn’t as hard as you think it is
- People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek explains how to truly differentiate a brand when most of them fail.
- Top lessons from Tesla on how to use your brand to build a better world. Spoiler alert: it all lies within your brand purpose.
- The ingredients to come up with a strong brand name
- The difference between brand recognition and brand awareness
- It takes two to tango. Percolate explains how brand marketing and product marketing co-exist.
- Brand Strategy
- 5 things early-stage startups should know about competitor research
- How to differentiate your brand from others with the best-in-class competitor analysis framework. Buffer provides tips and tricks for keeping your friends close and your competitors closer.
- Plant your flag down. The secret to defining your target market.
- Questions to help craft your ideal buyer personas. Amazon’s Display Advertising Specialist, Kasturi Shrivastava, breaks down what makes customers tick.
- How to develop a unique brand voice. Coschedule explains the differences between voice and tone, and shows examples of brand personalities that rock.
- Brand messaging for startups that want the ultimate staying power. A lesson in stringing the right stories by Neil Patel.
- Brand Identity
- How to design a logo with a tagline, and when you need both.
- Everything you need to know about choosing the right colours for your startup brand. Canva shares tips on how colours impact consumer behaviour.
- Fonts that people actually use. The cool ones vs. the best ones in the startup world.
- Consistent icon styles, brought to you by Google.
- How to bring your brand to life with 10 interactive web design ideas for kickass UX
- The best startup website designs that dress to impress, featuring Stripe, SpaceX, and more.
- 8 of the worst website design mistakes you should definitely avoid
- Check out Apple Design Resources for UI kits, product development templates, guides, marketing imagery, and more
- Facebook’s design toolkit, including immersive marketing imagery, AR badges, and other design templates to enhance your look and feel
- Google Fonts has great icons resources that come in 5 consistent styles that can be used for your brand and visual identity
- Brilliant brand packaging examples, both print and beyond picked by Uzers
- Brand style guides every startup needs to see from players like Google, Uber, Slack, and more
- Brand Marketing
- How brand translates to user experience. UX Planet explains how to connect brand promise with brand behaviour.
- The real value of content marketing. Storm ID reveals the four purposes of high-quality content and why it should be tied to your brand strategy.
- How SEO builds a stronger brand and common mistakes every startup should steer clear of
- You’ve got mail: 10 brands that send unforgettable email newsletters, and why they’re effective brand builders
- Paid Advertising
- Not all media is made equal: paid vs. earned media. Paige Sander reveals the uses, benefits, and limitations of both.
- Lessons from the best search and display ads you should apply in your campaigns
- How to amplify your brand message by getting visible
- 6 most common threats to your brand safety
- How to build a high-performing brand awareness campaign from start to finish
- Why you should bid on your brand name
- 9 underrated marketing tips that helped Slack win
- MailChimp, Shopify, and other tech companies that have used paid ads to their advantage
- Social Media Marketing
- Proven tips for connecting your startup brand with social media
- Want to build your brand on Instagram? Don’t play it safe. Lemonade insurance company shows how some of the best social media content can be homemade.
- How to find your target market on social media. Hootsuite shares its insights on reaching audiences that will most likely convert to customers.
- Which social channels suit your brand best?
- The battle of the audiences: B2B vs. B2C social media marketing
- B2B trends to put into practice
- Customization, gaming, and other B2C trends that will shape your future strategies
- How to reach new audiences with influencer marketing
- How to build a community around your brand. Sprout Social walks you through the can’t-skip-steps to cultivating loyalty.
- Branding for Tech Startups
- Developing a minimum viable brand (MVB) for startups in the ideation stage
- Bridging the technology-branding gap: how to tackle branding for high-tech products
- Must-use branding tips for tech startups
- Where to position your brand on the tech spectrum. A leading New York brand agency reveals the essential components of a successful technology brand strategy.
- 10 startups that take branding to the next level, including Squarespace and Bumble.
- 3 tips to avoid the most common pitfalls for early-stage startup branding
- Decluttering your tech brand: tips from marketing and design experts, including the co-founder of Userbrain
Great things can’t be rushed, and your brand is one of them. To develop a reputation you’re proud of, you have to put in the time and work to match your brand’s experience with your business’ energy and goals.
As your brand matures over time, you’ll develop more traits and more customers. The key is to apply your branding consistently across your company as you evolve.
Now that you have all the tools behind you to get started on a strong brand strategy, you can begin marketing your edgy, new product to your ideal users. Remember, the more people who recognize you, the easier it’ll be to gain their trust and win their loyalty.