Here at Josh.ai, we know how important it is to prioritize. As a tech startup, we have to focus not only on building a product that is innovative and transformational, but also on establishing our voice and framing how we want our company to be perceived. All too often, branding is not viewed as a top priority for startups, and understandably so since it is easy to view the product itself as the most important priority. In reality though, having a brand strategy is important for a company of any size. Now when I say branding, I don’t just mean a name, logo, and color palette. True, those are the things people often think of when they hear the term “branding,” but they in fact constitute the bare minimum of what your brand should represent. So what is actually encompassed in a brand strategy?
What is brand strategy?
Your brand can be summed up by how your customers perceive you as a company, product, or service. Your brand strategy should therefore guide every way in which you communicate and interact with your customers.
First and foremost, your company should define the following:
Mission: a functional description of your business
Vision: a lofty goal for the company
Positioning Statement: a unique space in the market in which you intend to operate
These initial components should then dictate how the brand is expressed:
Personality: characteristics or descriptors used to embody the brand, product, or service
Voice: style of written communication reflective of the brand personality
Visual Expression: visual elements (colors, imagery) reflective of the brand personality
Decisions around the name, logo, and tagline should stem from these key elements. Together, they should all be reinforcing, creating a singular, unified brand experience.
Why do I need a brand strategy?
The benefits of having a brand strategy are far reaching for both you and your customers, and the following are just a few reasons why you should invest in defining your brand:
The obvious reason is that a brand helps distinguish you from your competition and makes you more recognizable to customers.
Your brand strategy also dictates your marketing strategy. It provides a clear purpose for why you are engaging customers and how you are doing so.
Having a cohesive brand strategy helps you communicate with your customers more clearly. The more consistent your messaging, the more likely you are to attract and maintain loyal customers.
Not only does it provide consistency for your customers, but it provides focus for employees. A clear brand vision helps make sure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
And finally, a strong brand can help attract high caliber talent.
At the end of the day, branding saves you money, not costs you more. So while as a start up, the investment might seem hard to make, in the long run, your brand will prove to be invaluable.
This post was written by Kristen at Josh.ai where she focuses on marketing and branding. A former consultant with a BS in Biology and Business from Cornell, Kristen is currently pursuing an MBA at The University of Southern California. Outside of work, she can be found playing hockey at one of LA’s many ice rinks or more appropriately learning to surf.