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What Successful Startups Should Know About Branding April 20, 2017

Even though they are separate companies and competitors, there’s no denying that together Uber and Lyft have changed personal transit. What’s interesting is the way that both companies carved out a significant niche by using very different branding and positioning strategies. Uber launched as primarily a luxury brand. ‘A private driver just for you’ if you will. On the other end of the spectrum was Lyft who started by promoting an environmentally friendly solution by providing filling empty seats in cars, and getting other cars off of the road.


So, how did two companies with such different approaches both attain success in the same industry? Each had a solid branding and positioning strategy that was sure to work for them. In fact, if there is one thing that nearly all successful startups have in common is that they know what it takes to build a successful brand.

Branding Has to be Part of Your Developing Strategy From Day One

When time and money are tight, and there’s a need to get on the market quickly, branding often takes a back seat. This is a mistake. Developing a branding framework is just as important as fine tuning products and services.

Branding must be a discussion point that is on the table from the get-go. This means that every decision must be accompanied with the question, how does this work for or against our branding?

A Big Part of Branding is Visual

For many people, the visual plays a key role in their emotional response and their recollection. In fact, if you ask people to think about a certain brand, their minds are very likely to focus on visual elements. These include the logo, the colors used, the style and look of the employees uniforms, etc.

Successful startups dedicate a lot of time focusing on the visual aspects of branding. They agonize over font selection, they invest in professional logo design, and they carefully pick the colors that will have the impact that they desire.

The Devil is in The Details

Every little thing can impact branding in a positive or negative way. Use of color and fonts was mentioned above, but that’s not all. The voice used in your marketing content, web design, packaging, even the uniformity (or lack thereof) in  your documents makes a difference.

Redundancy across all customer facing channels are extremely important. This is why it’s important to rely on visual asset libraries, and solutions such as Templafy that help to automate consistency in written communications.

Keep It Simple

When it comes to branding, customer experience is everything. As it turns out, what customers want is simplicity. In a recent consumer poll, customers ranked Google and Lidl high when it comes to brand simplicity. LinkedIn and Facebook were ranked quite low. In the same survey, 45% said they would spend more money on simpler experiences.

Be Disruptive

We can do it better, faster, cheaper, and we’ll treat you better while we do it. Strong startups, especially those entering a competitive niche, know that lack of disruption is disastrous. This is why a good branding strategies communicates exactly what it is that makes a company stand out from the others.

It rarely works if this is done subtly. Startups cannot become successful brands by taking a milquetoast approach. Poking the bear, and coming out of the gates with an extremely competitive approach is key.

There is no simple solution for creating a successfully branded startup. It involves developing and honing a strong branding strategy, differentiating the company from its competitors, creating great user experiences, and using consistent voice and imagery.

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