startup

Re-Evaluating and Renewing Your Brand for 2016

NewYearGoalsIt’s a new year…so perhaps it is time to reinvent and think about those resolutions. It’s also time to evaluate the past year and move forward with those new ideas that you shelved. Setting new goals and resolutions for your business and brand is just as important as setting those personal resolutions.

Looking back at 2015, what efforts and campaigns did you execute? Did they work for your brand? These tips will help you to re-evaluate or re-invent your company’s brand to appeal better to your audience. If your resolution is to finally launch that business you’ve been dreaming of, then these tips are great tools for you to make it a reality in 2016!

1. Know your audience
What services/products does your business offer and who are you targeting? Asking this question is a good first step to understand if you’re appealing to the right group. All marketing tools and tactics that you employ will need to be relevant to your target audience, so you don’t waste your efforts. Learn about the interests, needs and concerns of your audience. Surveying your audience is a great way to get to know them and get feedback directly because you can ask questions about what they want, what their preferences are, and what you as a brand can do to fulfill them.

2. Ask yourself what goals you would like to achieve.
Are you looking to increase awareness, increase sales, or a combination of the two? For any campaign, it’s important to have a goal and a plan in mind. Listing your goals will help keep your company’s view and messaging focused. Getting to know your audience will help you define what goals are most realistic. Then, moving forward, keep going back to that goal to ensure you’re staying on strategy and on message.

3. Ensure your messages align with your brand’s voice.
Your brand is the personality and essence of your company. In Forbes’ article “Why Branding is Important,” Scott Goodson says, “Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products.” If you develop your brand with the proper messaging and audience in mind, it will expand and grow over time.

Researching and knowing your audience, again, is key in this realm. If your target audience is a younger demographic, you might want to adjust your brand’s voice to appeal to that target group. The use of images appeals to all audiences, but especially to younger groups. If you’re just launching your startup, you’ll want to develop your brand properly. Create a mission statement and a voice that conveys what your business does and why you’re doing it.

4. What channels does your brand use to communicate?
Surveying your audience first can help you determine the best ways to communicate. Ask them if they use Instagram. Ask yourself if that medium is an appropriate tool for your brand to use. You don’t need to be present on all channels of social media, but if you’re going to be on a channel, do it well. Use the media that best appeals to your brand and audience. Plan your posts ahead of time. Tailor your posts to what your audience wants to hear and decide what is relevant for you to share. There are so many ways to reach your audience, from snail mail and email to Instagram and Periscope – the proper connection is key.

5. Tell stories, share experiences.
Consumers are valuing experiences more and more, and the social tools available are making it easier than ever to appeal to that. With apps like Periscope or Meerkat, you can live-stream an event and share it with your consumers. With Instagram, you share your brand purely through images. This can help build a connection between the company and the consumer. In Psychology Today, Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A. said, “When organizations, causes, brands or individuals identify and develop a core story, they create and display authentic meaning and purpose that others can believe, participate with, and share.”

Starting a company blog is another way to share your message, while giving consumers insight into your brand. You can share stories about impacts your business has made, for example. A blog is a great way to build a connection with your audience and your company. Consumers don’t want to interact with a big corporation; they want to feel the personalized, intimate connection of a small start-up. They want to share your experiences and understand your brand.
If you’re looking to start your business or make a change to your brand this new year, contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of startups survive five years and only one-third survive ten years. Although the economy has been improving, new businesses are still at risk of failure. New Business Incubators are on the rise, especially in California, and are a great way for businesses to gain mentorship and industry connections. However, they are not a sure-fire way to create a successful business.

Entrepreneur Gareth Forde from the startup “Tiny Kicks”, a product that measures the movement and number of kicks within the womb to help mothers and doctors track fetal health, spoke to the OC Register earlier this year about his acceptance to the EvoNexus business incubator in Irvine.

“The overwhelming reality of being in an incubator is it’s only as good as how engaged you are,” he said. “It’s probably one of the biggest drivers of success, the level of work and commitment of (your) team.”

Another key driver of business success is branding and engaging your audience through messaging.

Without a consistent, well-developed brand, a business can fail to reach the proper audiences or fail to accurately engage the intended audience because of incorrect messaging.

One important step to developing your brand is to ask the key questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? – not quite in that order.

What: What is your business? What is the problem or issue your business is aiming to solve or address? Your business should be trying to say something through its products. What is it trying to say? What is the message?

Who: Who is your target audience? Who will be interested in your business or product? Who are you intending to reach? What is your target audience like? Are they young, old, professionals, parents? Audience demographics are key in determining how to market your product and create the proper messaging.

Why: Why is your business or product important? Why is it different than other similar businesses? The truth is, there are very few original ideas anymore…so why should a client or customer pay attention to your business over the competitors?

How: How will you develop your business’ voice and personality? Will you use social media to engage your audience? Will you have a website? How will your website’s design, logo and verbiage convey your message?

Where: Where will you reach your target audience? Is it best to reach them at trade shows or online? Are mailers effective? Understanding where your audience engages is key to ensuring you are heard.

When: When are you launching your business? It’s best to understand your brand and develop it before you launch your business. Developing a timeline can keep you organized and keep your message on point.
Asking these basic, but important, questions will help you develop a strong company brand. Your brand is the essence of the business – it’s your unique differentiator, your mission, your personality and more.

If you have any questions about the key branding and marketing steps to starting a business, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

Branding Your Startup

Branding your startup this year will be challenging but full of opportunities. Use these four proven strategies to brand your startup:

1) Tell stories

Tell a story about your brand; but most importantly, brand yourself as a storyteller. Make a bigger impact on your potential customers by telling stories that evoke emotion.

It’s becoming a new trend for marketers to brand themselves as storytellers instead of telling a story about their brand. Potential customers should remember your brand from your stories, not from telling them how you want to be seen.

2) Take a stand

Instead of focusing on the revenue, focus on causes. If you want to get the millennials’ attention, you need to be a cause-driven business. What we mean by cause-driven business is that you shouldn’t make the mistake of only doing cause-driven marketing. Millennials are becoming less trusting of those strategies.

3) Defy expectations

Steer away from competition by defying conventions within your industry. Depending on your industry and your audience, you will have to decide which conventions to break and determine the extent that you will defy them.

4) Focus on great design

It might not seem as a surprise, but prioritize making products and experiences remarkable for your customers.

To learn about specific examples where these strategies were successful, visit Entrepreneur’s recent article on branding.