How to effectively brand yourself at each phase of the tech start-up process

There are a lot of opinions about startups, as with anything else in life, about the right way to do things. Which comes first, the brand or the business? Do you create a brand first, then launch the business? Or do you create the business first, and then hire a branding agency?

This is a trick question- because the answer is yes. The brand and the business go together. And while you may need the support of a branding agency, you are also making hundreds of brand decisions on your own. Decisions like, what you’ll call your business. What type of people you’ll work with. How you’ll structure your services. Have a clear mission and vision, and strong core values, then decide how you will communicate that to your customers, as well as your employees. Determine a pricing structure and flesh out your business model and your positioning in the marketspace. 

All of that is branding. Who you are, and how you translate that to your leadership team, and to your business, is branding. Then that branding trickles right into your marketing and advertising and external communications. Here are a few ways to effectively brand yourself at each phase of your startup.

Before Launch

Before you launch your business, take some time to think about your business. Work with a brand agency that can use that to inspire a name for your company that reflects your brand story and positioning. Build your network and surround yourself with diverse but like-missioned people. A  name carries a lot of weight- this is a very important first step in the brand development process.

Work with a design team to establish a strong visual identity that will express your brand. You can communicate your brand through colors, fonts, and style. Once you’ve established a visual style and a logo, you can create a website. 

Start Where You Are

The best time to get started is now. Run with what you have and strive to define your brand, build a website, and create a marketing strategy as soon as you are able to. Once your business is launched, continue to network with as many people as possible. Share your website and utilize different marketing platforms. By having a consistent brand across all platforms, you can more quickly and effectively engage your audience. Take advantage of the new-biz excitement and generate a lot of buzz to let people know that you have a new way of doing business. 

Time to Grow

When you have been around a minute, and you’ve proven your work concept and ironed out some kinks, and it’s time to grow, do a brand audit. Look at what has and has not worked, and make some adjustments. Update your website, your marketing communications, and any other brand communications that may need a makeover. Look at all of your customer reviews and pull out some keywords. Whichever praises you have received repeatedly, pull those into your brand positioning. Are you the tech company with the best customer service? Are you the tech company with the best innovation? Are you the tech company with the best educational content? Whatever your thing is, use that to brand yourself as an official expert in your space, with the social proof to prove it. 

Time to Scale

Some marketing is about growth- but some is about scale. It’s important to not grow too quickly, or beyond the scope of what you want to create. Rather than  growing a company by adding more clients or customers, you can scale your company by going deep rather than wide.

For many, scaling seems like the scariest or most implausible stage of business. But staying in the baby stage can be like treading water- fine for a few minutes, maybe a few hours, but it is exhausting and you won’t have energy to enjoy the business you have worked so hard to create. Scaling your business allows you to make it past the breakers- to generate revenue with ease and stability so that you can enjoy both your business, and your life.

To scale, think about what other services or products can you offer your existing clientele to bring them more value. Refine your brand messaging as you gain deeper understanding of your customers so that you are only serving the clientele you want to be serving. This is the time to lean deep into your brand engagement and take your customer relationships to the next level.

Which stage are you at? We would love to help you audit your brand and brand yourself more effectively. Schedule a complimentary consultation call. {link}

Brand Brag:

One of our favorite tech brands is Netflix. When Netflix started, the CEO and creator was told that it would never work. This was a world of Blockbuster rentals. And streaming licensing was expensive and hard to come by. From conception, Netflix showed up with big bold letters, not unsimilar to Blockbuster, but in bright red. They introduced themselves by having both physical and digital options, so that customers could try something new (streaming) while they were waiting for what they were already comfortable with (physical dvds). Gradually they grew and rather than rely on licensing, Netflix began creating their own content. Good content. They invested in top quality actors to make themselves a contender in the growing world of streaming and licensing wars. When the pandemic hit, Netflix went big, and is in virtually every home. At each stage of growth, Netflix has maintained and evolved their brand with consistency and development. What are you streaming?

What does your website look like on the Metaverse?

What does your website look like on the Metaverse?

What a time to be creative! There are so many advances in technology, and the marriage of tech and social media and brand messaging is continuing to blur the boundaries between advertising and relationships. With so many options available at our fingertips, consumers have the luxury of being picky when it comes to giving their business to the brands. Why would a customer accept a basic website, when they could have an experience? For the past several years, websites have become the digital handshake of a company. They are the first impression, as well as the introduction to the relationship. With the metaverse, they are becoming further immersive and experiential. Perhaps in the future you can try on your favorite brand’s clothing line, see what you look like in them, and virtually shop right there in the metaverse. Or maybe you can spend a day at a theme park, interacting with different characters. Or check in on different companies with your financial advisor. As our physical world continues to fuse with advancements in the digital space, tech companies continue to create opportunities to enhance the customer experience. In a competitive market, it’s increasingly important to monitor and optimize your website so that you continue to build brand equity and maintain market share.. What does your website look like in the metaverse? Let’s find out together- and make sure it looks awesome.  Brand Brag: GitHub is possibly the largest, most established development platform in the world. Millions of people use this resource to build and manage their softwares. They continue to house tons of helpful resources, tools, and information. If you would like some helpful insights on the metaverse, check out this great page. {link:}
They Love Me, They Love Me Not

They Love Me, They Love Me Not

We all know a marketer’s worst fear; having their message be misunderstood. When this happens, there is a chance that your customers will forgive and forget. However, that is not always the case. Because of social media and the ability to voice any opinion at any time, marketing mishaps can shift the perception of your brand for the long haul. The goal is to avoid making marketing mistakes in the first place, but no one is perfect. Here are five steps that will help your brand recover if your marketing campaign doesn’t land well. (according to 

  1. Listen to what people have to say– in order to learn from your experience and ensure that nothing similar ever happens again in the future, you need to understand where you went wrong. It is important to listen to your consumers and value their opinion. Once you hear what they have to say, own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions. 
  2. Think like a customer- remember, your marketing campaign can flop even if it wasn’t offensive. Maybe it wasn’t unique. Maybe it didn’t highlight what made your brand different from the rest. Maybe it didn’t do anything wrong, but it didn’t do anything right either. Put yourself in your customers shoes and ask yourself if you would remember the marketing campaign that you just created. If not, go back to the drawing board and rework it so that your customers are engaged. 
  3. Analyze your numbers- you need to dig deep. Sometimes just looking at a metric does not tell the whole story. If something has a lot of views, it doesn’t mean that everyone watched it. They could have clicked on your video and then exited out because they found it boring. If you look at the data and you see that a lot of people clicked out of your video at the same part, go back in and make changes. Do people click away once they see numbers? Do they click away when the music cuts out? Pay attention to these minor details and it can make a major impact on your brand. It helps to have analytics installed on your website, to use a CRM platform to track different messages, and to compare analytics from different forms of communication.  
  4. Do one thing at a time- do not feel rushed to jump into many different avenues after (or before!) a marketing mishap. Like with anything in life, it is best to fully dedicate yourself to one thing then it is too spread yourself too thin and try to cover too many bases. When you do this, you are not fully dedicating yourself to one task, and are missing out on an opportunity to excel in something. So learn from your mistakes, and take your time to fix it. Focus. 
  5. Hire an Expert- Remember, marketing takes up an entire section of your business plan because without it you don’t have a business. Too many business owners waste time and energy trying to tackle marketing tasks that they don’t understand. When faced with any challenge it’s always better to meet with an expert, come up with a budget and use what you’re good at to earn the money you need to hire the right help.

Remember that every business has its failures and it is okay to make mistakes as long as you are willing to learn from them. 

Is Your Audience Trying to Tell You Something?

Is Your Audience Trying to Tell You Something?

There are so many ways to track metrics. But it’s not doing your business any good just to have them. Analytics and data are meant to be used as tools to identify who is engaging with your brand, and how they are engaging. Interpreting the data allows you to strategize and respond to your target audience more effectively. Here are a few tips to create space in your schedule to interpret your information.

There are so many ways to track metrics. But it’s not doing your business any good just to have them. Analytics and data are meant to be used as tools to identify who is engaging with your brand, and how they are engaging. Interpreting the data allows you to strategize and respond to your target audience more effectively. Here are a few tips to create space in your schedule to interpret your information.

Set aside time each quarter to review your data and discuss what’s working or not working. Any campaign needs about 90 days to pull good data, so quarterly meetings are a great time to review your data and look for patterns. Did you have certain social media posts where your audience engagement was up or emails that people opened more often? Maybe there were some that were met with crickets. Also, make sure you’re comparing the analytics with data across your other platforms. Did your sales go up or down, did you generate more or less leads. Maybe you identified more qualified leads that are more likely to generate revenue.

Make sure ALL lines of communication are clear, and open. It’s an understatement to say that there are a myriad of ways to communicate with your customers today. From different social channels and video platforms, multiple online storefronts, private messaging and live chat — not to mention the old school methods of snail mail and telephone. You want to make sure you’re not missing anything. Be clear with your customers about which methods of communication are best to reach you. You can include a statement in your email signature, find a spot on your website or include it in your about section on any of your social media platforms. Also, make sure all your corporate emails are being monitored or forwarding to a monitored email address. If you’re hosting emails on your server that you’re no longer using remove them. Also, if you have a live chat make sure someone qualified is able to respond in a timely manner. Adopting these best practices will help to ensure your customers can get in touch with you when they need to and help to avoid any unforeseen pitfalls in your customer experience.

Having a successful brand is all about building relationships with your customers. Do you need help aligning your messaging? Schedule a complimentary consultation call to speak with one of our strategists.