Tag Archives: business

Why Branding is Important for Start-Ups

Why Branding is Important for Start-Ups

Kris Kelley writes this week on the importance of branding for start-ups. Read on…

Branding is the process of creating a symbol, a name, a website or a design that identifies a company in consumers’ minds. It creates an impression and evokes an emotional response.  Every company needs to develop a brand.  This is particularly true for start-ups.

Getting a new company off the ground takes an incredible amount of energy, determination, money and time.  The urge is to start generating revenue as soon as possible, so the idea of creating a brand often gets pushed down the to-do list. It shouldn’t.  Here is why branding is important for start-ups:

Branding Builds Credibility and Trust

Getting customers to trust a new company is not easy, particularly if the competition is well established.  Strong branding in the form of a professional, sleek website and a powerful logo give a start-up a better chance of success when going head to head with a reputable competitor.  The more polished a start-up appears, the more credibility it has.

Branding Improves Recognition

A well branded business is easy to remember.  This recognition often starts with a company’s logo.  Think of the Nike swoosh, the Facebook “f” or the Disney magic castle.  Consumers immediately recognize these symbols and connect them with their company.  Strong logo or other design branding helps start-ups break through the noise and clutter from day one.

Branding Brings in New Customers

If a start-up has no branding or dull, boring branding, then how will customers remember where they bought their new jacket or got their hair cut?  If they can not remember the name of the merchant, how can they refer their family or friends?  How can they talk about their experience in a Facebook post?  Start-ups need all the customers that they can get.  Strong branding ensures that current customers will refer future customers.

Branding is key to any company’s success. If you are ready to take your business to the next level, then contact us. We are here to help you reach your goals.

2 Things That Can Make Your Company Stand Out

This week, Elise Walker has a couple of things that will help your company stand out. Read on …

No matter what services or products your business provides, there are likely other companies with similar products or services that can detract from your business. But regardless of how similar other businesses may seem to yours on the surface, there are ways you can differentiate your company and services from theirs.

This is important so that you can draw in potential customers and give them reasons to pay attention to your company specifically. Here are a couple of things that can make your business stand out among the competition.

1.) Equate quality with your prices.

Do you charge a lower price with the same quality as more expensive products on the market? Or do you have a price that’s worth paying for, because your services or products are superior in some way? These are points you can use to win over customers. Whether your price is higher, lower, or somewhere in the average range of the competition, help your customers see they are getting real value for that price.

2.) Show you care about your customers.

Using surveys, a suggestion box, or asking customers if they are satisfied will all be in vain if you don’t act on their thoughts and complaints. Really, it would just be extra work for you and frustrating for them. If you hear about multiple customers having the same complaint about your service, or a product or its packaging, be willing to make improvements, if possible. It may cost a little more up front, but in the long run it will be worth it, as you will gain some loyal customers.

Quality customer service in itself is very important. Responding to questions and concerns in a timely manner can make an impression. Also having enough employees on hand to manage these issues promptly is important. Kindly training staff to be courteous and professional when dealing with customers is essential. People want to be taken seriously and get solutions when they need them, especially when it involves their money. If it’s not possible to help someone with what they want, being sincere and apologizing for any inconvenience, then offering to do whatever else you can, will go a long way with a person.

Differentiating your company with quality products or services for the price you charge, and showing your customers you care about them- and not just their money- can go a long way with gaining customer appreciation and loyalty. Here at The MAD House, we think it’s important for people to know your business is unique. Please contact us for more information on how we can help build your brand to keep your company growing.

Start Up Branding and Marketing

Start Up Branding & Marketing

Michelle Cardenas writes this week about branding and marketing for start-ups. Read on…

You are ready to launch your new business. An incredible amount of time and effort has most likely gone into creating a business plan, securing funding, preparing a location and hiring staff. Did you think to include a branding and advertising strategy as part of the company’s start-up budget? If not you probably need to break out the calculator and re-budget if you really want to succeed. 

Remember, you want to inform the public that a great event is about to take place. A clever strategy will generate interest. The public will be waiting expectantly for your doors to open. By the time you open for business, there is a curious public with the potential for becoming loyal customers ready and waiting.

How Much

That is probably the most frequently asked question about advertising. Every business knows they need to invest in branding, marketing and advertising. However, the price tag for investment usually leaves business owners scratching their heads. There are different methods to derive at a number. However, with a new business, some of the factors to plug in to formulas are lacking. For a start-up, it may serve a business well to trust the advice of experts at Iowa State University. They suggest committing about 20-30% of your annual budget to advertising and marketing for the first two years. 

Branding Effectively

To brand effectively, use a strategy that contains these three key elements:

  • Storytelling that uses language delivery in the manner a human brain prefers for processing.
  • Philanthropic purpose is indicated as strongly desired by consumers in the latest data. Take a stand for a good cause.
  • Separate from the pack. This means defining what sets your business apart from the competition. It establishes why a consumer should prefer to do business with you above all others.

The Value Of Experts

Effective marketing and advertising is critical to success for a start-up. Don’t under-estimate the value of investing this mission to experts. Please contact us and let us expand your own good ideas into even greater ones.

How Branding and Advertising Form Your First Relationships

David Gusaas talks about how branding and advertising  form your first relationships.

“Friendship is so weird, you just pick a human you’ve met and you’re like ‘yep I like this one’ and then you just do stuff with them” – Step Brothers

Though they of course have their differences, businesses as a whole are not that different from people that we form certain types of relationships with. If we’re lucky enough, they are just as weird as we are, and we come together like a Catalina Wine Mixer. Though, maybe not like the one in the movie..

In starting a business, everyone wants to get to that sweet spot where instead of going out and knocking on doors, people are coming and knocking on yours. The easiest way to do this is through branding and advertising.

Not just understanding this, but taking action on this, requires a strategy that includes branding and advertising as part of your start-up company’s budget, with someone who understands the dynamics of how this works most effectively, while retaining and conveying your company’s unique quirks and personality.

“There are millions of people walking around, there are millions of businesses to choose from – however both of them must earn the right to have a relationship with you.”

This quote from former Ogilvy & Mathers CEO Charlotte Beers, emphasizes this idea that businesses function on a relationship basis, and in a way similar to how our relationships with people in our day-to-day life may become friendships.

Strategies like cold calling and other traditional transactional outreach are at times necessary and even effective to a degree. But without a cohesive human element, and a personality so to speak to attach to the company, a brand to form a relationship with, the transaction remains just that, and is easily replaceable by a newer or cheaper competitor.

The relationship formed by connecting in a human way with a brand that speaks to something in someone else’s own personality, whether it be a certain sense of humor, world view, or other similar sensibilities, leads to identifying with this brand and developing a loyalty to them.

Within this equation, advertising plays a dual role. First, it introduces the brand to people who would otherwise be unaware of it, and it reminds them of the brand afterwards. Additionally, through the type, style, and way you advertise, you further the brand narrative, and connect with potential customers and clients who you will then form a relationship with.

This touches only briefly on how branding and advertising are a vital investment and a necessary part of your company’s successful future, and there is much more to it, so please contact us today to continue the conversation!

Warren Buffet on Economic Moats and Brand Differentiation

How is your company/brand/product truly different from the competition?

Matthew Cochrane talks about Buffet, brands and moats? Read on:

How is your brand truly different from the competition?

In today’s world, it is hard to distinguish your company’s products and services from a crowded field of rivals. To truly differentiate your company from the competition you will need at least one economic moat. An economic moat is something your company can do better than anybody else. It is a competitive advantage that will keep competitors at bay.

The concept of an economic moat is not new. Warren Buffett, one of the greatest investors who ever lived, says a company’s moat is one of the first characteristics he looks for when considering a business as a potential investment.

In medieval times, land disputes between warring factions were fairly common. To protect themselves from invading armies, villages and castles would build a moat around the castle or town that needed protecting. A moat is a wide, deep ditch often filled with water. This was one of the most of effective defensive measures towns could employ against advancing enemy forces.

In the same way, Buffett explains, companies can build economic moats around their business to protect themselves from the competition. Buffett says, “In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” These moats can represent a number of advantages. One of the most devastatingly effective moats that Buffett likes to see in a potential investment is brand power.

Looking for companies with real brand power has been one of Buffett’s secrets to his investing success. Consider Coca-Cola, a company Buffett first invested in decades ago. Warren Buffett has said, “Give me $10 billion dollars and how much can I hurt Coca-Cola around the world? I can’t do it.” Why? Because Coca-Cola makes better sugary, carbonated beverages than anyone else? Not really. It’s because they have successfully built up one of the most recognized brands the world has ever seen.

Building brand power is not easy.

For starters, it takes time and a consistently great product or service to build up a high level of trust with customers. Customers want to know exactly what they’re going to get every single time they make a purchase. One disappointing experience with a product can erase years of good will.

It also takes a special type of marketing savvy to know how to sell your product or service in a way that will have customers associate your brand with high quality, good value, and integrity.

Please contact us for assistance in how to make your company’s brand a “unbreachable moat”.

How to Articulate and Deliver A Simple Brand Promise

Annie G. writes this week on articulating and delivering a simple brand promise. Read on!

When organizations develop brand promises, they are usually full of good intentions and commitment. But over time, these promises tend to become diluted or vary from the original idea. And even worse, they change in a way that no longer reflects the organization’s values or culture.

That’s dangerous territory for any organization to be in — after all, your brand promise is what makes your product or service desirable in the first place. So what can you do to continue articulating and delivering a simple brand promise as your company grows?

The answer lies in effective brand stewardship of a simple brand promise.

Keep It Simple

If your brand promise is complex, it will eventually morph into something more manageable, or be forgotten altogether. An effective brand promise is a simple one — something that can easily be explained to new hires and effortlessly remembered. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot explain it in one sentence, you have a problem.

Effective Brand Stewardship

Who is responsible for your brand? Who ensures that it is being followed throughout the organization? If the answer is “no one” then go find someone who can commit to protecting your brand and its future. This is especially important for companies experiencing rapid growth. By its very nature, growth makes it difficult to control your brand — yet that is when strong brand stewardship is more important than ever.

And while it may be most effective to have a team of individuals held accountable as brand stewards, the truth is that keeping your brand promise true is the responsibility of the entire organization.

How do you do that?

  • Have clear, direct branding guidelines readily available for all employees
  • Hold brand trainings and include these as part of orientation for all new hires
  • Lead by example and include your brand promise in company meetings when possible
  • Again, keep it simple! If your message and “why” isn’t clear, it won’t be memorable or impactful.

As you can imagine, crafting a simple brand promise and sticking to it is much harder than you might think. Luckily, there’s help available to make it much easier to build a strong, unique brand for your business: The MAD House. Contact us to learn how your business can have a powerful, influential and valuable brand that supports true growth.

Opening a Business? Start with Branding and End with Success

This week, MAD Contributor-Freak Sandy Gates thinks properly branding a new business leads to success.

Finally, you have made the life changing decision–going into business for yourself. Yikes! That is one scary, exciting decision, but working for someone else is just so unsatisfying. So, what’s next?

Well then, where to go from here?

You have done your homework, research, and have the needed funds. Let’s say you have decided to use your talents to open a craft beer brew pub. BANG. There is the brand. A brew pub. Not just a dive bar, no ambience joint, but a real, high quality, fun, neighborhood, crowd drawing brew pub. From all the reading and meetings, you’ve learned that success is achieved through hard-hitting branding.

You grab a pen and pad beginning the all important list to get your brand created, being sure you will stand out in the crowd, and get those doors open:

A name for the pub

Catchy and fun, but sophisticated enough to attract the   customers who will do anything for a great tasting brew.

Business cards

Visually appealing and easy to read, nice logo, using high quality card stock.

Website

This is key toward success of the business. It must look absolutely professional including the needed tabs and pages with email and social media connected to it. That way, your customer list will grow like a mature hops vine.

Advertising

What avenue should you take? Budget? Who to target with which media?

Sure, you could do all of this yourself. Or, perhaps, you could call in that favor from your brother-in-law who took that art class that time. But, after some serious thought about the business that will be your livelihood, you realize you may need a reputable professional to create and get this brand out. The MAD House specializes in the entire marketing package–the creative process,  branding, graphic design and advertising. The MAD House has the experience to create the brand and design for the cans, bottle labels, tap handles, and even the swag! Today, the brew pub may just be a dream, but in the near future it will be a successful small business! Contact us to begin the branding and advertising process today.