Brand Early and Brand Often – 'Cause You'll Need to!
As the president of Praecere Public Relations, I’m honored to guest blog for Lendio! In financing businesses, Lendio helps entrepreneurs of all stripes realize dreams, as money is the lifeblood of new commerce.
But in a start-up’s progression, there’s another key element with a pivotal role before, during, and after getting that first check cut for your new store, restaurant, service, or next-big-thing – and that element is branding.
Branding is part art, part science, but always unique to any business, regardless of industry or terrain. Branding certainly isn’t easy, even for very savvy start-up business minds. There’s a right way and wrong way to go about the branding process, so to help your revolutionary venture avoid mistakes, here are four quick tips:
Do your homework
Branding is fundamentally a creative endeavor, so if your chops are in accounting, law, or engineering, then you should leave it to the experts. Of course, if you want excellent guidance, those branding experts (at least the honest ones) don’t come cheap. That’s why you should approach a branding firm with your own market research and self-analysis in hand, instead of relying on the firm to do all the heavy lifting for you. The extra benefit from your efforts will be the additional insights you gain about your start-up, and your passion, during this incubation period.
Shorten the name
When it comes to picking a brand name, keep it as short as possible. A common ideal standard is usually 8 to 10 characters, which allows securing an easy domain (if someone hasn’t claimed it or is squatting on it). No doubt you’ve got the elevator speech ready, but save the detailed discussion on business offerings for your website and let the short name get potential visitors there quickly.
Avoid business speak
If we told you there’s a professional services firm out there called “Capitol Executive Solutions Group,” would you have any idea what this firm does? What if it was called “Executive Solutions Capitol Group”? Sadly, many businesses take the easy route and just slap a generic name on their new venture. While this approach certainly saves time at first, it ultimately risks alienating future customers and clients as they will have a harder time distinguishing your business from the competition. Which brings us to the fourth point:
Your business is in competition, and chances are the competition’s branding stinks. Grabbing market share as a start-up is already hard enough, so focus on your competition’s weakness by giving your venture a strong, memorable brand at the start. The brand’s distinction will help people remember your business, and is one of the few areas where you can punch above your weight as the venture is on its training wheels.