With the number of startups increasing each year, many new business owners are wondering how they can make their product or service stand out in a growing sea of competition.

How do successful businesses get their products into the hands of consumers year in year out? And what are they doing with their branding that other businesses aren’t?

In the 2013-2014 financial year, Australia clocked over 280,000 new startups[1] and this year’s are expected to exceed that figure. What that means for new businesses is that they need to work hard to distinguish themselves from competitors in order to gain a market share. But how?

There are many marketing strategies that can be employed to do this, but the startups that turn into success stories are built on a strong and viable brand identity.

Building Your Brand Identity

A well-established brand identity triggers in consumers the right thoughts, feelings, ideas and emotions to cause them to view your products or services in a positive way and ultimately buy them. The stronger an identity is, the more engaged and loyal customers will become. Once loyalty to your brand is established you can count on sustainable business growth.

But going back a step, before developing a brand you must first ensure that it is viable and available. There’s no point investing precious resources into marketing a brand which may infringe the registered trademarks of another business or may be accused of passing off that business’s reputation.

Therefore, before building a brand, startups must get solid advice on the viability of their marks, logos and product identity to ensure they are distinctive enough to claim and protect as their own – from a legal perspective.

Growing your budding brand online

The web is a powerful medium that can be utilised by businesses to gain brand exposure. Studies show that 94 per cent of consumers conduct some form of online research before purchasing, and 52 per cent of that research is on product review sites.

Therefore, ensuring your business has a solid online presence is a must.

Start with an attractive, easy to navigate website, with a customised domain name and email address. Customers make immediate assumptions as to the legitimacy and professionalism of your business based on your online appearance, so don’t cut corners. Provide as much information as possible about your products or services and make it easy for customers to contact you.

The next step is getting people to your site. Boost your website ranking in search results by using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques or pay-per-click advertising. Try networking through social media pages such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram that plug your product or service and link back to your website.  Blogs and client newsletter mail outs can also establish you as an authority on your products or area of expertise and direct potential customers back to your website.  The main idea is to get as much positive exposure for your brand as possible which will ultimately snowball into a strong reputation.

Live up to your Brand

A word of caution though: Online product reviews can be a two edged sword if you don’t live up to what your brand promises. Consumers are reportedly 50 per cent more likely to share a negative experience on social networks or product review sites than a positive experience.[2]

It is of upmost important for business owners to ensure that they back up their brand with good products and services and customer relations to ensure that their brand isn’t damaged by a bad reputation.

Putting the time into establishing a viable brand identity requires homework, hard work and consistent effort. Make sure you are one of the startups that bothers to build a strong foundation and be assured your business thrive for years to come.

Please contact us for further information on how we can assist you with your brand identity and brand protection.