Small business

Why Startups Often Get Branding Wrong (and How to Improve It)?

It takes a lot of time, money and energy to launch a startup. A feeling of excitement, anticipation and anxiousness surrounds you when ‘going live’. And then comes the hard part, branding of your ‘new-born' startup. Here, it's important to understand what branding is? The answer is simple! Branding is nothing but the connection between you and your customers. It requires you to understand what people want and expect from your business so that right branding bears you that sweet fruit of success. However, not all startups are able to achieve their branding goals and a fair share of them succumb to pressure and end up winding up their business soon from the market.

It's important that you give ample amount of time when branding your new business. Its takes days, months and sometimes years to turn a startup business into a successful brand. Just don’t go about creating a custom logo design, a website, business cards, social media and other such tools on assumptions that your customers will like it and will remember your business name. In an article published at Forbes, writer Martin Zwilling explains that customers only remember their experiences with a brand and nothing else, neither your brochures nor your logo. Evaluating your brand experience is of utmost importance as there is no one better than a customer who can tell you about the value of your brand in today's ever-so-competitive market.

Where Do Startups Go Wrong?

  • They Ignore Connections - Most startups don’t pay much attention to research about their target audiences and potential customers in advance. They simply launch their brand without having proper data, stats and insight about the market and customers. However, they forget that generating brand awareness without knowing and understanding their potential customers well can lead to an adverse effect on your branding efforts. The assumption that customers will love your company and your products is entirely wrong since customers have innumerable other options to replace your brand in the market. According to, 89% consumers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Instead of working on your assumptions, you must do a market research and ensure best services to persuade your customers to do business with your brand. Remember, your brand must be defined based on your ability to fulfill your customers’ demands.

  • They Ignore Brand Experience - Another mistake that many startups make in brand building is that they focus on brand awareness even before paying attention to the brand experience. Brand experience includes a user’s experience when engaging with your products, be it the content on your website, the conversations on your blog, your behavior and offerings at an event or anything else. This wrong approach results in the customers not caring about what you sell. An article in Guardian cites that while 34% retailers think that brand reputation is the most important factor when choosing a retailer, 85% consumers believe that it was not, and that they place a higher value on a more personalized experience, particularly online.

How to Fix the Problem?

In this case, the solution lies in the problem itself.

  • Focus on Market Research - To build your brand, you must first focus on knowing more about your niche market and customers. There is no point in launching your brand without getting an in-depth understanding of what your customers really want from your products or services and how they will benefit. It's important to learn lessons from companies that have made such mistakes in the past. For example, PepsiCo decided to change its popular product, Tropicana's logo. The company faced a powerful consumer backlash for redesigning the popular food & drink logo. So, whenever you're ready to design or design your brand or branding tools, it makes sense to do a research of what your consumers want.

When researching your buyer personas, find out their economic background, demographics, preferences, age groups and so on. You could survey them on social media, over the phone, email or even meet them personally. Remember, research will help you position your brand in a better way in the fiercely competitive market. For instance, Frito Lay's used social media to choose its latest chips flavor. The company asked its Facebook fans to weigh in by having them to click "I'd Eat That" button next to their suggestion of new flavors. The results? Consumer tastes varied by location: they found that a beer-battered onion-ring flavor was extremely popular in California and Ohio, while a churro flavor was a major hit in New York.

  • Know Brand Experience of Customers - Before launching your startup brand, it is essential that you let your existing customers share their experience of using your products or services. Brand experience can be anything from logging in to your website, the appearance of your company's logo design, your marketing strategy to how long the wait is when they call up your customer service department.

To know what they think of your offerings, ask relevant questions such as how they will feel if they do not use your products any more or how they would describe your product. You should ask questions that reveal their happiness or dislike about your products and that how you can improve the products to meet customers' needs.

Overall, prepare your company well by researching your target market and audience and let your existing customers share their experiences of using your products or services. Then, make necessary amends in your brand before finally launching it in the market.

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