Archive for November 24th, 2009

A focus on branding is a waste of money for start-ups

View of Wall Street, Manhattan.
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( From Lisa Nirell) A brand is your basic identity. It is based on proof, a track record of what you are great at.
You are wasting money on a branding exercise  in a start-up and in a declining business.
In a start-up a better use of funds is to spend time gathering and writing great client case studies.
You would be looking for patterns in client behavior, their emotional response, and how they talk about you. Your challenge is to get the story straight.
Your brand is phrased in the voice of the customer. (This  is separate and differs from marketing , which is how you attract customers.) In our experience many companies seem very divorced from their customers.
Why do you want to build a brand? The benefits of a strong brand ( again Lisa Nirell):

1. Shorter sales cycle. (Not spend a lot of time explaining who you are, what you do, and why you are the best choice)
2. Lower cost of client acquisition (see above)
3. You attract perfect clients
4. Your brand can carry a premium price.
5. Brand loyalty creates repeat business.
6. Referrals flow more easily.
In order to do this you need concrete proof.  Many start-ups struggle with getting proof  Curtis M. Faith (Inside the Mind of the Turtles) stresses that you must actively seek reality, and adjust accordingly. Reality exists with your customers.