Building Up Your Brand’s Reputation and Relevance
Whether it’s a logo, jingle, or product, many well-known brands have built their reputation on the basis of a particular aspect of their company. For example, the Nike swoosh is instantly recognizable around the world, while the catchphrase “taste the rainbow” will be forever associated with Skittles.
But symbols and slogans are just a few of the ingredients that make up brand reputation. Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans who dreams of opening your own business, or your startup is still developing its sea legs, you should have a fundamental understanding of how a brand’s reputation can make or break a business.
Setting Yourself Apart From the Competition
Launching a business can be a daunting endeavor, especially if your competitors are household names, so making your brand recognizable from the start is imperative to your future success. Your company’s brand awareness strategy will be highly personal and based on a number of factors, including customer need, target audience, and market trends.
One startup that quickly evolved into a dominating force in its industry is OfferUp. Now reportedly worth over $1 billion, OfferUp launched in 2011 as an alternative to popular online selling platforms for secondhand items, such as eBay and Craigslist.
The company’s climb to industry dominance was fueled by innovative thinking, adaptation, and aggressive networking, according to CEO Nick Huzar. OfferUp’s journey was also marred by failures that led to learning opportunities, Huzar says, and you can expect the same for your startup.
In fact, transformation and perseverance in the face of perceived failure could become part of your brand identity. But while OfferUp overcame myriad challenges to become an industry leader, many other companies don’t fare so well in the face of challenges and controversy.
The Potential Brand Impact of Controversy
Brand recognition is one of the primary elements of any business plan. But even if your company is a household name, negative press can have a serious impact on your company’s bottom line.
For instance, the Papa John’s pizza chain recently came under fire following controversial statements from its founder, John Schnatter. He stepped down as board chairman in July 2018 after reportedly using a racial slur, but the damage was already done — the company’s stock is at a five-year low, Restaurant Business reports. Time will tell if Papa John’s will be able to bounce back. But the company has already launched a re-branding of sorts, removing Schnatter’s image from its marketing materials and pizza boxes.
Consistency is Key to Brand Identity
When it comes to shoes, Nike and Reebok are industry leaders. Clever marketing and quality products are two of the biggest aspects of their success, but so is consistency. Recently, the footwear giants rebranded their websites to line up with their logo designs, a smart move that has been lauded by industry experts and consumers alike.
Brand recognition best practices mirror the common traits of industry thought leaders. As you build up your brand reputation, your company should remain likeable and accessible. One of the best ways to achieve both is by telling a story — whether it’s your personal tale of persevering against naysayers or that of an industry leader you admire. A personal touch gives your brand an “in” when it comes to trust.
Relevancy and Brand Awareness
While it does require a large amount of research, building brand awareness doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. Social media channels play a major role in the marketing plan of many businesses today, in nearly every industry.
Increasing your social media presence helps maintain relevancy, and it gives you a viable channel for tracking both the needs of new customers and your revenue potential. Further, the way you present your company on social media essentially becomes your brand’s “personality,” giving it a humanizing element.
Whether you post lighthearted and fun memes on a daily basis, or use social media to share blog posts that demonstrate your company’s industry knowledge, you will boost brand awareness and relevancy with every post, like, and share.
As you develop your startup business plan and set both short- and long-term goals, ensure that your objectives are clearly laid out. Once operations have begun, there are a number of tools that can measure how effectively your company is at achieving those key business objectives.
By monitoring the traffic on your social media channels, you can identify weak spots in your business model and measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness campaign.
As we have seen, trust and consistency are the cornerstones of brand awareness. When you have a clear business plan in place along with a keen understanding of your brand’s overall reputation, startup success is likely within your grasp.