Why Branding Matters: Building Trust and Differentiating Your Startup in the Market
By Guest Post, published: 2023-07-03
Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik
When it comes to building a business from the ground up, the hardest part is always the beginning. It’s challenging to break through the crowd and set your brand apart as a main character in the landscape of your chosen industry. But with the right strategy, it is possible.
A successful brand needs to be many things—authentic, relevant, transparent, and accessible.
But perhaps one of the most important and often overlooked qualities of a healthy brand is trustworthiness. Today’s consumers are much more cynical and marketing-savvy than their predecessors, which means winning their trust and approval is the ultimate prize.
But how does a brand build lasting trust? And what can you do to differentiate your startup from the saturated world of small businesses? Keep reading to find out.
Why building trust and uniqueness is important for startup brands
Your startup’s brand is its identity. It’s your business’ friendliest, prettiest face. It’s there to engage with the public and represent all your best and most marketable qualities.
With the right brand strategy, you can successfully attract your target audience, gain social leverage, and curate the identity of your business in favour of longevity and profitability. But in order to do that, your startup needs two things: trust and individuality.
Unlike established businesses, startups don’t have the luxury of historical familiarity. Before you can convince your audience that your products or services are worth investing in, they’re going to have to see you as a safe, trustworthy, and likable entity.
In addition to this, there needs to be a clear difference between you and the other brands in your industry. Consumers need to recognise your brand as an independent one that offers unique experiences or products that rise above those of your competitors.
But in these two senses, being “unknown” can actually be an advantage because you have the opportunity to go in any direction you like.
Let’s look at some ways to cultivate sustainable brand trust and present your business in a way that shows you offer something truly special.
Set and measure brand-trust goals
Setting goals is one of the most effective ways to progress in any ambition. And startups are no exception. Before you can move forward, it’s important for your brand to recognise where it currently is and where it wants to be in future.
How will you measure your brand’s level of trust with the public? Through customer reviews? Number of new clients per month? Profits? It depends on your target.
Create a strategy for cultivating trust and choose a few benchmarks for measuring its success. For instance, if you are working on becoming more active and engaging on social media, you can use a metric like follower count, mentions, or tags to gauge effectiveness.
Tell your story
You can inspire trust and loyalty in your target audience by showing them who you really are. Storytelling is a great way to share a piece of vulnerability with your audience.
There are multiple ways to incorporate storytelling into your startup brand strategy. You can tell the story of how your business came into being, you can tell the story of your founder’s vision, or you can tell a story about your product or services that makes customers want to buy it.
Storytelling plays a major role in brand trust, especially in the context of a startup brand. Think of your story as your introduction to the world. It’s your welcoming speech that shows people who you are and why they should engage with you over competitors.
Understand and leverage your UVP
UVP stands for Unique Value Proposition. Knowing exactly what it is that you offer and why it makes your brand special is key to cultivating brand trust and beating the competition.
What does your brand have that no one else does? What unique value does your startup brand brings to the table? Knowing what your “secret sauce” is will give you the necessary competitive edge and make you more appealing to your range of targeted consumers.
Nurture a high response rate
Customer relationships are crucial no matter how established your business is, but in the early phases of being a startup, it becomes even more crucial.
Responding to as many questions, comments, messages, or concerns as possible will not only boost your online visibility but will also encourage customers to see you as a trustworthy and authentic brand in general.
Delegate someone to manage brand identity
Even though startups tend to have tight budgets, assigning someone to specifically manage the identity and perception aspects of your brand can be highly beneficial. Running a profitable, functional business is hard enough, but doing all that while trying to curate a perfectly authentic and trustworthy identity is much harder.
Delegating someone to handle the relationship-building side of your startup will alleviate social pressure and allow the rest of the team to focus on the more technical side of the business.
Use a CLM platform
CLM stands for Contract Lifecycle Management. A CLM platform helps your business streamline contract processes and protect those on both sides of every agreement you sign.
Such agreements can include vendor contracts, sales agreements, customer contracts, intellectual property agreements, or employment contracts, to name a few. By using a CLM platform, you can build up a reputation as a trustworthy business.
Understand your target audience
Not everyone measures trustworthiness in the same way. Different consumers value different things, so knowing what your target audience wants is critical for developing a brand strategy that actually gains momentum.
Perform thorough, continuous research on the consumers who fall into your target audience demographic, and adapt it as time goes on. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to meet your customer’s needs and curate your identity in a positive, sustainable way.
Invest in your brand
When you invest in stocks, you have a long-term plan for growth and return on investment. You need to do the same with your branding. Customers love consistency, so even if you’re new, you need to ensure that you can retain your branding, values, and business ethos for the foreseeable future.
If customers can see that you’re investing in what you have to offer and that your brand is built to last, they’ll trust you more. You can show this in numerous ways, from offering long-term discounts to teasing new products or developments that are coming soon. This promotes a feeling of longevity that shows your brand is built to stand the test of time.
Building a startup brand isn’t an easy or fast process. But with the right strategy and team on your side, it can be a highly rewarding one.
By working on the trust and individuality components of your startup brand identity, you can speed up the integration period for your business and find sustainable growth in no time.