It is a common expectation and many people believe that they will become rich in a relatively short period of time after they start their business. That could not be further from the truth. Having a flow of stable revenue requires a lot of planning and careful execution.
One simple tip that could be considered common sense is the differentiation of your offering – product or service provided by your startup. Successful branding requires focusing on building enough features into your product/service so that it will look substantially different from your competitors.
Although this may sound like a pretty straightforward statement, in reality, it is extremely hard to be achieved.
Nowadays most companies have offers that look very similar and even some technical advantages are quickly copied by the competitors on the market. This renders such type of differentiation inefficient in the long term. So what can a startup do to make itself stand out from the crowd? Here are our suggestions:
Write Down Your Values
Your values are your organization’s way to tell its stakeholders what matters the most to it. Although many young companies tend to share a similar desire to make the world a better place, they usually do it in a different way.
In order to build your definition for values, you should work with your management and employees to identify values that best describe your activities. Those could be values like education, innovation, inspiration, stability, or creativity, all of which depend on the very nature of your business. One thing is for sure – they have to be easily translated into your business model.
Focus On A Single Front
The extremely limited resources of a startup makes it hard for a company to do well on multiple frontiers.
Many young companies try to solve too many problems at once and this often results in spreading thin. As a result, its resources dry out before achieving any profit. How to avoid that? Just try to think about what is the single most important thing for the customer? What does really matters to your users? The answer is pretty simple: Focus on one area and be as specific as possible.
Check out our article “Whole Product Concept As MVP” for a new fresh approach about building your MVP to be more relevant to your customers.
Challenge The Status Quo
This may also sound like common sense, but most companies will avoid it, in order not to look that controversial.
Some brands take their reputation too seriously and that eventually hurts their branding efforts (in the long term). Why is that? More often than not stirring a controversy looks like a bad idea for a serious company to do. However, there are brands that understand that a carefully crafted controversy can do magic for its awareness.
Showcase Your Uniqueness
The fact that something worked for a certain successful organization, does not mean that it will do for you.
You actually have to find your personal flavor and stick to it. In essence, all business-related branding needs to be focused on the individuality of the company and its competitive advantages. The tricky part here is that it is easier said than done (because of the time and the efforts required). It may be a hard and long process, but it is well worthwhile.
Define Your Unique Selling Point (USP) And Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
This is related to the point above and it is a tactic aimed to monetize your company’s uniqueness. Defining and using those two should be the first step in the process of finding your own place between the market players. But how does this happen? How do you define the USP and UVP?
Most USP and UVP are created around such factors as price, quality, or some additional service and the general benefits that your services or products can provide to your target customers.
Provide A Top-Notch Customer Service
Again something that may sound like simple common sense, but often overlooked by businesses and public institutions alike. This simple solution (which sometimes is not simple at all) is of extreme importance when it comes to differentiating to understand that your products and services are only half of your value. The other part of the equation is the high-end customer service and continuous support. When your clients are happy with your amazing service, they will stay loyal to the company.
We couldn’t stress enough how important it is to review the “whole product concept” as a sure approach to differentiate as a startup from the competition.
Tell Your Story And Connect With The Audience
Be honest with the people and tell them how it all began. What inspired you to start the venture and how it grew. The difficulties that you went through and how you and your team overcame them. If your ideals and aspirations are truly altruistic, then you will have no problem convincing your target market to follow you.
The company’s advertising and branding strategy will have to continue this narrative and your staff has to learn to live and ‘breathe’ by it. As a startup, your product (or service) should not be your focus. This should rather be your message. Once you find your target market and tell your story, you will be able to win your audience (if you are honest enough).
Startup Differentiation – An Infinite Process
Even if you manage to implement all of the points mentioned in this article, you need to understand that you couldn’t be done, because it is a continuous process.
Like all things related to branding and marketing, you will have to rinse and repeat from time to time or even change (pivot from) some of the established differentiation points. You might need to add new values, remove old ones, reform your USPs or even change your focus (perhaps by widening it). There is room for flexibility as long as it is necessary for the long-term survival of the company.