by Ken Babcock
Maybe you’re not sure if you should be thinking about brand so early in your company’s development—but in my experience, brand is a great place to begin your marketing efforts. Your brand lays the foundation not only for all the other marketing you will do, but for practically everything you do as a company. That’s why it’s important to establish a trusted brand that provides a great customer experience and resonates with your internal team. At Tango, we focus on solving the pain of documentation for our users. In our initial planning stages, we knew that for the solution Tango provides, having a powerful, memorable brand was going to be critical. We started by building our brand first, and now we use that brand as a foundation for all our marketing. In this article, you’ll learn the difference between brand and marketing, how the two can fit together to help you scale, and some best practices for rallying your internal team around your brand. Your brand is your bedrockIn product-led companies, your brand is the bedrock of your marketing efforts. Your brand is who you are as a company. It’s a narrative of what you offer, why you do what you do, and your values. Part of your brand is your logo, fonts, and color palette, of course—but it goes beyond aesthetics. Your brand gives meaning to your customers’ experiences with you, so when it comes to your brand, what they feel is just as important as what they see. Consistency matters in your customer experience, too, and a well-established brand can help drive that consistency. Marketing, on the other hand, is about building awareness. In marketing, your goals are: reaching your target audience, converting them to customers, and scaling your company. All of those things are easier when you have a strong brand. Brand and marketing are two puzzle pieces that fit together to propel your company to success. Very early on, we prioritized our brand at Tango. After setting our brand and messaging guidelines, our voice, and our tone, we used our brand as the foundation for all our marketing, and for every role we wanted to hire for our team. Educating your team on the importance of brandOnce you’ve established your brand, think strategically about how you can rally your internal team around it. Your brand should shape the way every team member thinks about your customers and your products. Your team members might have preconceptions about what brand is, so you’ll likely need to do some internal education about your brand and why it matters for their specific responsibilities. Here are some critical questions to bring into this discussion: ● What exactly IS brand for you as a company? ● How does brand play into how your users feel about the product? ● What are your customer personas, and what does the user experience look and feel like for them? Most importantly, ensure that your team members are clear about why you are prioritizing brand, what your brand stands for, and how it influences your decision making. Why your customer’s view of your brand mattersYour brand will play a role in how your customers feel about your product—but this is less about the aesthetics, and more about the journey your brand takes the user on. Looking at your brand from a customer-centric viewpoint will help your internal teams understand the importance of branding and where it fits into the bigger picture. For example, our engineering and product design teams at Tango are well-versed in the importance of our brand. When they look at the customer journey, they are aware of how important it is to get each touchpoint right so it fits with our brand and provides a positive user experience. For your startup, think about ways to provide great experiences during the entire buying journey—from the moment someone lands on your site to the welcome they receive when they complete their purchase. If someone comes to your website, that’s an opportunity for you to capture a user—but if they aren’t seeing what they need, or your problem messaging doesn’t tie to the solution, people might bounce away and not sign up. Building your brand to connect with customersA powerful, memorable brand helps your company build relationships with prospects and customers, giving you a competitive edge. It also gives your team something to rally around, a common direction to pull in, and a touchstone for better decision making. If you’re a product-led company, you might want to think about brand sooner rather than later. Here are the big takeaways to talk through with your founding team: Prioritize your brand as the foundation of all your marketing Educate your internal team about brand and make sure they understand why it’s important Understand how your customers see your brand during every touchpoint of their user journey
How your startup's brand sets the stage for marketing
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