A guide for start-ups: Brand establishment, Customer acquisition, Scaling

The year 2020 seems like something akin to a bad omen. The year of never-ending lockdowns, of fear and uncertainty, of being away from loved ones, of no social life and the pandemic looming on our heads- larger than ever. However, the year 2020 also saw the highest number of unicorn start-ups in India- 11. While the Indian economy may have been losing its momentum of growth in 2020, numerous start-ups were able to not only weather the storm but also sail through it.

As compared to this, there were an astounding 10 unicorn start-ups within the first 4 months of 2021, indicating a rather bright future for start-ups. We are all aware that successful start-ups are created with an entrepreneurial spirit, research, a vision, finding the need for a product/ service and fulfilling this need, funding, passion, mentors… the list goes on. But you’re essentially shooting in the dark if you are not able to position your brand uniquely and acquire customers easily.

With an overcrowded marketplace that is perpetually growing, it’s useful to understand the nuances behind brand development and convince people to buy your product or service. Here are some pointers to guide you in building and sustaining strong brands!

Brand establishment;

Branding is easily one of the most important activities when it comes to the development and growth of a start-up. In a highly digital world where there is no dearth of competition, brand recognition stimulates customer and brand loyalty- both of which are extremely invaluable assets.

Since start-ups have to face competition from more established firms with bigger teams and experience, creating brand recognition to stand out from the crowd is imperative.
The brand-building should focus on what value your product/ service offers to the market and marketing helps to communicate this information. Brand marketing is the precursor to strategy. A strong and enduring strategy will highlight the following:

  • Your brand’s purpose: why it exists
  • Your brand’s identity: who the brand is
  • Brand promise: what it brings to the customers
  • Brand experience: the experience that your customers have when they interact with or experience the brand.

The logo of the company, the typography, colours used, and the general aesthetic are useful for creating emotional and visual guidelines for campaigns, social media and writing copy. However, creating an authentic brand persona with a consistent tone and voice will help actively engage customers.

Customer Acquisition;

Consumers form an integral part in the establishment of start-up organisations. To add to one’s customer base, it is essential to bring in new customers who are interested in purchasing the product. However, many businesses suffer due to a lack of clarity when it comes to customer acquisition strategy. This leaves a void that can only be fulfilled with the creation of a clear strategy.

One such strategic model is the customer acquisition funnel. A customer acquisition funnel is a representative tool that helps streamline consumers’ engagement with the brand. Brand awareness forms the mouth of the marketing funnel – a funnel that then trickles down to the ultimate purchase decision. The main goal of a strong customer acquisition tunnel is to prevent attrition as prospective customers move through the various stages that comprise the funnel model. The model acts as a simplistic representation of the process of customer acquisition; however, the actual process is more complicated than that. It often involves cross-channel marketing strategies that include social media, search, content and email marketing.

Scaling up;

As a start-up, scaling up is a part of your journey. Scalability is defined by the ability of your business to grow. Your core products, customers and marketing channels will guide how you scale up and take your business to the next level.

Having an established brand and low customer acquisition costs help with scaling up. It is crucial to find out your core users and the marketing channels with the maximum ROI that have scaling potential. You can do this by conducting testing with smaller budgets to start. By focusing on content marketing which has a highly scalable growth you can create content that pertains to your brand and services your niche of customers. Additionally and most importantly you should ensure that you have the resources to scale.

Brand value plays a significant role in sales. You can consistently build your brand’s reputation and trust with these practices. Ultimately, the goal is to create robust brand recognition in the minds of your customers and create a unique identity for your business!

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