How to Brand Startups
By Matt Steffen | Daily Marketing Advice
Most businesses fail within their first to third year of business because they have no idea what they're doing!
For example, entering the market as another "me-too" business is the worst possible mistake you can make. After all, you already have embedded competition that your market knows, and is probably perfectly happy contacting.
One might say, "well, I don't need a lot of customers, just 5% of the market."
If this statement even crosses your mind, you have admitted to me and yourself that 95% of people will want nothing to do with you.
If that's the case, then don't count on the remaining 5% either...
Instead, create an entirely new category of of a unique benefit that you can sell.
Now, I'm not talking about changing your skill-set or asking you to buy more tools or software .
Instead, I'm telling you that you need a different, and unique way of doing business or else your business is doomed from the start, especially in this generation or promotional noise.
How to Create, and Dominate a New Category
Your market typically associates a memorable thing with one or two words.
Game of Thrones: Violent show
Charlie Sheen: HIV
George Washington: First President
John Candy: Fat Comedian
While people might be able to expand on these terms, the bottom line is if your company doesn't get people associating it with a distinct phrase, you can forget about starting your new business right now.
So, let's take a look at some new categories I have noticed companies creating to capture a unique benefit the market wants:
- Charles Schwab: DISCOUNT Brokerage Firm
- Mercedes Benz: EXPENSIVE Luxury Car
- Southwest Airlines: CHEAP Air Travel
- FedEx: OVERNIGHT Delivery
What you'll notice is these companies cleverly found a unique way (at the time of their founding) to deliver products/services in a way no one has done it before.
Do you have this edge?
For example, I know of Family Law Firms that only represent one sex. This is a very attractive feature as typically men want a woman to represent them because they are expected to understand the motives of their soon-to-be ex wife, and vice versa.
Many roofing and window companies specialize in storm damage, and 99% of their sales effort is going door-to-door to sell their "EMERGENCY" roofing and widow replacements services in damaged areas following a large storm.
My agency began by specializing in New Jersey businesses. As a result, we quickly dominated the top of Google for "NJ Marketing Company" related keywords, and got a huge hunk of businesses that wanted an agency seasoned with the markets and geographical breakdown of New Jersey.
Even Barber Shops and Music Schools are beginning to niche their services for kids and senior citizens.
You are a parent with children aged 3-10. You want to get them music lessons.
After doing some online searches you find a few local options:
- One has been in business for 30 years, and teaches everyone of all ages.
- Another has 4 stores, and offers classes to everyone as well.
- The third music school ONLY handles children, and their teachers have been trained specifically to teach children. Also, they have been given the most detailed background checks known to man, and have children of their own.
So, who are you going to choose? I give you that example because that was the branding program we put together for a client of ours, and they quickly tripled the amount of students they were attracting.
We recommend this because:
- Kids made up the largest portion of the local market seeking music lessons.
- As you saw, none of the competition was solely targeting kids (parents, that is).
- Kids represented the most valuable customer over time as they tend to be in lessons for at least several months.
So, now you have your method of creating a new category to begin, and dominate.
- Seek out a benefit your market is looking for that your competitors have not committed to singularly serving (it doesn't count if it's only one of many things they do)
- Ensure this is a profitable segment of your market, with enough volume to generate significant ongoing revenue
- Start promoting yourself as the SINGULAR provider of this benefit. Try to use one word in all of your advertising that defines your new brand.
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