You took a bold step and started your own business. Well done! And congratulations for turning your dreams into reality. However, you realize that this is when the works commences, staying afloat and keeping up with your competitors is not an easy task.

As a start-up, building a client base, maintaining them and gaining new customers is a hurdle. The need to resonate with these sets of clients requires your start-up to package itself in a way that is easily understood by your target audience and this we refer to branding.

The father of advertising Philip Kotler, defines branding as a name, term, sign or symbol or a combination of these that identify the maker or seller of a product.

Stop! And for a second think of any company that you can easily identify what their business is about. You’ll agree with me that not only can you identify their product or service but also their logo, name of the company, the company colors and exactly what they offer.

As a start-up you should aim to be identified as easily as companies such as Coca-Cola and Safaricom and re-branding is the bridge to cross to that destination and if effectively executed, can elevate your business into greater success.

Rebranding isn’t something to cringe at but rather an exciting opportunity leading your start-up to a higher level of growth. If you master some key aspects in your re-branding strategy, you will succeed and have an edge over your competitors. Some of these aspects include:

What’s in a name

The name of your business is important as it reflects your clients and target audience’s perception of your company and the products or services it offers. For one, you would not want a name that presents you as a joke if your business is more conservative such as the banking industry.

Aim to have a name that is simple, clear, and easy to remember and one that communicates the message you want it to, otherwise you risk losing your audience to an identity crisis brought about by something as simple as your name.

Play around with a variety of names and share them with the employees or even ask your audience if they would prefer a different name they can even suggest names. You would be surprised at the feedback. Sometimes, the company name or logo does not need to be changed. In that case, don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Inform your existing customers

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer,” Theodore Levitt. Theodore’s quote could not be any more accurate.  It is imperative to inform your existing clients that you are re-branding while assuring them that services will remain the same if not better.

If you introduce new products or services, keep them in the loop as well and keep your eyes and ears open to understand their reception the same. Remember, it is easier to retain an old customer than to gain a new one.

Create a captivating story

A compelling story appeals to your clients emotions while being helpful at the same time. This simply means that your messaging should be relatable, clear and avoid jargon. Consumers like reading messages that are easy to digest.

Your story should answer the answer five Ws and H?, which are Who? What? Where? When? Why? And How?. Having clear answers to these questions allows your audience to connect with you and understand what your business is about. In every communication with them, boldly refer to these answers and your audience is sure to tell your story for you. These responses also help determine your start-up’s vision and mission statements.

Garnering a great story not only helps showcasing how you are solving a problem, it also aids your company in gaining media mentions for your work.

“Either write something worth reading, or create something worth writing about” Benjamin Franklin

Invest in media training

As your business grows so will the challenges you face, crises are not new businesses both big and small. Unfortunately, if not properly managed, they can make or break a business.

Investing in some form of media training on how to handle complaints professionally and how to prevent crises from happening. This training should include the before, during and after a crisis occurs, it can also include the types of crises a start-up in your industry is prone to and provide mitigation measures on the same. It is better to be prepared than not be prepared at all.

The training should involve key members of your company to ensure that all employees are on the same page while answering questions from various stakeholders.

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