William Joseph Communications

Building your Start-up Brand: Where to Begin

Fifteen years ago, on a Thursday afternoon, two marketers embarked on a courageous journey to start a full-service marketing agency – one founded on the vision of using smart strategy to strengthen creative aimed to spark curiosity and instigate action. Using their middle names as inspiration for the name, these marketers had no idea they had established the roots of what is now William Joseph Communications.

Founded from humble beginnings, William Joseph is no stranger to the hard work and challenges that face start-up companies when it comes to building a brand. Where do you start? Who do you talk to? What do you research first? Essentially, your brand is the experience you give to customers, and good branding should be at the heart of your business. Based on our branding experiences, here are some things to consider when building your brand as a start-up.

Choose a good start-up name: Put simply, the name of your company can drastically affect the consumers you attract, your reputation in the public eye and the overall acceptance of your business. If the name is too complex, is hard to say or is hard to spell, it will be difficult for people to remember you. The complexities of your company name can also affect your marketing efforts. If you decide to be edgy and name your company Apple, for example, you’re probably not going to have the budget or resources to be competitive in the digital sphere. Have a look at our previous post about naming and re-naming your company for some of our top rules when considering your name. (We broke down how to name your company here!)     

Define your brand:  A carefully cultivated brand tells current and potential customers what separates you from your competitors, and carves out a space in your audience’s conscience so that your company name, and images and messages associated with it, calls to mind a complex web of associated signifiers. Ask yourself some questions when defining your brand and its attributes: What are your mission, vision and values? What is unique about your brand, and what emotional and function attributes are you hoping will be associated with your brand experience? Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, so having a well-defined brand could be the difference between your success and failure.

Do your research: While you will conduct a lot of research when you define your brand, we cannot stress the importance of doing thorough research enough. Aaron Shapiro, the CEO for brand strategy agency Huge, said “In the tech world, there are no truly original ideas; everything is somewhat similar to what someone else is doing.  So, you need a way to communicate what your start-up does with a special twist.” Bearing this in mind, doing a detailed competitor analysis is an important step in identifying how the value of your brand is different from theirs. Research will also help you determine where your business see’s itself in 10 years, and what it will take to get you there.

You’ll also need to identify your target audience, and have an in-depth investigation of their psychographics, geographic locations as well as their social status, needs, and motivations. To be successful, you’ll need to establish an emotional connection with your consumer base, one that inspires loyalty and provokes action. This is virtually impossible without a comprehensive knowledge of who you’re targeting.

Create a compelling story: So, you’ve figured out your brand, identified your target audience and done thorough research on your competition. Now, it’s time to tell your brand’s story. As mentioned above, you’ll need to create an emotional connection with your audience. You can do this by being authentic, aligning with your audience’s values and relating to them by just being human.

As the WJ team always says, effective marketing demands powerful messaging to overcome competing voices, and to stand out, you must be original, connect with the public and provoke action. Creating a compelling story can help make this happen. So, how do you create a compelling story? Through smart strategy, content creation and marketing, visual identity, active voice, well-crafted creative, the list goes on and on. Whatever story you create, make sure that you’re transparent and open about everything you do and the products and services you provide. Otherwise, you may ruin your reputation before your brand has even begun to take shape.

Invest in your brand – It’s OK to ask for help: Building a brand from scratch is no easy feat, but don’t be scared. Having an experienced professional on your team who has done this before can make all the difference (especially one which has significant experience with start-ups). Marketing and branding specialists like William Joseph exist to help you realize your potential and succeed, right from initial research and analysis all the way up to branding and building your marketing plan.

While marketing is an investment, it is one that can generate powerful returns. See WJ’s previous blog on Why Start-ups Need Marketing  here.

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Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at 2:37pm
If you love your furry friends as much as we do please keep reading...

One of our office dogs, Odin, needs surgery. This was a shock to Odin's mom who's facing the staggering expense of this.

Please visit https://t.co/WN7Ko7ofmU to contribute. Every little bit helps.
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 at 2:58pm
Curious if social media is relevant for your B2B business?

Here's the top 3 reasons why it is:
1) It positions you as a thought leader
2) Helps you get to know your audience
3) You connect directly with your target market

Not convinced?

Read this: https://t.co/7qcqcIay5T
Monday, April 15th, 2019 at 9:02am
@HE_Saskatchewan @StoonChamber What were some of your favourite moments from the evening? #SABEX
Friday, April 12th, 2019 at 1:38pm
Tonight's the night!

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for this year's #SABEX Awards presented by @StoonChamber in #YXE.

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William Joseph Communications

We are the difference between momentary achievement and enduring success.Your success requires an agency that offers a fully integrated solution. One that has the vision to see beyond your current borders and the troops to guide you there. With us as your allies, be confident that you can achieve your boldest ambitions. At William Joseph we offer complete marketing solutions composed of strategies, tactics, and designs that effectively tell your story and address your unique marketing goals. Everything from advertising campaigns to experiential design, our team takes your corporate identity and translates it through a wide array of mediums to successfully champion your company.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsThursday, April 18th, 2019 at 5:35pm
If you love your furry friends as much as we do please keep reading...

One of our office dogs, Odin, has recently torn a ligament and needs an expensive emergency surgery.

This came as a shock to Odin's mom who's facing the staggering expense of this surgery which is scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday.

Every little bit helps.

Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/let039s-help-odin to contribute.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsTuesday, April 16th, 2019 at 6:00pm
Have you ever wondered if social media is relevant for your B2B business?

Of course it's great for connecting with consumers in the B2C world but there's also plenty of benefits for B2B businesses too.

Here's the top 3 reasons why:
1) It positions you as a thought leader
2) Helps you get to know your audience
3) Allows you to connect directly with your target market

Still not convinced?

If so, read this: https://www.williamjoseph.com/blog/social-media-right-b2b-business/
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsFriday, April 12th, 2019 at 4:38pm
Tonight's the night!

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for this year's #SABEX Awards presented by Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce in #YXE.

The purpose of this evening's festivities is to recognize exceptional businesses within the #Saskatoon region.

Sounds like a fun event.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsThursday, April 11th, 2019 at 4:51pm
Happy #NationalPetDay!!

Would you say you're more of a dog or a cat person?

Though we love all critters it seems that we're heavily in favour of dogs around the WJ office (with the exception of Mark and his collection of snakes).

Here's a few of the team's 4-legged friends.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsSaturday, April 6th, 2019 at 1:31pm
Today is one year since the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the players, families, friends and community.

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