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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Friday, February 15th, 2019 at 11:05am
The latest edition to the WJ art collection is very special! Did you know Freddie had a diploma in graphic design and created multiple album covers and the now famous Queen crest? As an agency with a strong design foundation, we're honoured to be in such company. #FreddieMercury https://t.co/tU6sG0Jgrv wj_agency photo
Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 9:01am
#GrandePrairie - we have a Valentine's Day surprise for you! Our CEO Ryan is hosting a Ryan's Roundup in your city tonight! Come meet pros from all industries for a night of networking fun! Sign up! https://t.co/OlzaLDQ9TW
Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 11:16am
Team lunch for our Client Services and Operations teams yesterday was long overdue! #wjculture https://t.co/tWBjaN3ZzT wj_agency photo
Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 at 2:57pm
Who watched the big game on Sunday?! One thing that got us thinking - is the $5 mill price tag for a 30-second ad spot worth it? Check out our blog to find out: https://t.co/pBp4skLPKn #SuperBowl2019
Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 at 2:51pm
It's the first Thursday of the month, you know what time it is: Join us for a night of fun and meet some of #YYC's biggest movers and shakers at Ryan's Roundup! 4:30-7PM at #Ranchmans, sign up! https://t.co/oWXmD1nxsN https://t.co/ohxRKdj2Fn wj_agency photo


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 CommunicationsFriday, February 15th, 2019 at 4:23pm
We love TWT Group Inc. and wanted to show them just how much on Valentine's Day yesterday! These will come in handy for the long weekend!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsFriday, February 15th, 2019 at 1:46pm
The latest edition to the William Joseph art collection is a special one!

A talented showman (to say the least), Freddie Mercury had a keen sense for both theatrics and design. The Queen front man had a diploma in graphic design from Ealing College of Art and applied his visual talents to various Queen projects, including multiple album covers and the now famous Queen crest. Did you know that the creatures included in the logo (two lions, two fairies and a crab) represent the zodiac signs of each band member?

Coincidentally, many pop culture legends have or had a background in graphic design, including Pete Townshend, David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

As an agency rooted in creativity and built up of many talented artists ourselves, it's safe to say we're pretty fortunate to be in such company.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph Communications added 3 new photos.Thursday, February 14th, 2019 at 10:25am
Happy Valentine's Day from ours to yours - we love you SEO much!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsWednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 4:57pm
The website for our client Hillcrest Financial is live! We've had a blast working with their team on this project and are proud to share it with you all.

Take a look at our work and the amazing services Hillcrest offers!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsMonday, February 11th, 2019 at 11:52pm
Grande Prairie - A Valentine’s Day surprise. A Ryan’s Roundup in Feb 13 at the Skylark Lounge at the Pomeroy Hotel after work. Who’s in?



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