This guest post is written by Joaquin Figaredo, Co-founder & CEO of HOKO, a deep-linking platform for mobile apps that allows apps to connect smoothly. HOKO joined Seedcamp in early 2015 and have been attending our Academy learning sessions. In this article, Joaquin shares his learnings from a recent Branding workshop.
I recently had the privilege of attending a Seedcamp Academy session hosted by Gabbi Cahane. Its content was really valuable for every startup out there as we all strive to become successful businesses, so I wanted to share what I learnt and the key takeaways I gleaned from the session.
First of all, lets define what we mean by ‘brand’;
Brand is everything you make, and everything you do.
Your brand assets include your products and services, your business model and technology, your people, your visual identity and even your tone of voice.
Since your brand incorporates all these assets, the fundamental goal to building a kick-ass brand is that everything around it has to be consistent, coherent, and clear. It means clarifying your vision (Purpose), defining your target customers (Positioning), and reaching them with the right messages and the right channels (Personality).
Your purpose is what truly defines you; what influences everything you do, and what lets you develop over time. Your customers can be attached to your products, but can only be truly connected to your purpose over time. Think about how attached people were to their blackberry, and think how deeply connected they are to Apple. Kick-ass brand.
One of the best things about your purpose is that it stays with you over time.
If your purpose comes from your company’s heart, it doesn’t matter if you have to pivot your business at some point (chances are you will), your identity will remain intact.
To define your purpose, try asking “Why?” This is the most powerful question you can ask when defining the purpose of your company:
- Why do we care?
- Why do we want to build this company?
- Why should others care?
- Why does it make sense?
Once you define your purpose, it’s time to position your company and your products.
“Our product is for absolutely everyone” might sound ambitious, but is that really true? Words don’t impress our investors, facts and numbers do. So unless you have unlimited resources – actually, even if you do – the best way to take your product or service to market is by differentiating your company and focusing on a particular target audience.
Be careful however, it’s not about being different for the sake of it. It’s about being different with the right context. Your positioning should be aligned with your purpose and a well-thought strategy. Try focusing on those customers who are suffering the most about the need you are trying to solve. Focus on those early adopters who will become your champions.
To have a good start, ask yourself these questions:
- What do we do?
- What are the benefits?
- What don’t we do?
- What makes us special?
Once you define your positioning, it’s time to build your personality. What do we mean by personality? The simpler definition of the word personality is, “The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.” But wait, isn’t that positioning? Yes, it kind of is, but personality encompasses the attitude around this positioning, and the perception it creates to your audience.
Personality is how you communicate with the world. Every message you publish, every email you send, every slogan you use. Make sure that all those messages are aligned with your purpose and your positioning. Your customers should love your messages, and if you are being bold enough, those who are not your customers might hate them – and that’s okay!
Now that you understand it, go get some attitude now! And don’t forget that this attitude has to be consistent throughout your organisation. It should be permeated through every person in it, injected into every product you make, and sealed in every single message you give to the world.
At HOKO we’re still learning a lot about all the above, and it’s an exciting journey as we emerge from the early stages of our company’s growth. Check out the HOKO blog to see how we are developing in this area; as I discover revelations about our brand I will be sure to share them!