Strategic brand development for start-ups and small businesses
When I started working in content writing 17 years ago, digital marketing was getting started as a discipline. Very few brands were using social media as a vehicle for corporate brand strategy.
Most businesses had no idea they even needed a branding expert to promote the brands digitally for their business at the time. Half a decade before TikTok and branded content made an appearance, those of us with a global perspective on marketing could already see a massive gap in how businesses wanted to portray themselves – and the creative resources they had at hand to meet this enormous challenge.
However, for those who wanted the first-mover advantage, there was only one way forward. Stay relevant to your digital audience, or fade into obscurity. As a front-line witness to the adoption and subsequent percolation of digital transformation at the intersection of branding, digital infotainment and content architecture, I have been fortunate enough to guide marketing teams across a variety of sectors, including (but not limited to) IT, healthcare, retail, construction, financial services, security, real estate and wellness.
I would have laughed if you had told me a decade ago that I would be across the world, essentially playing the role of a cultural translator (albeit solely within the English language and digital design). But here we are.
Vantage has evolved over the past decade in many ways – from patchwork freelance projects to managing critical projects with virtual teams.
How long is a decade?
- Working in academic and business research,
- Building rapid, iterative teams across both technical & creative disciplines
- Developing communication training programs for a developing world workforce
- Building out efficient content architecture while still telling soulful stories
- Setting best practice guidelines for the management of remote teams
- Building B2B sales relationships to land and expand across industries
- Demonstrating the true potential of overseas teams to help first-world businesses grow.
Today, it is our privilege to have developed a comprehensive, deep-dive approach to solving problems for both Global and Asian audiences. Our operational style is experimental, intuitive and analytical – and we build these values into every level of our organization. At all levels, Vantage staff is encouraged to help you capture dynamic markets through proactive problem solving and immersive collaborations.
“Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind.”
Today, it is our privilege to have developed a comprehensive, deep-dive approach to solving problems for both Global and Asian audiences. Our operational style is experimental, intuitive and analytical – and we build these values into every level of our organization. Vantage staff is encouraged at all levels to help you capture dynamic markets through proactive problem solving and immersive collaborations.
Soulful is great, but how do we fix brand communication?
Brand storytelling has evolved into a complex beast. What platforms should I use? Which segment should my business target? What is our video strategy going to be? Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, it is my job to caution clients to look at what their business holds for them and what achieving their marketing goals would genuinely mean. During a typical discovery call, we may discuss a number of things.
- We may discuss everything from macro-level strategy to minute detail.
- We may talk about how to tighten your target segments to resonate truly.
- We may help you think about how your marketing team is telling stories
- We may even talk about which technical baubles to discard for meaningful UX
This month, we will be pulling back the curtain to reveal how the Vantage team works to customize brand messages for four of our strongest target markets – startups, existing businesses, individual creators and marketing agencies. Most of all, this month, we hope to open the floor to dialogue with brands like yours – so we can hear your story!
Who benefits from better digital communication?
Digital communication describes any form of interaction that relies on a network connection. It encompasses all digital channels and tools, including emails, video conferencing, instant messaging, webchat and social media.
Social media channels provide a fast, convenient, and secure way to engage with people inside and outside your business. That is just the technical part of it. What about the human touch?
Authentic professional communication helps businesses connect with potential clients, direct audiences, and indirect adopters who act as a vehicle to spread the business’ message. A strong message invariably leads to more robust professional networking – which in turn leads to clients that keep coming back.
To this end of building relationships, every disruption is an opportunity to leverage technology to build a stronger professional network. Take the pandemic, for example. Video technology existed before ten, but with people confined to their homes, businesses worldwide had to figure out new ways to communicate online. This disruption led to a complete overhaul of how people perceived remote content creation teams! During the pandemic, we were able to use existing technology like video conferencing apps and instant messaging and demonstrate to clients across the world that authentic, real-time communication between stakeholders on opposite sides of the world – was not just possible – but could also result in cost benefits and closer working relationships!
Do I still need SEO, graphics & algorithms?
At Vantage, we have helped start-ups, agencies, businesses, and individuals build a platform for customer and investor relationships requiring careful brand management. Yes, that often means we have to use different tools and disciplines, from SEO to social strategy and visuals, to communicate our message to the right action takers. However, putting out content for its sake can do much damage.
When a new client approaches us, the first job we take on is to sift through their conversations and figure out the ultimate purpose of each piece of content, visual or video will be. Still, some common checklists can guide specific types of businesses as a general rule for those looking for consumable content. Let’s look at each of these audiences and some of the basic checklists we apply during onboarding to help them move into a competitive position in the marketplace.
Helping start-ups find investors
People involved with a start-up know that getting projects off the ground is different from keeping an established business going. Getting the startup off the ground takes a lot more skill – and much more is at stake. You want to draw converting customers and enthusiastic investors. If you are starting from scratch and going in for Series A funding, you may look at some aspects of your brand communication – external and internal.
- Developing Brand Identity And Positioning
- Targeting And Revenue Generation
- Competitive Audits & Market survey
- Pitch Decks for On-Boarding Investors
- Brand Recognition & Engagement Strategy
- Integrated Marketing Partnerships
- Product Launch Strategies & Testing
- User Experience Optimization
Helping businesses expand to new markets
Sure, behind-the-scenes videos and holiday party posts are great for engagement, but if you are serious about growing into a new market, even established businesses need to pivot to reflect the market they are targeting. At every stage of your growth, your brand image needs to be meticulously curated to reflect your growth – and highlight your relevance to the type of client you are targeting. The following checklist can be a great starting point for entering a new market with an existing product or service.
- Evolving Brand Identity Systems
- Creating External & Internal Brand Guides
- Strategic Growth Hacking Pipelines
- Creating an Immersive Showcase of Work
- Targeted Marketing Channels for Conversion
- Purposeful Content Planning Customized by Platform
- Developing Strong Brand Culture & Staff Training
Helping agencies streamline & expand
The pandemic taught us a valuable lesson. If you want to be scalable as an agency (or any business), you must delegate to someone who knows what they are doing. Whether you run a design studio, a content marketing firm, or a digital media/internet marketing agency – there comes the point when you have to decide between staying manageable or growing large. If you choose the latter, the following are some services for which overseas staff can be easily trained and assigned.
- Creative & Visual Design
- Paid And Organic SEO, SEM, SMM
- Content Strategy & Brand Messaging
- Strategic Conversion Funnel
- Responsive Web Design
- Brand Architecture & Communication
- Audience Engagement
- User Experience Evaluation
- Video Editing & Scripts
- Illustrations & Infographics
- Blog & Social Post Writing
Support for content creators
Content creation is a 24*7 job. Most popular creators we know started as a one-man-army. But that was probably a decade ago. Today, competition to show up at the top of social feeds is intense. There are more opportunities in content creation, but the grind is accurate, and you can no longer survive by doing everything yourself if you are to compete with big names who have an army of support staff at their beck and call. Your skills are unique – and your brand needs to reflect that – so you may consider accepting help with the following tasks to set yourself up for success in the digital creator space.
- Basic Brand Identity
- Business Plans And Value System
- Business And Personal Coaching
- Market Research and Targeting
- Business Strategy & Collaborations
- Multi-Platform Marketing Plan
- Content Creation Task Management
- Video Editing & Scripting
- Approaching Paid Sponsors
A business can grow when you channel your resources consistently and focus on an area where you can make a dent in the market. Every activity you conduct, from integrated marketing to content planning, must be well-researched and make sense for your particular product and target market.
Transform your business with brand-building strategies
Marketing is a complicated game when it comes to strategic brand development. When trying to pitch sales to attract customers, everything has to be matched with the brand voice. Starting from scratch, content creation, brand establishment strategy, and brand building strategy need to speak about your products and services. Achieving sales goals means digging deep and aligning your content to your overall purpose.
Regardless of the business complexity, Vantage offers a wide range of services to help plan effective brand development strategies to seek sales in the competitive world. To see if an outsourcing vendor is a good fit for your digital marketing needs for brand development, you can ask the following questions.
- Can they offer a flexible skillset to support your needs?
- Are they abreast of the latest trends and technology?
- How can they help you achieve growth with existing resources?
- Are they open to implementing your creative ideas?
- What experience do they have with content creation for similar clients?
- Can they train you/your team down the line if needed?
As a business owner, you need to know the indicators of a reliable provider to manage your digital marketing platform. If you choose to delegate some essential marketing functions to a virtual team like ours, consider some of the considerations that may help you set up a successful relationship.
Strategic brand and marketing development
So, you have gone through all of the steps above and selected an external marketing service to help you transform your business. Even the top brand consulting firms in Canada are using the strategies outlined above to help with brand-building strategies.
At Vantage, you will have access to some of the top digital marketing brains to help you test your marketing ideas – at a fraction of the cost of approaching an agency or hiring someone. When a client approaches us, we offer a quick initial assessment at zero cost before offering even the most basic service package.
Basic services for brand strategy and development
Every brand needs to be curated on an ongoing basis to reflect your growth and keep audiences engaged. In today’s chaotic digital landscape, constant content creation is crucial to capturing the audience’s attention. At the very least, branding your business will require a combination of any of the following disciplines. The combination of services that you use will depend on a variety of factors such as industry, business size, growth trajectory and audience needs among others.
Whether you want to beef up an existing website, create an entirely new one or enhance your web presence, we help you design a unique experience for your users from conception to wireframing to design to testing and development.
Visual identity & brand messaging
A strong brand identity is the foundation of a healthy branding and marketing strategy. This includes your visual assets and an appropriate voice, tone and message for your brand. A seamless brand experience reflects your company values and builds trust.
Content management & SEO
A robust content strategy is a key to becoming an industry leader in today’s world. Coupled with ethical SEO such as intelligent content use, backlinks, website tags and other tools, your content can be a powerful vehicle for your brand message.
Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and many other social networking platforms are just vehicles for transporting your brand message. Using suitable media can help you build brand equity and increase engagement with your target customers.
If you want to save yourself the headache and hire a branding expert. We can even help you decide which combination of the services above will give you the most impact while developing and establishing your brand positioning. This will also save valuable time in creating branding strategies for your business.
If you are looking for expert advice on brand development and building brand identity, sign up for our brand health consultation here. Our first discovery call is absolutely free. Email us at email@example.com and sign up for a demo call to get more information about our services.
That’s a wrap for this month!
Whether you are a start-up, small business, agency or an individual looking for brand development, we hope our checklist & insights have helped you understand how the digital content creation machine works – and how you can use these checklists to drive sales.
Vantage ITeS Consulting – Creative Agency
We know to make you steer away from the crowd.
At the very least, branding your business will require a combination of any of the following disciplines.
– Web service
– Visual identity & brand messaging
– Content management & SEO
– Social engagement
Here are 6 reasons why branding is important for startups:-
– Branding helps in creating an emotional connection between your brand and the audience
– Branding helps in increasing the visibility of your brand
– Branding improves traction
– Helps your brand establish a strong image in the market
– Branding can also help resolve your customer issues
Investing in branding helps unlock opportunities to hire talented and qualified designers and even a branding specialist for a better organization performance. Startups investing in branding will also be helping in creating awareness of your new idea to the market.
Small businesses have a lot of competition and sometimes it is very difficult to seek customer attention. Branding will help customers recognize your brand in the market. Not only this, having a branding strategy will help people become familiar with the business.