How small-time brands can make it to the big stage

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that things rarely go as planned. Many don’t survive the ‘’Valley of Death’’ stage, when startups scramble for funding, resources and customers, while still trying to get traction for their business idea.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that things rarely go as planned. Many don’t survive the ‘’Valley of Death’’ stage, when startups scramble for funding, resources and customers, while still trying to get traction for their business idea.

And yet some entrepreneurs hit it big and transform a business idea into a major brand. What do they do differently?

For my book, Breakthrough Branding, I studied a range of entrepreneurs and their branding habits. I learned that whether you’re an established or aspiring small-business owner, the best apply a bold simplicity to the branding process.

Here’s what the successful brands I studied and what they did to execute that simplicity:

Focused on small idea

Everyone talks about finding a big idea, but a small idea is more powerful. Kevin Systrom’s original mobile application, Burbn, did a lot of things.

It was a mashup of location check-in sites like Foursquare, social gaming sites like Zynga and photo-sharing sites like Flickr.

Then Systrom focused on the one small thing that had the greatest traction, its photo-sharing app, which gives low-quality photos a trendy retro look. And he gave it a new name: Instagram.

Powerful visual

Find a visual something — a colour, a logo, a design that cuts through the clutter of today’s marketplace. Think of Twitter’s bird logo.

With a name like Twitter and a service based on short, 140-character messages, using a bird as a logo was a natural fit.

Treated the name as strategic creative decision.

It’s important to lock in your brand’s identity with a name that resonates with customers and can travel well). It should be short, easy to spell and easy to say.

They didn’t overwhelm customers
And simplified everything from product offerings to the way they market. Warby Parker is an online glasses shop that sells trendy, vintage-inspired frames for $95.
They offer just 50 variations, so customers are not overwhelmed as they often are in a typical eyeglass store.

That’s how these small-time entrepreneurs built powerful, pervasive brands. By focusing on the details, they created an easier, more memorable experience for the person who will appreciate simplicity the most – the customer.

Kaputa is the brand strategist behind SelfBrand, and the author of Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea Into a Big Brand

 

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