Startup Brands Should Follow This Strategy to Authentically Differentiate

startup brands

Startup brands stop leading with features and benefits!

If only more startup brands understood the value of brand strategy and how it could lead them away from leading with features and benefits vs. why the brand matters.

Convincing minds by capturing hearts: the new brand-building approach.

What comes first? The rational decision to take the next step on the path to purchase, or the emotional trigger that gets them started on that path? Aren’t we humans cool? We pride ourselves on our cognitive skills, our ability to weigh pros and cons, and our decision-making power. After all, these factors separate us from other life forms.

We also prefer to emphasize our thoughts because we are able to talk about them, explain them, and defend them.

However, what is clear is that we are emotional beings. We navigate the world with our emotional sensors, reading external messages and filtering them based on their relevance to our core human needs and desires. It follows that we are more attracted to brands that tap into our emotionally-based needs than those which don’t.

But what do many brands do?

Oddly, many start-up brands, particularly those in the technology sector, do the opposite. They lead with their technological feature and the most obvious and superficial claims (often the same claims made by their competitors).

This leaves these brands in an emotionally barren no-mans-land in which differentiation doesn’t exist, competition rages, and brands languish.

What your brand can do.

You can think about the impact your brand has beyond the claims you currently make. We’re not saying your current claims are wrong or unneeded, just that to prevail in today’s world it pays to look deeper.

When seen through the lens of meaning, your brand takes on a new shape, adopts a new aura, and elevates itself within the competitive set. It does this by striking strong emotional cords that resonate strongly against core human needs and desires.

Why now?

If you’re a enterprise tech company or a start-up, you’ll want to use the fuel of a meaningful purpose-led brand to scale fast. If your brand is more established, you’ll want its strength to fight off competitors, retain valued customers, atrract top talent, and keep employees focused, aligned, and motivated.

It’s not easy to change your brand’s orientation when you’re up to your neck in the rational tasks and responsibilities of running a business. It may, at first, feel uncomfortable and, well, irrational!

But with time you’ll start to see, and most important feel, the difference a meaningful purpose can make. As Punit Renjen, chairman of Deloitte, the world’s largest audit, tax, and consulting firm said after adopting a meaningful purpose for his admittedly conservative firm, “It just feels good.”

Purpose-led does not mean we you are not focused on growth and scale. It is a strategy that can help differentiate your business by leading with purpose. At Emotive Brand, we map brand strategy to business strategy. Once we understand the goals and objectives of your business, it is only from there that we lead with purpose as we develop your brand strategy.

Additional reading on startup brands: 6 Reasons Why a Start-up Should Invest in Brand Strategy at the Very Beginning.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm

Comments (1)

  1. Dear Emotive Brands,

    Great post! I could not agree more.

    Are you aware of the fast growing natural media industry that is using water, sand, moss, grass, chalk, milk paint and a growing number of sustainable techniques to produce outdoor communication messages that have a lower impact on the environment while having a higher impact on the audience?
    These techniques are a very tangible example of sustainability in action. Often the media is a big part of the message.

    I have been involved in this new industry for 7 years in Amsterdam. I come from Northern California and went to school in San Francisco. Local boy does good 😉

    Just thought you might like to know about this new industry.

    Warmest regards,
    Jim

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