Branding mantra – “Connect with your customers” December 16, 2011 RICCentre By Vijender Trivedi Branding has always been an important and challenging aspect of building a business. It helps define success and increases the influence of customers on products or business as a whole. While startup owners understand the importance of branding and typically devote a lot of time to it, they often make a common mistake in the process: they need to focus on branding and connecting with their customers right from the get-go instead of leaving these tasks to the end of the product development phase. It’s time to re-examine the basic assumptions behind branding to see if we can transform the way we develop brands and achieve success in business. In a presentation entitled ‘Successful Branding: Connect with your audience,’ Mary Jane Braide (Strategist, MJ Braide Corporate Development) and Brenda van Ginkel (Brand Marketing Specialist) underline the importance of branding for startups in these times of tremendous competition and pressure. They emphasize how vital it is to connect well with customers, and offer startups the following key recommendations for improving branding success: Startups should work on branding from day one. Tone and voice matter. Who you are and how you come across is really important. Always be guided by the big idea that drives you; don’t lose sight of the thing that keeps you in the game. Build the “minimum viable brand/idea” to include your values, story and value proposition. Let it guide you through your journey. Think of your website as a store and plan how you’ll engage customers on it. The following video contains five hot tips, followed by the full presentation: Below is a video of the audience discussion from the ‘Successful Branding: Connect with your audience‘ presentation, part of the MaRS Best Practices series. As they say, “The most prepared are the most dedicated.” Use these tips to build a strong brand from the very beginning! Blog reposted from MaRS DD. Vijender is the Manager of Online Content at MaRS. He helps entrepreneurs get the online resources they need to grow their companies by working on and marketing the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.