Cathy Perron of Boston University Media Ventures invited our VP of Marketing to discuss branding, when to get started with marketing and how to bring a startup vision to life. He started the discussion by talking about what a brand is and its importance to a company at birth. It begins with the collision of technology and creativity in order to define a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).
SchneiderMike explains that your BHAG is the reason you get up and go to work; it is the unattainable goal that you strive for that defines your company. The first step is turning on the light bulb and coming up with a BHAG that you are passionate about. The next step is to give your BHAG an identity, which in essence will be your brand. The big question for many students and media ventures is how to do this effectively.
He went on to explains that in order to build a brand identity, the three things to establish are first the product, then the audience and the culture your brand will embody. The truth is, you can’t have a successful brand without a great product. The product is what consumers will be engaging with. It is the main point of your brand, so it is important to first and foremost focus on the product.
Once the product is established, it is time to define an audience that will love, want, and need that product. He tells students thinking about starting companies to ask themselves: What kind of culture will your audience identify with? In order to create a culture for your brand it is essential to come up with brand pillars that will act as the guidelines and goals that your brand will abide by and strive for.
SchneiderMike points out that social media should not be an afterthought. It is a great way to get to know your audience profile and preferences early. It is important to incorporate social media within your brand’s reach strategy from the beginning, and to leverage social presence to start talking to your audience.
Our key takeaways: If you don’t create your brand it will be created for you! Your brand will have an image and a message that resonates with people – it’s important that the identity of the brand is in line with your vision and is established from the beginning. SchneiderMike says that the goal is to create a brand that your audience can identify with and become passionate about. Bottom line, you don’t need to spend a ton on brand and marketing at the genesis, but there are key communication principles to incorporate to get you started.