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Brand-building for scale-ups: What you need to know

Building a strong brand is vital for scale-ups. As you grow your offering, it is important that your brand is as recognizable as possible.

Main takeaways

This blog will provide you with a high-level understanding of: 

  • The main elements needed to build a strong brand as a scale-up
  • Why these elements are important
  • How to incorporate these concepts into your business

We have also provided a free, downloadable Messaging House template to guide you through the various branding concepts. It will help shape your strategy, as you choose the right tactics to support your growth, create a memorable brand, and build a loyal customer base.

Building a strong brand as a scale-up

Building and maintaining a strong brand is vital for scale-ups. As you grow your offering, it is important that your brand be as memorable and recognizable as possible. You want to be the company your potential customers immediately think about when they’re considering purchasing your product or service. You also want to be a brand with which customers can build long-lasting, trusting relationships.

To build a strong brand as a scale-up, you need to consider the following: 

  • Vision – Your key intentions as a business and what differentiates you from competitors
  • Mission – What you want to accomplish 
  • Company culture – What you and your colleagues can expect from one another, and what your customers can expect from you 
  • Key competencies – The things you do well 
  • Value proposition – The value your product or service brings to customers
  • Relationships – The relationships you need to build and maintain
  • Market positioning– What you strive to be 
  • Brand personality – How you are perceived by customers
  • Brand expression – The visual and verbal identity you present to the market
  • Brand promise – The tangible things you promise your customers 
  • Product discovery – The research and product development you implement to ensure your product meets your customers’ needs

A firm grasp of these components will help you create and refine the roadmap you need to build a strong and enduring brand. This guide will examine each of these concepts,  as well as offer guidance as to how they can be applied to your business.

Brand vision

Your brand mission is at the heart of your business. It is what drives you to succeed, and what enables you to build strong, lasting relationships with your customers and colleagues.

When identifying your brand vision, consider all the ideas and activities that make up your brand’s purpose. What are your key values? Why do you do what you do? Keep it simple, specific to your business, and focused on what you want to accomplish.

Brand mission

Your brand mission is a brief statement of intent regarding how you hope to operate, both internally and externally, and how you intend to impact the world around you. 

Writing a brand mission statement can be challenging. How do you condense everything you want to achieve in a few short sentences? Keep it concise, consult with your colleagues, and don’t be afraid to modify your brand mission as your business and market evolves.

Brand culture

Your brand culture refers to the way you treat your colleagues, and what you can expect from one another. To build a strong brand culture, focus on your employees’ well-being, encourage individuality and self-expression, and promote diversity and inclusion. If your company and its people are doing great things – shout it from the rooftops via your website and social media channels.

Brand competencies

A brand doesn’t need to be everything to everyone. By focusing on the areas in which they excel, scale-ups can improve brand awareness and brand recall, improve resource allocation, and create a meaningful USP that people will remember and find valuable.

Value proposition

Even established brands struggle to convey their value propositions to their customers and prospects, especially when there are a variety of stakeholders involved. Take some time to explore what makes your brand unique, and why customers should choose you over a competitor. What are you promising your customers, and why should they care? What problems will you solve – and how will you solve them?

Relationships

Forming strong relationships is key to a scale-up’s success. Establishing long-term trust and encouraging customer advocacy; building fruitful supplier relationships; maintaining a company culture that consists of a happy, loyal workforce; even (and in some cases especially) collaborating with social media influencers or brand ambassadors – each is a link in a chain that will support your business as it evolves.

Market positioning 

When you are a new entrant to the market, it is sometimes difficult to understand how you are positioned in relation to your competitors. For a clearer idea, focus on what your organization offers, and how your product or service differentiates itself. What do you strive to be, and how will you convince your target audience to choose you? You can then more easily consider how you fit in with both your competition and the market. Who are your competitors’ ideal customers and buyer personas? How do their offerings compare to yours? In what direction do they appear to be heading and why?

Once you have developed an understanding of your market positioning, you can present a clearer brand identity to potential customers.

Brand personality

Developing a brand personality helps marketers create a compelling and original tone of voice, build buyer personas, and refine sales and marketing tactics. Think about the brands you love – and what attracts you to them. Then put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and do the same for your product or service. 

Your brand personality should reflect your brand promise and market positioning. If you were a financial services provider, for example, you’d most likely want to be characterized by reliability, security, and trustworthiness.

Brand expression 

Brand expression is where your physical branding, tone of voice, website design, packaging design, and every other form of creative expression your company publicly presents come together. As mentioned above, it is vital that scale-ups create and project a consistent, coherent, and original visual identity to the world – and that the words you use to describe yourselves are credible, honest, and authentic.

Brand promise

Your brand promise outlines a commitment to your customers regarding what they can expect each time they interact with your brand. A brand promise goes one step further than brand positioning, as it acts as a more formalized agreement of what your organization offers. Remember, you don’t need to promise the world to your customers, you simply need to make a realistic, honest pledge that you can live up to.

Product discovery

Product discovery is often used to develop and refine the product design process, so it better meets the needs of your ideal customer. It helps product teams to identify their design requirements and objectives, challenge assumptions, and attain a thorough, accurate understanding of what needs to be produced (and what doesn’t). Integrating product discovery approaches helps scale-ups focus their design efforts, manage resources and budgets, conduct meaningful research, and create products and services that delight their customers.

Ready to get started? Download our free Messaging House template. It will help you structure brand building activities via a shareable document that you and your team can use to collaborate.