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GUEST POST: 5 Branding Tips for Startups and Entrepreneurs in 2022

Launch Tennessee periodically publishes essays written by entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters of the startup ecosystem here in Tennessee and across the southeast region, sharing thoughtful and unique observations and perspectives on the business landscape and the challenges they’re encountering.

We are pleased to provide a guest post today from members of a LaunchTN Network Partner.

Guest Post By: Ashley Shutt and Samantha Culbertson, Co-Founders of ARO Creative Inc., a creative agency formed out of Sync.Space Entrepreneur Center in Kingsport, Tennessee.

When it comes to startups, there are countless hats an entrepreneur wears to build a business from the ground up, which includes forming the groundwork for a new brand. Though it’s not always considered the primary priority for a startup, visual design plays a significant role in ensuring your business’ product or service attracts your target audience and that your branding portrays the mission of your company. Additionally, design can lend to attracting investors. So, we thought it would be helpful to hear from a creative agency in Tennessee, who works heavily with startups and entrepreneurs, to learn about five tips early-stage companies and founders can keep in mind in 2022 to propel their brands and marketing efforts.

1. Keep It Simple

Think about some of the most successful brands in the world. One thing that they all have in common is simplicity. The Nike logo has a checkmark to represent achievement and movement, not illustrations of every type of athletic gear they sell. If you can focus down your visual elements to something that is easily recognizable and impactful, you will have more success than something that tries to combine too many ideas at once.

2. Stay Consistent

This follows the “Keep it Simple” rule. Again, if you think of successful brands they normally have either 1 or 2 colors that they use across all their media. Target uses red and white on everything, while Facebook has its classic blue. If you remain consistent in the use of color, fonts, and photography styles, people will begin to recognize your brand across different channels and have a deeper understanding of your services, products, and values.

   

Examples from the Arms Cyber branding guide, designed by ARO Creative Inc.

3. Create A Brand For Your Target Audience, Not Yourself

When crafting a new brand or new business, keep in mind who your end product/service will resonate with. Branding that is catered to your audience vs. your personal preferences is more likely to catch the attention of your desired consumer. The best way to achieve this is to create ‘personas’. Try to picture your perfect consumer — what are their hobbies? How old are they? Where do they live? This will help craft a brand that is backed by research and strategy, ultimately contributing to the success of your new venture!

4. Always be Authentic

In today’s digital age, consumers can tell if someone is being genuine. If you try to speak down to the customer or trick them in some way, people will recognize it. When communicating with your audience always aim to be sincere, and use customer messaging like testimonials as much as possible. When you connect with your audience in a genuine way, they will remember it and be more likely to stay a repeat customer, or even suggest your product to others.

   

Examples from the Couture Technologies branding guide and website landing page, designed by ARO Creative Inc.

5. Test. Analyze. Adapt. Repeat.

Tracking advertising and marketing performance is easier than ever with today’s tools! Run an A/B email test to see which messaging best resonates with your audience, then adapt to grow off of that. Use Google Analytics to see what web pages perform best, and why. When you know what works best for your audience you can continue to fine-tune your branding and overall marketing tactics to get the biggest return on your efforts.

About The Authors

Ashley Shutt (ARO Creative Inc.) and Samantha Culbertson (Push The Pixels) are no strangers to the marketing and branding game. With over 10 years of agency experience each, they have successfully created and led branding and marketing firms and worked with clients all over the country…including various LaunchTN Portfolio companies. As female agency founders, they represent the less than 1% female agency owners in America and have worked closely as Sync.Space’s branding and marketing partners for the last 5 years.

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