8 brand messaging guidelines for startups by Jay Nichols

8 brand messaging guidelines for startups by Jay Nichols

The startup landscape today is brimming with pathbreaking products and profound ideas. However, you need much more than a spellbinding product or idea to stand out from the pack. Your tech startup needs smart brand messaging and marketing to create a buzz and induce a sense of excitement among your target audience.

Jay Nichols, PR whizz and owner at Nichols Communication, shares his expert views on why startups mustn’t skimp out on early messaging and positioning. Nichols Communication focuses on delivering the messaging, visibility, and targeted results that help businesses to grow and scale. And true to this mission statement, Jay Nichols shares with us the top 8 guidelines for startups to craft their early brand messaging.

1. Structure Your Message

When it comes to structuring your brand messaging, Jay says, “Think of messaging structure as a newspaper article. Start with the headline, then build your case for that conclusion”. Include a brand promise instead of a tagline, and craft your message to keep a clear focus on product positioning, key benefits to consumers, value proposition, and brand pillars. Don’t forget to take into consideration your target audience and the overall tone of voice.  

2. Focus on The Message

For your startup to truly stand out, you must craft a strong value proposition and go-to-market message. Write a simple yet pungent brand-story that talks about what inspired you to create this product or solution and pepper it with some storytelling skills to strike a chord with your target audience. Jay remarks, ‘Great brand messaging for startup marketing is like food for a restaurant. You can have the best location, sommelier, ambience, etc., but if your food sucks, no one is coming back.’

3. Talk Benefits

A startup is all about an innovative solution that addresses a pain point. Your core brand message and positioning should talk about the benefits of using your product and how it will make life easier. Avoid including technical explanations, for your customers are primarily interested in how your solution helps to solve a previously unsolved problem for them. After all, it is the only reason why they are going to pay you.  

4. Don’t Fake It

Marketing your startup and building a brand starts by thoroughly evaluating the full potential of your product. It’s advisable to build confidence among your customers by clearly outlining your competency and building brand messaging around it. Jay clearly states, ‘Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. If your solution is best for SMBs and not the enterprise, don’t stretch. No one will buy it.’

Tip: Use a brand name generator if you cannot come up with an outstanding brand name for your startup on your own!

5. Be Aggressive

Go all out with your marketing and brand messaging campaign. Make it aggressive so everyone knows what you’re all about. Email, call, tweet, DM influencers in your niche and offer them a free trial of your product or other goodies. These are the most important people in the market because they interact with your target audience on a daily basis. One shout out from an influencer can propel your startup into becoming a force to be reckoned with.

6.Play the Statistic Card

Jay suggests, “Context is everything. But how good are you? Prove it. Preferably with numbers”. Simply using a crisp vocabulary and making verbose statements of praise won’t do the trick. Your brand message must include facts and figures that appeal to the logical and statistical side of your customers. Make numerical claims that back up your marketing assertions such as ‘In a survey held last year, over 87% of New York’s population agreed to use food ordering apps to order food online’.

7. Define your Target Audience

Throughout the brand building process, it’s supremely imperative to keep your buyer persona in mind. By clearly defining your target market, you can work towards crafting marketing messages that will resonate with their needs, emotions, and interests. This will also help you to clearly demarcate your position and where you fit in the marketplace. Just like Jay advises, “If it hasn’t been done already, define the size of the market. Without understanding the opportunity, few will understand your value”.

8. Consider the Competition 

Don’t overlook the marketplace. Acknowledge the fact that you exist because of your competition; there wouldn’t be a market otherwise. Jay shares, “While you don’t have to name them, never tell someone you don’t have any competition. Without competition, you don’t have a market”. You must keep in mind that every brand can have only one unique brand message, and the last thing you want is your ideal user to confuse your brand with that of competitors’.  

On a concluding note, Jay says, “Tweak your brand messaging as and when necessary. It’s not an activity you want to conduct every quarter”.



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