With festivities around the corner, Dhristi and I were decluttering our cupboard to make room for our Diwali outfits. While I was dusting the topmost shelf, a diary fell on our feet with a sticker which said Inked with Love. Finding old memories of how we once started our journey fighting over the color of the ink and texture of paper brought back tons of laughter and tears.
Inked with Love was a dream venture for me and my sister since we took our first course in painting and calligraphy. Dhristi was inexplicable in creating artworks from any given color and material. I, on the other hand, enjoyed calligraphy like a baby who enjoys his ice cream on a summer afternoon. We started this venture three years ago with the idea of making artworks curated with love.
Having the necessary artistic skills were enough for making masterpiece artworks. But that is not all required in a startup. When we decided to turn our passion into a profession, several scenarios needed our attention. Other than the basic challenges such as arranging for investments, marketing the business, and creating contingency plans, there was one major situation that needed to be catered at our earliest. Creating a reputation for our brand was equally important if we wanted to survive in the competitive market. If your brand has recognition, it will drive your sales, no matter the kind of industry you are into.
Reputation building is equal to Jenga blocks. You cannot build a brand overnight. It takes a considerable amount of time to create one positive outlook about your business, and only a couple of minutes to ruin it. One negative feedback can bring down your reputation, if not handled with care. The best time to make a good image for your business is right when it has started, as there are no negative remarks during the initial stage to lower your scores. There are several ways in which you can build a brand for your startup, some of which are namely:
Establish yourself in the market
If you are not visible in the market where competition exists at every nook and corner, you are going to become extinct! The first step to build a brand is to make yourself visible. Give your idea and product a weightage and highlight why yours is a ‘must-have’ product for the public at large. Create an identity of your name beyond your business name and tagline.
Create a social media presence
If you think you can create recognition beyond social media in this digital world, you are highly mistaken! Social Media is the driving force for every startup in today’s time. Create a social media page for your startup and start by posting your ideas and products. You should have a social media marketing plan for your social profile. Quality content and being active on social media are enough to make your page visible to your target audience. Use search engine optimization to make your content stand out. You can also create giveaway contests and engage with recognized influencers to give your page a better shape. You must also be interactive with your potential customers and reach out to them at your earliest. This shows your interest in them and helps you create a customer base.
Make a trustworthy environment
As a new venture, people will often question the quality of your products and services. This is the stage to be extra cautious about how you communicate and deliver your products. Even a message that you send out to your customer adds to your brand image. Sending out positive messages, proper details and timely responses show the quality of your services, Delivering products matching your description without any tampering, highlights your product quality. It also helps the customers in trusting your word. If your product serves the needs of the customers, you have won the first stage of placing your business into the minds of the customers. A trustworthy customer always stays loyal to the brand and also helps in spreading the word about the same.
No matter how careful you are, ups and downs are the essence of a business. Once in a while, if you encounter any criticism from a customer, learn to accept and work towards the same. Being rude towards such criticisms or not analyzing your drawback can lead to a bad business image. Address the negative feedback in a manner appropriate to the image of the business. Always be responsive to all forms of feedback that you receive, especially if it is a criticism. Improve your product concerning the complaint and get back in the market with a better version of your idea. This shows your action to the complaints and makes the customers feel your concern towards their grievances. This will build a brand image of your startup.
Having a million followers on social media or a long list of customers does not mean a successful establishment of reputation. Building a brand image is a never-ending process. Yes, you may achieve a milestone in creating a positive image for your startup. But it is always possible to see it crumble with one small wave of mistakes. Always keep working towards maintaining this positive image and keep rolling with the process!
No wonder we too encountered the majority of such scenarios while making a positive image of Inked with Love.
But as Jeff Bezos says, you earn a reputation by trying to do the hard things well.
Keep trying. Keep growing!