Every new startup wants to one day have a brand name as respected and recognizable as YouTube, Airbnb and Dropbox. Building a brand from nothing is one of the hardest things to do as a new company, but luckily there have been many trailblazers. These companies did a lot of things wrong, but they also did many things right.
Hiten from Hitenism.com wrote an awesome article analyzing how some of the most successful startups built their brands from nothing. Here's what he found:
Since 1999, 37signals has been blogging about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how they think about building their business. Back when they started, that was incredibly unusual. No one else was sharing how they balanced building products with consulting, or how they did A/B testing for their SaaS business.
They’re the poster child in SaaS for creating novelty around brand by sharing, educating, and helping other people learn.
Over time, Buffer injected more novelty into the brand with their scientific approach to happiness and productivity and their radical approach to company transparency. They were able to keep that novelty fresh and make it last, because it came from an authentic and genuine place.
In order to build a brand, you can’t just talk about novelty. You have to actually put it into practice and create a novel experience for people.
The first thing every successful startup brand has in common is novelty. By being new, unusual and original startups can build a big brand from nothing.
To carve out space in someone’s brain, you need to get in their head over and over until you’re there to stay. You need repetition.
The “content” in “content marketing” is key here:
Content can be a tweet, a Facebook post, a blog post, or anything that can be repeatedly produced and distributed.
The power of content is that it can scale, both in terms of the infinite number of people who can consume an individual piece of content and the innumerable ways content can be packaged and produced. That scale is what creates the repetition that makes the brand.
When Leo (CEO at Buffer) talks about his guest blogging strategy, he emphasizes the importance of “pick[ing] quantity over quality.” Put differently:
People often overvalue brand substance and undervalue brand repetition.
Leo kept the substance narrow and centered entirely around how to do well on Twitter. He put his focus on repetition and cranked out over 150 guest posts, and that’s what made Buffer an authority on the best ways to use Twitter.
The second thing every successful startup brand has in common is repetition. Being able to consistently get your brand in front of as many people as possible (especially people in your market) is an absolute necessity today.
So there you have it; 2 things your startup needs to have in order to build a brand from nothing. Share your thoughts in the comments below!