Start-ups often fail because they don’t understand their target market’s motivations. They have fine- tuned their offering but lost sight of why. However, ‘why’ is critical to start-up success.

‘Why’ is understanding your customers’ needs and it brings clarity and gives your venture purpose. Branding is communicating the ‘why’ and it closes the gap between your product and audience.

Branding is more than a company name, logo and colour palette. It’s about how you communicate with consumers, how you convey why your product matters, how you tell them you understand their needs.

Branding should be a cornerstone of your start-up strategy and a key investment of time and money. These four important tenets of branding will help close the gap between you and your customers.

  1. Ask why your customers need you.Begin by understanding your customers’ point of view. They aren’t just users, they are people with needs, and taking an empathetic approach will lead to a greater understanding of their motivations.
  2. Define who you are in terms of the customer.Clarify your mission and brand vision in relation to the problem you are solving. Being clear about your identity and goals in this way will help you focus on finding and creating the solution and allow for flexibility to develop and respond to your customers’ needs.
  3. Craft a brand your audience can relate to.You only have one chance to make a first impression. Spend time crafting your image and message and refining customer’s first potential experience. By developing empathy for your target audience, you can better craft a brand they can relate to and understand why your offering matters.
  4. Believe in the brand.Business founders who firmly believe in their idea and offering have much higher chances of succeeding. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, how will your customers? Channelling your belief into the branding will help make customers believe in it as strongly as you.

‘Why’ is a powerful question. Asking why will help you refine your product, your business and communicate your purpose to customers.