We live in a time where the product and software landscapes are overwhelmingly saturated. For consumers, over-stimulation is very real – sorting through a sea of brands to find the ones that resonate, keep their promise, and continuously surprise and delight is almost a task in itself. For businesses and investors, believing in the integrity and shelf-life of a brand can be risky and takes considerable awareness of things like quality, personality, consistency, and of course, competition.
With the consideration that the brand itself is an asset, how can PropTech startups look to build strong brand recognition, and what impact will it have for them as they grow? As it becomes undeniably apparent that the expectations of consumers and enterprises are continuously increasing), building a brand with purpose is becoming more relevant than ever. Here, I will highlight areas of importance when developing a compelling and respected brand.
Have a clear identity: Know who you are, what you stand for, where you come from, and where you will go. Establishing a strong personality that is consistent across all assets creates a stickiness that builds trust for a brand’s target market and beyond.
Be audience obsessed: In 2020, your target audience wants more. They want their needs met, their problems solved, and essentially their minds read. Great brands are continually engaging with their audience in innovative and creative ways; they develop meaningful connections by truly understanding their customers and inherently speaking their language and evolving as they do.
Be consistent: Trust is created when consistency is established. Keep your promises and create high expectations. When you are keeping your promises, do so, and don’t stop. Establish a strong customer service strategy that is inline with your brand identity that will also meet the needs/wants of your target market. Be reliable, stay on brand, and speak the language of your identity, ensuring that the brand can withstand the test of time.
Be innovative: Today’s consumers are no longer impressed with the norm; they want disruption. Audiences are looking to add value to their lives and are seeking out brands that are focused on providing products and services that will make their lives easier.
Provide Value: Not only are successful brands built based upon their cohesive and consistent voice, but they are also respected due to the value they provide. When establishing competitive/fair offerings, companies must differentiate themselves through the integrity of their pricing.
An example of a brand that has mastered each of these components is Airbnb.
They have a clear identity throughout all of their branding. While they’ve made some changes along the way, such as their tagline and logo, they’ve found their voice, one which resonates with their target audience. Their current logo embodies four core concepts—people, places, love and Airbnb—represented by a single abstract “A” shape.
They study their audience, growing and changing with their needs. Through the development of additional offerings and insights, such as Airbnb Plus, Experiences, and Adventures, they showcase the language in which their audience understands and speaks.
They are consistent. They keep their promises, and their customer service is reliable and reputable. They have unified messaging, keeping their brand relevant and dependable throughout everything they do. As an example, while the words of their tagline have been updated throughout the years – from “Welcome Home” to “Belong Anywhere” and “Live There,” the message stays the same.
They’ve changed the way people travel with their innovative home-sharing marketplace, once a space reliant on hotels. Their marketplace clearly understands the desires of hosts to earn additional income, resulting in a new economic ecosystem.
Lastly, their value is highly established as they provide offerings in a wide range of price points (affordable to luxury), allowing the brand to have massive reach. The marketplace that offers hosts with additional income at the same time brings new affordable options for travelers.
I believe that whether B2B or B2C, startups in the PropTech space should use established, respected brands as inspiration to create their own strong brand identity as they begin/continue down their journey of growth. With the rapid development of the space, presenting a robust and grounded brand very early on can set companies apart in this competitive category.