Nurturing client relationships is essential to startup success. What your clients say about your products or services makes a big difference. But many startups want to know, “How do you stand out among competitors?” By serving up creative and unique branding ideas.
Branding has taken different forms throughout the digital era.
However, it is time to flip branding on its head to give it that unique edge. We are not just talking about pens and notepads with your startup’s logo.
It is time to get more personal. “People buy from people they like. People buy from companies they like,” Daniel Newman of Forbes explained. “There’s no easy button for this, but it’s not hard. You just need to care enough to want to build relationships.”
Essentially, you should take the same care, time, and effort spent crafting your own startup when crafting those powerful client relationships. Where do you start? Let’s take a page from the B2B salesmen of yesteryear.
Here are a few creative and unique branding ideas your clients will love your startup for, and you’ll love the profits.
Get to Know Your Client Base Better
The first step in creating unique branding ideas for your clients is to get to know them better. This will help you identify “the how” in developing branding ideas. Getting to know your clients better means getting out of your office and into theirs.
“Knowing your customers enables your organization to create more targeted marketing strategies, maintain strong relationships with clients, and increase the lifetime value of clients,” Victoria Vessella of Business 2 Community explained.
Adding that Personal Touch
Let’s say you're a marketing startup and one of your clients is a restaurant owner. Schedule a time to meet them at their restaurant and connect in a non-formal situation. This will give you the lay of the land.
Do they have branding on their glasses, napkins, or what does their menu look like? Ask your client what they could use to help their business grow. Once you have this ammunition, you can meet with your team and brainstorm a few unique ideas.
For example, if the restaurant has local artisan beer on tap, you can develop an artistic beer tap handle and have their branding literally branded into it. Pair that with branded glasses and coasters, and you have a very unique way to further the B2B relationship.
When you add a physical element that is creative and unique that your client sees daily, and their customers comment on, they will remember your startup. It is a win-win for everyone.
Throw a Client Event
The old adage, “all work and no play” simply won’t work anymore, especially in the startup culture. Startup team members ditched the 9-to-5 grind for the startup life due to the unsavory “all work” corporate culture.
You can use this to your advantage when brainstorming branding ideas that will take your client base relationships to the next level. One of the best ways is to throw an event for your top client.
Think pharmacy reps at hospitals. They swoop in once a month, cater in the most expensive restaurant, and hand out tons of swag to nurses, doctors, janitors, or anyone working at that moment.
Landing New Client Opportunities
This creative branding idea takes a similar approach. This works very well for marketing agencies, design companies, or any other creative service. The first step is to organize an event with your top client, like a two-hour mixer at or near their office.
Next, put your design team to work creating branding elements for hats, shirts, pens, beer and wine glasses. But this is where it gets unique. Use new branding elements.
For instance, if you know your client has been thinking about rebranding, and you want that contract, bring your idea pitches to life on the event swag. “The personal interaction with a targeted demographic can build brand loyalty or generate new interest, adding to a customer base and building business,” Sara Hottman of Inc. suggested.
Can this be costly for startups? Short-term yes, but it is important to think long-term contracts and profits. There are also a few places to outsource this swag, like Artik for apparel, or Vistaprint for product labeling.
Startups Need to Stay Proactive
One of the most important elements of maintaining a loyal client base is to stay proactive in the relationship. Remember, there are plenty of competitors out there, whether local or online, that your clients can choose from. Continually nurturing the relationship will keep your startup in their minds.
Providing creative and unique branding ideas to send to your clients will make the relationship more personal. At the end of the day, people buy from people, and if they like you, your startup will enjoy the benefits. How will you get more personal with your clients this year?