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The world’s most successful companies often have a similar business approach, even if their products or services are vastly different. One essential similarity: they each have a powerful brand that connects with the public and the market. Strong brands are not a coincidence – they are born from deliberate branding strategies.
If you’re trying to connect with venture capital finance (VC) to take your startup to the next level, the most consistent path to success is an effective branding strategy. Bottom line: any edge can return value in the hyper-competitive VC environment. Here’s how branding can positively impact your journey to raise venture capital.
First, what is branding?
Branding for Entrepreneurs and Startups is an integrated network of messaging and channels that helps your company better connect with venture capital investors. This network generates the characteristics, qualities and emotions that the public thinks of to intuitively define your product or services.
Successful branding can resonate with VC audiences in ways that build awareness, create authority and trust, and influence market behavior. At its most powerful, branding tells a compelling story about you and your business that makes your journey to VC financing faster, easier, and more rewarding.
Related: The basics of branding
Building a powerful brand strategy
Many startups make the mistake of putting off their most essential branding activities until their financial problems are completely resolved. Why is this retarded? Because your brand can do a powerful job of attracting VC interest and building trust, while designing a business plan and getting your financial ducks together.
Look at this process from a VC firm’s perspective: if you’re not committed enough to build your brand with the quality and professionalism your clients expect and deserve, what other critical factors are missing? How can they trust that you’re going to offer a strong product if you’ve failed to put organizational energy into building your brand?
A strong branding strategy can kick-start the process of building interest in your company and asserting its authority. VC firms will be more likely to research your business plan if your company’s core idea piques their interest. One interested VC firm can lead to more, creating a snowball effect and the kind of momentum that can affect deal flow.
Once your brand has gained exposure and the financials are ready, it’s time to piece them together into a pitch deck that really sells your business.
Related: Ready to start a business? Think about brand strategy before you start publishing.
Crucial ingredients for a winning pitch deck
You’ve distilled your story into messages that effectively showcase your brand. You have a business plan that shows what success looks like for your company and its investors. So what now?
A pitch deck integrates your branding and business plan into a tool that can effectively share your business vision directly with investors. It’s a visual presentation that not only helps investors understand your business, but how to derive value from its success. A typical pitch deck structure includes a description of the market opportunity, your solution, your team, any competition, a business plan or financial details, and the amount you want to raise.
Essential Tips for Pitch Decks:
- Emphasize the design. First impressions have a huge impact. Dated images or sloppy layouts can close doors before you’ve even had a chance to defend your case. Work with a designer to create an attractive and professional design for your pitch deck.
- Understand your brand and be consistent. Consistency generates authority, trust and fame. It shows that you have a good understanding of your own business value. That builds value in a market that rewards trust.
- Be real. All hiss and no steak is a recipe for failure. VC companies respond to branding, and while you can influence their perceptions, they are not naive. Your brand story should make sense for business and your financials should be coherent. Otherwise, your audience will quickly understand that there is no real content to invest in.
Related: Successfully raising money starts with a fantastic pitch deck
Attract and sustain VC’s interest with compelling branding
A successful brand effort builds trust, influences decision makers and delivers value in the VC market. It’s the first step in a process that involves creating your business plan and integrating it all into a polished pitch deck to present to investors.
You will face numerous external hurdles in your journey to secure VC funding, so you should not be the source of additional challenges. Use a strong, relevant and consistent brand strategy to create a market advantage. Seemingly small branding details can significantly impact deal flow and make all the difference in getting venture capital funding and taking your business to the next level.