Calling your business innovative is getting to be common practice for almost every start-up. Who doesn't want to be perceived as new and noteworthy? But being seen as innovative and actually being innovative are two radically different things. Actually being defined as innovative - introducing new ideas or original and creative thinking - may come easier to you and your start-up than increasing perception and brand promise of innovation. That requires a much more consistent level of branding work.

In a world of social proof trumping actuality here are three proven effective ways to brand your start-up as an innovative from branding and marketing expert, Karen Leland, author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand.

Consistency

Being consistent with publishing content on the leading innovative trends in your industry or niche is important. Your innovation can't be seen as innovative if you keep it in your bubble. "By regularly publishing content (be it blogs, articles, podcasts, videos, photos, etc.), that show not only your disruptive stance, but your knowledge of leading trends in your field, you can begin to shape your brand in the minds of your buyers or investors," explains Leland.

Peer Promotion

"Saying 'we are innovators,' has significantly less power than having someone else say it about you," says Leland referring to a Socialnomics.net study that reported 78% of consumers trust online peer recommendations while only 14% trust ads. Getting connected to and aligned with industry leaders and social media sneezers (those that spread information virally) can help you brand yourself as an innovator and establish yourself as an associated player in your industry.

Become a Portal

Thanks to advice from business mentors like Karen Leland, my firm, Hazz Design broke off our expertise in the 3D printing niche into a portal called 3D Start Point. Using our podcast as a content generator, we established ourselves as the starting point for all things 3D printing, featuring the latest and greatest in the niche and positioning ourselves as an industry innovator and leader. You can do this for your start-up as well to establish your brand leadership. Leland notes that the key to building a great portal is soliciting your peer group. "Rather than shy away from featuring other experts in your field, embrace them and bring them under the fold of your knowledge umbrella."

Using these three proven tips, you can create a portal too by using the podcast to generate content that featured guest peers who assist in the promotion. This has been the most effective branding and marketing strategy we have ever used, increasing our Google ranking over 400% in four months and our followers 22% month over month, plus being branded as innovative is essential in our industry and likely in yours too.

Published on: Jun 30, 2016