SaaS Startups: How to brand it?
Written by RamotionAug 23, 202310 min read
Last updated: Aug 28, 2023
Do you know that 85% of business apps will be SaaS-based by 2025? According to BetterCloud, software as a service, referred to as SaaS, has seen an upsurge of growth this decade like never before. The shift of preferences for automation over traditional manual processes has already won millions of fans and loyal customers across the Globe, making the industry worth more than $195 billion.
It makes perfect sense that many businesses choose this model. However, some things could be more rosy for beginners. This sector's massive popularity has led to an oversaturated market, which created cut-throat competition and raised the bar for winning potential and current customers.
The tendency is that quality of service alone no longer plays a fundamental role in decision-making. The studies show that customers base their decisions on trust and positive brand perception. Surprisingly, establishing a strong brand identity has become more important than lead generation and income.
Let's find out what is SaaS branding exactly and how to make it for your service business.
What Does SaaS Branding Stand For?
As every professional Saas branding agency puts it, SaaS branding makes your company unique. It is an image of the company and services with your identifiable stamp. It compels your customer to choose you from a dozen or even hundreds of offers.
SaaS branding covers everything from logotype to style of conversations conducted in email channels. It tells a story of who you are, makes a promise to the community, conveys the service's unique value proposition, influences the choice of visual design assets and marketing material, and much more. In a word, it guides companies in their decisions across all departments.
Reasons Why Brand Identity Is Crucial For Startups
Establishing a strong SaaS brand identity early is crucial for the company's future and overall success for these reasons.
First, it underlies a solid foundation and translates your vision, mission, and ideology into assets (e.g., visual identity) and actions (e.g., customer support).
Second, it builds strong bonds among team members and helps to make the right brand-tailored goal-specific decisions, channeling all efforts in the right direction and creating a strong and prolific culture.
Third, it has a significant impact on brand recognition. It changes how people perceive your brand, or to be more precise, makes them see your company as you want them to see it.
Finally, it builds much-needed brand awareness that is crucial in fostering trust. It is the foundation of acquiring a customer audience and helping them become comfortable with your products and services.
From a psychological point of view, everything is simple: brand awareness promotes trust that builds loyalty. These aspects lead to higher conversions, stronger customer relationships, longer company life, bigger revenue, and more positive acceptance of new services and products.
Why Is Branding SaaS Company More Important than Marketing It?
Even the best app solution will only work with a strong brand in the market. As for startups, at early stages, brand building is even more important than marketing or sales.
The reason is simple: Software startups are nothing and no one without a brand. Why should people buy something from them? They are just a bunch of strange names in an oversaturated market. People will still need to be convinced of its value even if the company offers a unique product. According to Voxco, almost 60% of customers prefer buying from brands they know about, making trust crucial for a successful company's development.
The brand is what breaks the ice and bridges the gap between unknown software owners and customers. It is the heart and soul of a company that tells a story and delivers value, approaching the audience on their terms. It makesv a company a trustworthy player in the market.
There is more.
Branding is more important than marketing because it is one of its main pillars. It underlies all marketing efforts, strategies, and campaigns across all distribution and communication channels. It makes the company and service unique, purposeful, trustworthy, authentic, and 100% you.
Another reason is that when well done, it underlies a solid foundation for unrolling and advertising new products or services because people are more willing to buy from brands they know.
Consider the stats revealed by Adobe. Companies that earn customers' trust through a well-established branding strategy expect to see 71% more purchases, 61% more recommendations to friends, and 40% more positive reviews on social media – huge benefits.
Creating Your Brand for SaaS Business
The critical feature of SaaS companies is that they are based on a subscription model. The latter implies a longer sales process and interaction with multiple stakeholders. It also calls for spending more time building trust and educating customers and employees. Therefore, the SaaS brand-building process differs from others. Let's consider the basic steps businesses must take at the early stages of their existence to underlie solid ground for future success.
Step 1 – Start with nailing fundamental elements.
Understanding the nature and dynamics of complicated relationships among fundamental elements such as company, product, audience, and market is crucial. Ask yourself these questions:
- What unique value does your product offer?
- What position in the market should your company occupy?
- What distinguishes your company from the competition?
- Who is your ideal customer?
The best way is to talk to current and potential customers and team members (especially customer-facing employees). Each will share a unique perspective and provide instrumental insights on building a brand.
Step 2 – Lay out the essential brand characteristics.
After thorough research, the time has come to document everything and shape your brand's image. This implies determining such critical factors as a story, vision, mission, audience, niche or sub-niche, personality, voice, tone of voice, positioning statement, and audience pain points.
Over time, this documentation will evolve and grow. However, this is enough to understand who you are, who you serve, and how a service meets the current market's needs. This is also a cornerstone of defining short-term and long-term goals and planning strategies.
Step 3 – Translate vision into assets.
At this point, the company should move into creating design and the look and feel of a brand. It should use time-proven elements of graphic language such as color, typography, photography, patterns, icons, and shapes to illustrate a brand's values and paint the general picture. As a rule, it is here where the logo and brand system are born.
Companies should also create a brand storefront for various touchpoints: website, social media profiles, emails, etc.
Step 4 – Develop a content marketing strategy.
Having visual assets is just half of the battle. It is crucial to speak directly to the audience and humanize the communication. Content marketing (usually in promotional pieces and blog posts) delivers the message and brings value to the market.
It reveals the story behind the brand and promotes its vision and ideology, turning prospects into customers. It is a pivotal tool in brand building that helps companies move to another stage of development and reach short-term goals.
Step 5 – Capitalize on digital marketing channels.
The best way to grow your brand and cement its position in the market is through maximizing communication across all touchpoints.
Touchpoint is a point of interaction between a company and its clients and perspectives. It is how the audience discovers your brand and gets all the crucial information to decide whether to deal with you. Every touchpoint is a critical moment representing your brand and generating certain emotions and feelings in your customers. Product usage, sales conversations, customer chat support, interaction with website or landing page, opening email, and responses to advertisements are the most popular.
Step 6 – Prioritize customer service.
There are multiple touchpoints, and each one plays a crucial role in brand building. However, when you are at the early stage, customer service matters most, especially for SaaS companies that should prioritize the post-purchase stage to keep users from churning.
Customer service is a direct connection between the company and customers. It can be the only connection for some companies at this lifecycle stage. Here, all the concerns and issues are addressed, and valuable information on improvements is collected.
Customer service is also the one that forms a brand's reputation. It reveals the company's genuine attitude towards the customers and uncovers its responsibilities and culture. According to HubSpot, almost 80% of consumers decide whether or not to do business with a company based on customer service.
How to Build Trust with the Audience?
The subscription model at the core of SaaS companies makes the industry unique. Here, the path to success lies in establishing and reinforcing trust over time. This is why customer service should be prioritized. However, it is not the only one that makes the company trustworthy. Another crucial aspect is the unique selling proposition.
A unique selling proposition clarifies how your brand and service differ from the competition and how they are superior. It defines the company's prime approach to reaching the audience and underlies a path to achieving short-term goals.
It focuses on marketing strategy and influences messaging. It makes decisions tailored to the brand and helps the company stay consistent across all distribution and communication channels.
A Checklist for the Right SaaS Branding Roadmap
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to SaaS branding because every company is unique. However, the roadmap is pretty similar for each of them. Let's consider the main points.
Develop a high-quality product
A product needs to be flawless and provide a unique value. Make sure it has a competitive advantage and meets the relevant market needs.
Create a strong brand identity
List the characteristics, define your personality, and document all vital branding elements. This includes vision, mission, voice, language, unique selling proposition, target audience, and position statement.
Design a brand-tailored visual identity
Whatever design idea you have in mind, you must stay true to every aspect of the persona you have built for your brand at the previous stage. Hire a professional design agency to create a good logo, typography, color scheme, imagery, and other graphical material crucial for marketing assets.
Develop marketing assets
Marketing assets come in different forms. However, at an early stage, a SaaS company needs a website, content, and email design.
Reimplementing brand values across all platforms and communications is critical to sustaining customer loyalty. Educating personnel (especially customer-facing employees) maintains a unified vision of the company crucial to making the right decisions, cultivating the brand's aficionados within the company, and leaving a strong positive impression every time customers interact with the service.
Decide on distribution channels
There are numerous ways to reach the audience. However, it is vital not to overdo it at an early stage. Focus on channels where the most significant part of your target audience exists. Create marketing assets to promote your brand there. Monitor and track key performance indicators every week and month to prioritize channels that yield better results.
Consistency goes a long way. It is the key to success at every stage, even when you have only embarked on the journey. Familiarity and stability are hallmark traits of all industry leaders. Therefore, stick to your core identity and pray your way.
Keep up with the tendencies
Keep up with the trends and new technologies to improve your brand. Adopt techniques the target audience expects from you and try to become a thoughtful leader in your field.
SaaS services are created to meet consumer pain points and provide solutions to relevant needs. However, this is not usually enough to be successful and competitive in an oversaturated market, especially at an early lifecycle stage. It is here where branding comes into force and helps the company to become a strong player in the market.
Branding goes far beyond creating a logotype and website. It contains rules, guides, accepted behavior patterns, and communication routines. It glues everything together and creates a unified space where employees perfectly co-exist, and customers and prospects are naturally turned into the company's fans. It plays a huge role in long-term success and winning a place in the niche.