Why brand building is a marathon, not a sprint

A marathon strikes us as the perfect metaphor for brand building as it rewards patience. Like any meaningful business objective, building a strong brand takes time, intention, and consistency.

It is common for startups to primarily focus on conversion rates and customer acquisition, allowing them to rapidly increase business growth. Successful business owners, however, must be able to sprint and simultaneously establish long-term business goals.

In addition to short-term spurts, including giving customers clear reasons why they should buy a product or service, businesses need to take the time to evaluate their story and develop a brand-building strategy to create a strong market position.

“While the pursuit of quick wins and conversions provide a short-term boost, it inevitably takes away from long-term branding work. Broad storytelling and communication towards new target groups are crucial to differentiate a company against its competitors,” says Anders Kempe, CEO and founder of Bellbird.

The way he sees it, quantifiable activities – such as customer retargeting and direct conversions – may give quick results and boost quarterly earnings, while brand work takes time and will bear fruit down the road.

”When your budget is very limited and everyone is looking for a quick payoff from their investments, prioritizing brand building over direct conversion can be difficult.”

Given that sales and revenue are key to basic financial survival as a corporate entity, branding is one of the most valuable assets to an organization’s long-term success. That is why startups should set a strategy that combines conversion marketing and brand building.
“There is a great advantage to separating the marketing budget to earmark spending for long-term as well as short-term efforts and activities. It helps you avoid budget shortfalls in cases where other business areas tend to take priority,” says Anders Kempe.

Increasing brand awareness, which is the way customers recognize and remember your business, helps expand reach and generate new sales. Building a strong brand helps you build (and maintain) customer loyalty and is central to ensuring a competitive advantage, which is why Anders Kempe believes it should be a key objective in every startup’s long-term business goals.

“Business owners should embark on their brand journey with one clear takeaway in mind: don’t procrastinate or overlook brand building in the pursuit of quick wins,” he concludes.

Read the full report

Eleven takeaways from the Swedish startup scene

Bellbird has taken a closer look at the Swedish startup scene to find out how the success stories of today build their brands. These insights have resulted in eleven takeaways about brand building, which are useful for startups and established companies that want to take their branding, communication and marketing to the next level.


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