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Vincent Sünderhauf and Sebastian Petrov from seosupport on the topic of brand building – how to become a brand as a startup

If you mention names like Coca-Cola, Apple or Facebook, most people immediately have a clear picture in mind. But why are some brands so strongly anchored in our imagination? What makes them so effective and how can you systematically develop them yourself? SEO and online reputation experts Vincent Sünderhauf and Sebastian Petrov from seosupport answer these and other questions in this article.

  • The most important dimensions of the brand concept
    • Legal brand term
    • Marketing-related brand concept
  • What advantages does a brand offer
    • Elaborate the own brand core
    • Identify the benefits of the own brand
    • Communicate the brand effectively to the outside world
    • Critically scrutinize brand communication
  • Conclusion
  • About seosupport

The most important dimensions of the brand concept

When dealing with the topic of brand building in more detail, it is advisable to first distinguish between the legal and the marketing-related dimensions of the brand concept.

Legal brand concept

In the legal sense, a trademark is a legally protected sign of origin that distinguishes a company’s products and services from competing products. As an intangible asset, it represents an essential legal asset in the field of competition law, which enjoys special protection under the Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Other Distinctive Marks.

Marketing-related trademark concept

In the marketing context, the term is used in a broader sense. Here, it also stands for the unmistakable image of a company and its products, which is intended to make it attractive to potential customers, applicants, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Brand-forming characteristics are manifested at all levels of the marketing mix. In terms of price, for example, a distinction is made between low-price and luxury brands, while design decisions have an influence on whether products are more interesting for young lifestyle-oriented or for older conservative consumers. Furthermore, the design of the POS experience or the preference for certain distribution channels open up scope for giving brands specific characteristics such as exclusivity or respectability.

In principle, a brand can be defined as the totality of all characteristics that distinguish companies and their marketing mix from competing companies and shape their stakeholder relationships in a specific way. The purpose of brand development (brand building) is, on the one hand, to create competitive advantages and, on the other hand, to provide reliable legal protection.

What advantages does a brand offer?

For startups, strategic brand management goes hand in hand with a number of advantages. The following points deserve special attention:

  • Creation of trust and transparency
  • Competitive advantages independent of product prices
  • Synergy effects through committed brand ambassadors
  • Increase of the company value
  • Simplification of stringent corporate communications
  • Increased impact of marketing measures
  • Greater attractiveness for advertising partners

This selection already shows that it is worthwhile for startups to invest in building a strong brand image. The most important thing here is a long-term strategy.

The most important principles in building a unique brand

The topic of brand building opens up a wide range of potential for startups, but it also harbors risks. In many companies, for example, budgets are distributed ineffectively and communication measures are not coherently coordinated. Typical consequences are high costs and loss of credibility. That’s why company founders should follow a few principles when building their own brand.

Work out your own brand essence

Startups in particular tend to search the market for successful companies, analyze their external image and copy obvious unique selling points such as web designs, color codes and communication styles in the belief that they will be just as successful.

In reality, however, such characteristics do not help to achieve success simply because they appeal to the basic psychological needs of their target group. To a considerable extent, they are also effective because they accurately reflect the essence of the company behind them.

If, for example, a news format like C-SPAN from the USA, which deliberately reflects the country’s political scene in an unfiltered way, relies on an equally unbiased, minimalist ad layout for its rebranding, this underlines its credibility. If a provider of cozy interiors were to make use of such a communication method, this would counteract the essence of its company.

It is therefore important for startups to first determine their identity and brand core. To do this, it is advisable to conduct recorded interviews with all stakeholders – from management and employees to suppliers and external social interest groups.

Identifying the benefits of your brand

Brand building is not simply about presenting your products and your company in the most individual way possible. According to recent studies, designs that are solely dedicated to an end in themselves are hardly accepted by the target group. This is mainly due to the fact that they primarily expect one thing from a company – a benefit.

Accordingly, it is important to use one’s own brand image to communicate to the outside world how one enriches the lives of one’s target group. There are plenty of examples of this. At the time, for example, the Praktiker home improvement chain positioned itself with its claim “Geht nicht, gibt’s nicht.” This conveyed the message to its customers that Praktiker supports them in realizing their dreams.

Another good example is the Austrian energy drink manufacturer Red Bull, which builds its image not only with its slogan “Red Bull verleiht Flügel” (Red Bull gives wings), but above all with its sponsorship of a wide variety of extreme sports events. Here, the brand not only stands for a recognition value, but also for an enrichment of the target group’s everyday life.

Communicating the brand effectively to the outside world

The conception of a brand image fizzles out ineffectively if it is not communicated systematically and with commitment to the outside world. Since the activities of companies are increasingly shifting to the online sphere, the topic of SEO plays a decisive role in this. Only if companies are found online under the relevant search queries will their target group take notice of them. It is therefore advisable to invest in long-term SEO support and the expansion of one’s own visibility.

No less important is the online protection of one’s own reputation. In the age of social media, companies are constantly threatened by shit storms and negative customer reviews. In this context, the main thing is to proactively strengthen one’s own reputation and restore it with quick and effective measures in the event of damage. This is where online reputation management plays a key role.

Critically scrutinize brand communication

Companies would do well to view every communication as a test situation in which their brand image must prove itself to their target group. In this context, regular employee training and constant critical scrutiny of the company’s own stakeholder communications play a particularly important role. Team-building measures and recurring events also help to strengthen employees’ identification with the company and thus the consistency of the brand image communicated to the outside world.


A brand is a complex structure of corporate characteristics, product characteristics and stakeholder communication. Only those who understand it as a strategic problem area to be worked on in the long term and consistently align it with their own corporate identity will be successful in the long term in times of increasingly global competition.

About seosupport

seosupport GmbH is a specialist for search engine optimization, ads campaigns and online reputation. As a full-service agency, it helps companies to generate more sales via the Internet by positioning websites at the top of Google and to position themselves as a brand online.

seosupport GmbH is a specialist in search engine optimization, ads campaigns and online reputation. As a full-service agency, it helps companies generate more sales via the Internet and position themselves as a brand online by positioning websites in the top positions on Google.

The agency has been 100 percent owner-managed since it was founded in 2006. The managing directors, consisting of Sebastian Petrov and Vincent Sünderhauf, are known nationwide as experts in the field of online marketing, authors of specialist books and leaders in advising companies on all aspects of web-based sales and online reputation.

seosupport’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, major international corporations and leading DAX groups, as well as companies in the SME sector.

Recommended reading:
Smart David vs. Digital Goliath – How to beat the big guys with intelligent search engine optimization

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