How do you make something out of nothing? That’s the question for the brand planner when working on a startup.
When I was hire #1 at Zude as marketing director, brand strategy was one of my jobs. I didn’t start brand planning in earnest for months while the CTO and CEO were building, raising and creating the physical business. In previous blog posts I’ve suggested the first thing one must do when developing brand strategy for a start-up is “follow the patent.” I stand by that.
Startups, as you know, are quite fluid. It’s product and code first, business requirements second. And what the build is one day it may not be the next. So when it comes to customer care-abouts, that’s the easy part – unless you are breaking new functional ground. It’s the brand good-ats that are hard. There are none.
So what does the brand planner do at this stage? Keep following the patent. Have daily observation and update sessions with development team, even for a few minutes. Insinuate yourself into the product development process in a positive way. Offer help as needed. Do not get in the way of the creativity. Provide marketing stim to the team — subconsciously, it can help. And continue to play back (to the dev team) any recurring patterns that smell like good-ats.
It’s a gnarly time. Work to enjoy it.