You were The eFactory’s July speaker talking about business branding. What is the most important aspect of branding for startups?
Consistency. Make brand guidelines and follow them. Your brand is more than a logo. It’s the messaging, how you talk to consumers, colors, photography and architecture. Make sure that’s right in the first place. Focus on the bigger picture and talk in the same tone of voice all the time.
How do they find that voice?
What are 10 words to describe your company? What are 10 words not to use? Know your brand and target demographic. Give them a name, job, salary. Really break down that person, and you’ll find the best way to talk to that person. Keep asking the questions and writing down answers until you can figure out how you view the brand.
What is the No. 1 mistake startups make with branding?
Not putting in the investment and making sure it’s done right. Not realizing the value upfront and not going ahead and making sure you invest in that.
What have you learned from your own startup experience?
Ask for advice. Find industry people who have done a good job. The Springfield community is very open to helping. Find people who have done a really good job and then pick their brain and let them tell you what they will.
Starting a business is a big deal. What would you say to those thinking about it?
Be willing to work harder than anyone else. You’re going to wake up earlier, and go to sleep after everyone else. You work while everyone else is going out. It’s a big, scary thing. Stick to your guns. Set your price, (but) give your work away if you have to. Those little jobs you do for a bar tab turn into someone asking, “Where did you get that?” Suddenly, they’re willing to pay for it and you’re making a ton of money.
WalletHub.com recently ranked Springfield No. 11 on its list of America’s most startup-friendly municipalities. Do you agree?
Springfield is incredible for startups. Missouri State University is a really good school. We’re creating a lot of talent there. We have programs like The eFactory. I’ve never seen anything else like that where the university is putting money into helping foster people’s businesses get started in Springfield, and then hiring out through grants to bolster entrepreneurship. It’s incredible. There’s low cost of living and that helps a lot to get startup capital. Generally, people here are just super nice and willing to help out and shop local and willing to go to your bar or restaurant and buy your product because it’s here in Springfield.
How do your skills cultivated with Deep Fried Design Studio translate to your job marketing Mother’s Brewing Co.?
Mother’s requires a boatload of creative strategy work. Knowing how to problem solve from a design and writing standpoint, and also how to manage and execute a creative strategy, are the biggest assets I bring.
Josh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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