Joe: Well, in a startup world, where you’re kind of always marketing towards customer development and product market fit and, we stay pretty focused in that. Is there an ‘Aha’ moment for a company or a time when we start shifting gears and start thinking about their brand?
Laurel Mintz: I think that that’s a conversation you should be having in the very beginning. There’s a couple of things that we find as an agency are really non-negotiables and developing a brand is definitely one of those because it’s the first impression that any consumer or client has about your company, and you want to make sure that that evokes the right kind of message. So, we have a lot of our companies go out and do kind of some brand building exercises where they come up with adjectives and descriptors and wave that they want their brand to come across and the feelings and the emotions behind the look and feel of their brand. And, I also think that the word brand is kind of muddled in the marketing conversation, so it’s important that people understand the difference.
Joe: So, it’s difficult to shift a brand, isn’t it, can a startup really know what their brand is? Do they have to know what it is?
Laurel: I think it’s important to understand the brand or at least what you want the brand to be initially. But, I think the beauty of the startup world is that you can pivot so quickly when you’re a small, nimble company that’s the beauty in it, is that you are out there experiencing the world reflected through your brand and your company and if you see some things working or some things not, you know, a good leader in a startup or even in an emerging company knows how to pivot the message and the brand quickly.
Joe: Does the marketing guy sit on the back side roll his eyes when that’s going on because he’s got all his energy and time developing a brand, and he’s like ‘Okay’?
Laurel: Well, I think, I guess my question to you is ‘what do you think a brand is’. So, is a brand to you the overall entire look and feel or is a brand something bigger in your mind?
Joe: Well, I think that brand incorporates the vision a little bit, doesn’t it? I mean it’s the look and the feel but it’s who I want to be and who I want my customers to be.
Laurel: I think that is exactly right, and I think that a brand, the look and feel of the logo, for example, can remain the same even if the market is shifting. So, I think when it comes to pivoting for a startup, for example, it’s about shifting the messaging and the targeting in terms of where your dollar spend is going for marketing rather than changing the brand itself. Does that make sense?
Related Podcast and Transcription: A Marketing Conversation with Mintz
Laurel Mintz, CEO of Elevate My Brand is a renowned marketing professional with both an MBA and JD. Her company works with global brands such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nestle, and Popchips. She’s an expert on everything marketing, digital strategy, social media, and events.
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