OK so my new book Founder Brand comes out on 2.15.22. It’s all about building your brand around your founder’s story and helping you to bring personality and realness to your marketing. Trust me, in those early startup days, audience building and engagement is everything. You can join the waiting list at founderbrand.com to get updates about the book and more fun things leading up to launch. For now, here’s a little teaser for all the startup founders and marketers out there. This is pulled straight from the book.
Ok technically this is still just more foreword, but I promise I’m getting to the excerpt in a second. I just wanted to set the stage a little. The reason I wrote this book is to first and foremost help founders and marketers alike run or be apart of a successful marketing team. And I believe that one of the best, and most overlooked, ways to do that is to build a brand around the founder’s story.
Everyone is pushing their features, their 80+ integrations, their new partnership with a video platform that no one’s ever heard of. It’s white noise. But if in the early days of your business, you choose to focus on your story over features, then you’ve got a way to cut through all that noise. Where did your founder come from? What pushed him/her to create this new innovation? What was the aha moment where they discovered a gap in the market? That’s compelling.
If you can be honest with your customers from the jump and share the highs, the lows, the wins, the losses — all that mess that comes with building a brand from scratch — then you have something. Then you start to build trust and a level of engagement with your audience that sets you apart from your competitors. And this book is meant to help you get there. Ok, NOW here’s the excerpt:
The Founder Advantage
Today, people want to buy from people. We want to work with people who we know, like, and trust. And this is why I believe that the clearest path to success in marketing (if your goal is to build awareness for your brand) is to start with the founder. A founder with a brand gives your marketing efforts superpowers. A founder brand builds trust, creates lasting relationships, and conveys expertise, leadership, content, and personality.
Let’s look at the benefit each superpower brings to your marketing efforts:
• Trust: People want to buy from people, and we want to trust the brands we buy. When the founder and brand coincide, people feel they’re buying from a person they can trust, not an anonymous brand— and that trust transfers to the brand or product. Founders give a sense of authority and believability.
• Expertise: The founder often has deep expertise/ experience in an industry, and people want to be led by an expert. Whether I am going to the doctor, buying a car, building a house, getting personal training, or in need of sales training, I want to work with an expert. Customers are more skeptical than ever, and one way to cut through that skepticism is to lead with your expertise. The founder is often uniquely positioned to do this.
• Leadership: Every great movement has a leader. Clearly announcing who the leader is and what the leader does gives credibility to your brand. Steve Jobs was the leader of the “Think Different” movement for Apple, but even on a smaller scale, people want a leader. If you are a startup in the financial world, the opportunity is not just to offer a product, but to teach people a new way of thinking about finance for the future. And the best way to get that story to stick is to have it be told by a person, not a faceless brand. The founder should be the leader of your movement. The spokesperson. The person to know, like, trust, and follow.
• Content: Because the founder is an expert, they often have the most “internal knowledge” about the industry, the market, the competition, the landscape, the best practices, and the trends. At Drift David Cancel’s knowledge of the needs in product marketing comes to mind. His unique experience after twenty years in the sales and marketing industry gave the Drift team an incredible advantage because the founders had deep experience in this industry. We used that to our advantage to create content that would resonate with our audience. I didn’t have all the marketing experience in the world as a twenty-eight-year-old marketing manager, but I could lean on the founders who did, and my job was to help amplify those stories.
• Personality: The brands that attract and create superfans today are the ones that are real, authentic, and human. Founders often have some type of interesting personality trait, history, stories, and, of course, quirks. All of this can build an authentic brand. Use the founder’s personality to your advantage. People want the real you, not that corporate, stuffy version.
• Relationships: Founders have the relationships with investors, advisors, partners, industry analysts, and influencers. All of that can be used to your advantage in marketing because it gives you an incredible perspective on what is happening in your industry. The way to become a leader in your industry is not to promote your product 24/7 but to add value to others (ideally your potential customers). Founders are in so many interesting conversations each week, and all of that can build a brand by doing your work in public. Share commentary on meetings you had, people you met with, trends you’re seeing.
Use these relationships to your advantage as a content creator.
OK that’s enough for now. I’m starting to get excited as this is becoming more and more real.
We’re on track to start selling copies on 2.15.22, but I’d love to do some pre-order stuff for DGMG members as soon as I can. Stay tuned. More updates coming soon 🙂
Actually one last thing. Can you help me spread the word about Founder Brand? I’d love to get more people on the waiting list. Here’s a tweet you can send.