November 20 2015

Startups: Do this, or fail.

story-01

 

Humans tell stories.

 

We all do it, basically all the time. From the narratives we tell about ourselves on that first date to the tweet about that weird guy in the elevator, every day, we craft stories to suit our purposes.

 

It amazes me, though, how little thought and effort goes into this aspect of human nature when creating, developing, and marketing new startups. When funding is low, and the pace is unbelievably fast, I can understand the initial thought of, “We’ll hire a designer/deal with content creation later.” I get it. It seems like a luxury. And once upon a time, maybe it was.

 

But today, it isn’t. Nope. Not at all.

 

“But… like… what if my product is really amazing and speaks for itself?”

 

First of all, it probably isn’t and probably doesn’t. Not to be a bummer, but it’s true. We’ve all heard that saying that at least 10 other people are having the same idea as you. That being the case, what separates the winners from the losers?

 

Your story.

 

I don’t mean the story of how your company got started, although that may shape the story that I am referencing. I mean the story your company is telling via social media, branding, marketing, product design, hiring practices, the events in which your company partakes, what others are saying about you (or aren’t saying), what employees are saying about you, what your office looks like, the way your employees dress, the hours your employees work… basically everything.

 

If you aren’t telling an interesting and cohesive story, you are at a major disadvantage.

 

Think about a brand you keep going back to. For example, I love Target. Love is a pretty strong word. Let me rephrase: I shop at Target more than I shop anywhere else. There. I feel better about myself now.

 

But why do I choose Target for my shopping needs?

 

It isn’t one thing. It’s the combination of many things. I love being able to get a Starbucks latte when I arrive; The cashiers are always friendly to me; I never feel lost or overwhelmed at Target. The lighting is comfortable. The design is fun. I like the clothes; I like the prices; I like the new gender-neutral design of their toy section; I can get most everything I need in one stop; I can shop online, if I so choose. The Target website is easy-to-use. And I don’t feel weird shopping there. Aka: In the story of my day that I tell friends and family, I feel okay saying, “I went to Target today.”

 

All of those components contribute to Target’s story. Target is the fun, easy-to-shop, hip on a budget, socially-conscious, enjoy your coffee while you browse kind of place for all ages and all incomes.

 

And that isn’t all by accident. All of those components were very carefully put into place by a team at Target.

 

Your startup needs that same consideration. If you’re a software company, your UX needs to feel as comfortable and delightful as walking around with my buggie full of adorable scarves while sipping my latte feels. Your product needs to fit perfectly well into my story. I need to feel like it makes sense with my lifestyle. Because that’s what will keep me coming back.

 

So if your social media, marketing, company culture and leadership aren’t communicating a unified, appropriate and interesting story, you’re asking to fail.

 

Like a Target in Canada.

 

What are your favorite brands? What stories are they telling? Let us know with a comment or a tweet!

 

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This post was written by Katlyn Whittenburg, the Social Media Manager at Lamp Post Group. Stay up to date on what we are doing! Follow us on:

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