Guest post by Food Startup Branding 101 instructor Julia Wu.
If there is one thing I’ve discovered in my years of creating marketing strategies for clients, it’s that there is nothing harder than doing it for yourself. This is especially true for startups. While founders are driven by an internal vision for their company’s future, they’re often standing too close to the business to effectively translate this for customers. I co-created the Food Startup Branding 101 course with this exact problem in mind: we strive to help companies understand what goes into building a brand and give them the tools they’ll need to navigate the process.
We have often said that our workshops offer a “DIY” approach to branding, but I’ve lately thought that perhaps the term “DIT” (Do it Together) is even more appropriate. While startup founders should own and drive brand formation, we encourage them to seek the input of customers, advisors and friends to make their brands stronger. Last week, I was thrilled to help a food tech startup called Feasted take a “DIT” approach, during an all-hands strategy session hosted by the consultancy I work for, Luminary Labs.
Let me start by saying that the team behind Feasted is AWESOME, and so fully committed to their vision of bringing nutritious meal kits to families in food deserts. Their food can be purchased with EBT, delivering on their promise that family mealtime should feel luxurious, without being a luxury. Beautiful, right? It should come as no surprise that they won the recent Women’s Health Codeathon, and engender love and support from nearly everyone they meet.
During the event, as they consulted a room full of experts on various business, tech, and branding questions, I was delighted to see that in less than an hour we were able to help the team challenge assumptions, reconsider their positioning basics, and guide new areas of opportunity for their upcoming pilot in the South Bronx. As I watched this collaborative approach in action, I took away a few lessons for other brand-building startups:
Building anything from scratch is hard work, and as all start-ups know, a brand is no exception. But remember, that even though your business card may say CEO, you don’t have to do it alone. There is a world of passionate experts, customers, and friends out there who are eager to provide guidance and feedback. And with the right preparation, you’ll be ready to do it together.
Julia is a Communications Strategist at Luminary Labs where she brings her background in digital strategy,audience insights, and influencer marketing to client innovation projects.
Prior to joining Luminary Labs, Julia worked as Director of Marketing Strategy at Bond Strategy and Influence on corporate digital strategy, as well as entertainment marketing and innovation initiatives. Julia also previously worked at OMD as a Digital Media Strategist and prior to that, managed development for an arts organization.
Julia loves bringing her big brand experience to the small businesses world, and is currently teaching a branding workshop for Food + Tech Connect’s start-up community. She received her B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU.