Startups seem like a world of their own. With specific codes and language, and a unique culture when it comes to collaboration with other creatives firms. Having been creative partners with Uber for more than two years, we had a deep insight on how startups think and function. Yet, the way they approach ‘branding’ for themselves remains a thing to explore.
As Noise 13’s Director of New Business, I attended Twitter Hatch, organized by Twitter, on August 11th to find answers as young startups pitched their ideas in this unique competition.
In January 2015, Twitter opened its first competition for startups to pitch their concepts to a prestigious jury at Twitter: Wayne Chang, Head Of Product Marketing (Fabric), Jana Messerschmidt, VP at Global Business Development & Platform and Prashant Sridharan, Global Director Of Developer & Platform Relations.
- $2M or less in funding
- Less than $10M in total revenue
- Headquartered in the eligible regions*
- Incorporated Fabric or Twitter API into the app/solution
- 1:1 mentor session with a Twitter executive
- Twitter Ad Credits to promote your business
- VIP access to Twitter Developer Events in 2015
In a room packed with hundreds of people at Twitter HQ, 10 excited finalists had a chance to present their concept in 2 minutes to the audience and the jury and you could feel the excitement and pride fill the room.
As a whole, the app ideas were interesting and ultimately I was glad my favorite won. As I chatted with various people around the room, it was evident Bridgefy was a crowd favorite. Bridgefy positions itself as, “The messaging app that works without Internet or SMS. Perfect for music festivals, stadiums, natural disasters and much more.” Though natural disasters aren’t a fun topic to discuss it was an important talking point for their team.
At Noise 13, we are always curious to know why startups don’t include branding in their process. If the product is effective and the company’s big picture strategy is defined, we believe that branding is key piece missing from most startups’ initial lists. To figure out why so many startups neglect the visuals of their brand, I talked to different people in the room to gain insights on why branding often comes last, and sometimes comes too late.
Feedback I Received:
- We focus on product quality first. If our app does not work, no one will use it.
- We think we don’t have the budget so we do a temporary branding in house and then hope we’ll figure out later when the product is selling.
- We want to stay as broad and open as possible in terms of branding to leave room for changes of target audiences, company strategy and so on. We intentionally avoid a brand identity that is specific to avoid segmentation at the early stage of our development.
I’m glad I had these discussions because even if we understand the thought process on these topics, I had a chance to better analyze why our paths don’t necessarily cross and provide startup owners with another perspective. Majority of the people I talked with had the same goal, create something that makes a difference and has staying power, not just another gadget.
We encourage startups to get in touch with us, or firms like us, because we think brand identity, positioning and messaging belong with each other. With a stunning design, a consistent brand system will showcase that they are not just another app. Inserting visual language that is consistent with the big picture vision of the company is pivotal. Founders of startups carry a strong vision and branding brings these dreams to fruition. We understand why startups want to try things before making a commitment, test their markets, leave room for growth, but a tailored design, implemented at the right time, will make their product shine in their industry. In the end, we did agree that usability and function are at the core of most startups. As users of these products ourselves, we take user experience seriously and make it a priority in our approach with each client.
Take a peek at the finalists, make sure to follow them! Need help in any stage of your creation or have any questions… reach out to us, we are to help!
2nd place @CityFalconFolio
3rd place @haystacktv