Brand Workshop: A Non-Profit's Bold Mission to Bring Healthcare Together


Some brands face tougher decisions than others. For a non-profit healthcare client we worked with in September, they had a long laundry list of challenging choices to make. The brand wanted to be a mission-driven non-profit but also a fast-moving tech startup. A new organization, but one with an established history. A facilitator and someone pushing for big change.  

We started with a detailed brand audit process with twice the number of interviews with employees, board members and influencers. Then, brought everyone together in a conference room for a powerful 90-minute workshop. 

  • Can we find a "common enemy" to create an alliance in a sector of fierce competitors?
  • Which fears and hesitations are really holding back market acceptance?
  • What brand strengths are we overlooking and undervaluing?
  • How can brands navigate around challenges brought on from their past partners?
  • Do we have to use industry terminology or is there a better way?
  • Can you innovate and support a big vision while also dealing with technical challenges?
  • How do we retain early customers while continuing to grow?
  • Where do we have to choose a side? Where can we create a new category instead?

Five Ideas for Building Data into Your Brand Strategy

Udacity - Data-Driven Brand Strategy

Data analysis isn’t something that comes naturally to many of us. As someone who studied communications and graphic design in school, the phrase “pivot table” even now continues to trigger a brief flash of anxiety. Over the years, I picked up a data toolkit though osmosis, working alongside talented growth marketers, informaticists, and BI analysts in fintech and healthtech startups.

Tech companies thrive on data-driven decision making, even when it comes to creative, emotive work such as writing an inspiring origin story, defining core values, and conjuring up client personas. Our work was recently featured in the trailer and curriculum case study for Udacity’s new Data Foundations nanodegree. Students around the world got a quick look at how we use data in communications at Uncommon Bold — and hopefully were inspired to develop analytic skills to bring back to their own careers.

The videos show us pointing at spreadsheets and charts. You might want to know what we’re really doing on those laptops. Here are five of our favorite ways to use data in communications strategy:

Build data-driven personas using public profiles. All you need is a short sample list of email addresses for leads or clients to build a detailed demographic look at your company’s key personas. Use LinkedIn and Crunchbase data to fill in gender, region, title, years of experience, degrees, and anything else you can find. The results are often surprising, always insightful. You can learn more about this persona process here.

Measure competitor messaging. Identify 3–5 key terms that are important to your segment and your marketing. Pull the homepage text from your competitors and measure the frequency of these words. Wordcloud generator tools can be an easy shortcut, especially during the discovery phase. Are you the only company promoting a certain big idea? Which are the most overused terms?

Publish your own original research for content marketing. Is there a fresh question you can answer? Interesting insights from your own internal data or new ways of looking at public records — either way, there’s a lot of communications value in talking about what your company stands for by publishing data analysis. Bonus points for data that you present in an interactive graphic or make available for other people to continue investigating.

Color-code quantitative sentiment data. Interviews are a big part of brand research — asking employees, clients, and other influencers to talk about the company yields pages and pages of juicy transcripts. Presenting qualitative information from these interviews can be tricky, though. I’ve found that color-coding feedback — red for negative, yellow for mixed, green for positive, and gray for not-mentioned — can turn raw transcripts into interesting and easy-to-understand data visualizations.

Score media coverage. Rate your media coverage based on the value of the publication and the depth of the coverage. Creating a simple algorithm from these numbers turns a list of press clips into something you can measure, graph, forecast, and use to inform your media relations work. View a sample of media scoring in action here.

Do you use data in a creative way in your communications and public relations work? I’d love to hear your ideas for ways to bring data into brand strategy!

Reference Desk: Storytelling with Data

Storytelling with Data

Data-driven brand strategy is a huge part of the way we work here at Uncommon Bold. From researching personas using LinkedIn data to analyzing media mentions, we bring graphs to the table in most of our communications work.

A client introduced Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic's work to us over a business lunch on a foggy day at Burma Superstar. Her book Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals immediately forever changed the way we visualize results for clients. From her decade of analytical roles in banking, private equity, and at Google, Cole developed a mission to end pie charts. In her book and online, Cole shows step-by-step transformations of confusing, misleading and downright hideous charts into graphics that guide the viewer to clear interpretation. 

Her writing has had more impact on our studio than the last dozen business books we've read combined. We highly recommend Cole's book for anyone who even occasionally dabbles in data. 

Lyft + Blue Cross Shows the Untapped Potential of Co-Marketing Partnerships in Health Care

Lyft and Blue Cross Healthcare Partnership

Who says there’s no such thing as a free ride? Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced a partnership with the ride-sharing app Lyft this week. Together, the two companies are offering patients across the country a free ride to their doctor’s appointments.

It’s a perfect co-marketing marriage between two brands: Lyft, which is positioned as the happy, friendly alternative to Uber’s evil empire, and BCBSA, which markets around delivering exceptional quality care to patients. Everyone wins: Grandma gets a free ride to her endocrinology appointment. Lyft gets introduced to a new customer. Doctors get fewer no-shows. BCBSA gets improved diabetes HEDIS scores and better reimbursements.

This innovative partnership is not just good marketing, it’s also a sign of healthcare’s tectonic shift away from fee-for-service to value-based care. It now (literally) pays to deliver an exceptional customer service experience to patients.

As a brand strategist in healthcare, I love this transition! Healthcare companies now have real financial incentive to shake off the generic “healthcare solutions”/“we care about patients”/stock-photo-of-a-smiling-doctor branding. It’s time to get bolder, to have more fun delivering exceptional patient experiences. The opportunities are endless.

Even small brand experience tactics have been shown to have a big impact on patient outcomes. Letting patients choose music to play during their surgery improves recovery, for example. There’s also studies on the impact of foot massages, hospital room paint colorsflowershospital gardenstext messages, and even physician clothing choices.

I look forward to Sutter Health and Zappos teaming to deliver custom-fit crutches to my house. Instacart and Aetna suggesting low-sodium options in a hypertensive’s shopping cart. HotelTonight helping with last-minute bookings for the family of someone in the ICU. Munchery delivering home meals to new parents in their first week out of the maternity ward.

Value-based care isn’t just great news for patients, it’s also unlocking bold opportunities for healthcare brands to redefine care.

Brand Workshop: Naming a New Digital Health Startup

Most of our clients at Uncommon Bold are established startups facing a brand crossroad. Occasionally, we have an opportunity to jump in at the very start of something new! In April, we worked with the founder of a digital health startup here in San Francisco to develop a name and brand direction for her new venture.

The startup naming process can be frustrating. It's easy to fall in love with a name just to discover that it isn't available after a quick online search. We have a naming system at Uncommon Bold that helps remove this frustration early while still promoting creativity and getting to a name quickly. Trying to develop a startup name on your own? Here are some of our favorite ways to search for naming options: 

  • Research the history of important figures related to the company's mission. Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell had a dog named Trouve that he tried to teach how to talk?
  • Use baby name data to search for name meanings and trends. 
  • Brush off your Latin to dive deep into the root meanings of words. 
  • Look around the world for translations in other languages. 
  • Try smashing together different words to make something new.  
  • Search on Pinterest or Behance for images that embody your brand. What names are inspired from those visuals?
  • Explore slang and rare terminology from related industries. For example: "riprap" which is used by lighthouse operators to refer to broken rocks used to stop erosion. 

Brand Workshop: Differentiating Based on Ethics in Healthcare

It's hard enough to stand out as a healthcare company, even harder to try to stand above. In April, Uncommon Bold hosted a Florida healthcare company for a brand workshop in San Francisco. The company operates in a segment of the market dogged with fraudulent activity. Feeling frustrated, they wanted to not only show their legitimacy as a business, but to clearly communicate their mission and work to set a higher standard. 

Uncommon Bold conducted a brand audit that reviewed previous marketing materials, explored the challenges of their industry and interviewed employees and clients. The client's custom brand strategy workshop focused on:

  • Balancing the company's mission with the economic realities of healthcare transformation
  • Exploring external validators, including becoming B-Corporation Certified
  • Developing strategic partnerships with healthcare influencers
  • Communicating a company "manifesto" both internally and externally
  • Ranking and understanding key audiences
  • Innovative ways to establish donation and award programs
  • How to stay focused on the mission and avoid chasing time-consuming distractions
  • The risks and rewards of differentiation around company ethics 

Building B2B Brand Personas using LinkedIn Data


Personas are one of those branding projects that always seem to get pushed off for months. Often, the persona projects are either too theoretical (based on hunches more than data and easily dismissed) or too deep (bogged down in too many client interviews, surveys, and focus groups). By the time the personas are actually sketched out, they might be months out of date and fairly worthless.

This is unfortunate because personas can be a powerful branding tool. A well-developed persona gives your team perspective about who they’re working for, energy to design new products, and insight into how to effectively market.

To create personas efficiently, you need to base your research on a set of quickly accessible, real data — data that can be measured and validated but that don’t require extensive, and expensive, research work. LinkedIn, with its network of 460 million professional profiles, is the perfect match for the B2B branding work we do at Uncommon Bold. Here’s how to use publicly available LinkedIn information to develop a data-driven look at your company’s most valuable customers in just a few days: 

  1. Extract a sample — Start with a sample record of 100–300 clients or leads. It might be last month’s sales pipeline. Or a segment of most active or most valuable customers. Or a list pulled from your most recent net promoter survey. You’ll need at least the first name, last name, and company name for each person. Email address can substitute for the company name if you don’t have it. If available, include additional quantitative data about client value (such as lead score or deal amount) and recent customer satisfaction scores.

  2. Investigate — Now that you have a list in place, look up each person on LinkedIn and start filling in the demographic details. At Uncommon Bold, we record gender, years of experience, degree, and current title as the baseline. Depending on your segment and what you’re trying to uncover, you might also mark if they have a specific industry membership, language spoken, location, specialty, or managerial experience. As you find each person, be sure to link to their profile for fast reference later. We usually add more categories to analyze based on what trends we find during the research process. This is a time-consuming step, but there is incredible value to looking at each individual profile and starting to pick out patterns in the profile data.

  3. Analyze — Answer the simple questions first: What is the gender breakdown of my customers? Where are they based? How senior are they in their careers? Then, pivot the data based on their value and satisfaction rating. Are your customers on the East Coast happier? Do you get most of your high-value clients from people with a specific degree? Are your buyers and users two very different kinds of personas? This lightweight data analysis often helps reveal something unexpected about your customers. For example, we often see that a company’s customer base includes more women than predicted.

  4. Generalize — Now that you have analyzed the results, you can start to sketch a data-driven picture of the personas involved in your business. Break it down into three or four personas based on the demographic data. Then, take a closer look at customers who fit those segments in detail. Are there more things you can learn online about their volunteer experience, hobbies, or companies they follow to add personality to the sketch? Conducting a few interview calls at this stage is helpful to fill in more context to match the personas you have identified.

  5. Review — When you present your persona findings to the executive team, they’ll probably seem familiar, especially to people on the sales and customer service side. At Uncommon Bold, we include existing and future customer LinkedIn profiles that fit the generalized personas to keep them grounded in reality. Work together with your team to analyze which persona is the most important to your success. Discuss how your brand is doing in meeting that persona’s needs. Are your current personas matched with your company goals? Do your personas need to change?

The advantage of this process is that it can be done quickly and repeated as your company grows and evolves. If your personas are headed in the right direction, you can always dive deeper into other data like market share, growth trends, and usability research to add more context to your initial findings. CrunchBase is a terrific secondary resource for company data if you’re working with startup companies.

By using LinkedIn data to shortcut the branding process, this process helps you create fresh, data-driven personas ready to discuss with your executive team in just a few days.

Brand Workshop: Finding an Authentic Brand Strategy while Expanding to a New Country

Expanding from Northern England to Silicon Valley is a daunting prospect for even the most dynamic tech company. For Uncommon Bold's client in November, the move opened up something of an identity crisis. The 15+ year old B2B software company was successful, but feeling uninspired about growth, next steps and how to differentiate themselves in a crowded space.

Following an extensive audit process with a dozen client and internal interviews, Uncommon Bold developed a custom workshop to help the company find their footing and accelerate growth:

  • Analyzing customer profile and NPS data to narrow a target audience
  • Identifying key customer personas
  • Mapping the emotional relationship clients have with the product and company
  • Evaluating how the company differentiates from competitors
  • Quantifying competitive messages and target audiences
  • Developing refined messaging and mission content
  • Adding a charitable mission and clarifying the company's non-profit work
  • Planning new ways for the brand to exceed expectations and build organic growth

Brand Workshop: Clarifying your Mission in a Large Non-Profit Organization

In June, Uncommon Bold was invited to work with a successful, multi-national healthcare non-profit. As the organization was hitting its 10 year anniversary, they felt increasingly cloudy about the role of their industry partnerships team. The team needed to clarify their mission, clearly outline their goals, and demonstrate their value both with partners and to internal leaders as the organization embarked on a new decade.

We developed a custom workshop to sort through the key value the industry partnerships groups served:

  • Interviewing internal stakeholders and external partners
  • Identifying core audiences the team wanted to reach
  • Developing persona profiles for the key audiences
  • Highlighting the true ROI of partnership
  • Unifying different channels under a single mission and goal
  • Pinpointing gaps in the non-profit's relationship with partners
  • Shifting the role of the non-profit from watchdog to consultant
  • Creating a wireframe deck that explains their mission and role
  • Refactoring their lead process to be more exclusive

Health Startups & the "Bikini Medicine" Problem


Halle Tecco, founder of Rock Health, hosted a fantastic lunch in April for women entrepreneurs to discuss innovation and opportunity in reproductive health. One of the common themes that emerged in the discussion was the way startups focused on women's health are often dismissed as "niche" markets or "bikini medicine" by investors. This in a segment covering 51% of the global population. And, in the fertility sector alone, easily as many as 1 in 7 US women and a $4 billion market.

How do we work on this? First, more lunches and meetings like the one Halle hosted. There are incredible women working in health technology today who deserve recognition. Second, more women in health technology and our associated VC landscape in general. Rock Health provides shocking data on this gap:

  • Despite making up more than half the healthcare workforce, women represent only 21% of executives and 21% of board members at Fortune 500 healthcare companies.
  • There’s only one woman CEO of a Fortune 500 healthcare company.
  • Women make up only 6% of digital health CEOs funded in the last four years.
  • Women represent only 10% of partners, those responsible for making final investment decisions, in 148 VC firms that invest in digital health.

At every stage of innovation, simply having more women's voices involved could help bring this sector from "bikini" to the next "boom."

Brand Workshop: How to Reignite a Successful 7 Year Startup Story


In March, Uncommon Bold traveled to sunny Florida to host a brand workshop with a large digital health company. This growth-stage startup has seen a lot of success, but felt that their focus and story had become diluted over the years as they grew and served new markets. They needed to get back to their core mission as a company. In the workshop, we addressed:

  • Differentiating your company by brand instead of features or price
  • Narrowing the target market with both sales, management and marketing input
  • How to stand out in a crowded and complex sector
  • How to build buzz when your key audience is fairly isolated from the rest of the sector
  • Using data to re-set ideas about key buyers in the target market
  • Letting go of legacy perspectives, selling points and audiences
  • Aligning brand and client interests for truly dynamic campaigns
  • Shifting the focus of PR agencies, teams and other contractors
  • Using existing company strengths to energize the larger story

Story & Survival: Beat the Startup Death Rate with a Clear Message

How important is a good story, really? When you're growing an early stage startup, there are a million things to worry about - from fundraising to finding a new tech lead to getting your beta launched to simply keeping your hosting bill paid. Should story be at the top of your list? According to data directly from failed startups - missing a good story and a strong, clear brand is one of the top reasons for not making it.

In February, I represented Uncommon Bold at an event for the tech sector at the Ministry of Awesome in Christchurch, New Zealand. I spoke about the power of storytelling in helping startups survive. It's true that only 1 in 4 VC-backed startups will make it - but a closer look at the reasons why founders said their company failed show the true impact of a solid brand story. According to research from CB Insights, founders blamed 63% of startup failure on breakdowns in the categories of marketing and people.

For founders, crafting a clear story about your company's passion, market fit, differentiation, culture and value is more than a "nice to have" - it's a necessity for survival. Your story can create market demand, reduce marketing spend, and help you stand out from competition on the marketing side. Your story can help you recruit the right team, stay focused and align on passion on the people side.

This kind of advantage only gets more important in a slowing VC investment climate. Having a buzzworthy brand that balances stable revenue growth with a big picture mission helps your startup stand out when the market contracts. It's no coincidence that some of the most successful and compelling tech brands today (Airbnb, Uber and Dropbox) launched during the 2008-2009 down periods.

Get your story straight, and help your startup survive any market. Read more in my slides from New Zealand, or feel free to get in touch anytime.

In New Zealand: Talking Bold Brands from a Silicon Valley Perspective

I'm honored to be joining the Ministry of Awesome in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 18th for a panel discussion on communications, brand building and crowdfunding for startups. The event is co-sponsored by PledgeMe and the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) and features Anna Guenther (@where_is_anna) who is co-founder of the PledgeMe crowdfunding platform and Brianne West (@ethiquenz) who founded the cosmetic line Ethique in Christchurch.

Getting to meet startup entrepreneurs around the world is such a delight! I hope I'll see you there.

- Emily

Brand Workshop: Embracing your Unique Corner of the Market

Startup Branding Project

In December, Uncommon Bold worked with a fantastic, fast-growing healthcare startup in New York on market positioning and brand strategy. Even though they've had amazing success, the team was challenged by simplifying their story, building buzz and getting people excited about the bigger picture:

  • What are the risks and rewards of doing something that no one else is doing?
  • What to do when investors are wrong about our sector?
  • How can we stay clear about customers when building a complex platform?
  • What happens when our biggest and best customers may be a liability?
  • How can we balance the vision for 5 years in the future with what we need to do today?
  • Is it possible to have one tagline for every audience?
  • Who will really be the most important enterprise partners?

In the Media: Fast-Fixes for Your Company Blog

Big thank you to Brittney Helmrich (@brittneyplz) at Business News Daily for including a tip from Uncommon Bold in her round-up of the best advice for company blogs:

There's no point in keeping a company blog if no one is going to read it, and search traffic and SEO are only half the battle. If you really want your blog to be a success and have an audience, you need to turn your attention to social media. Emily Peters, founder of B2B brand-strategy company Uncommon Bold, said you should spend even more time sharing your posts than you do writing them.

"Many companies have a 'post and pray' approach to their blog content," Peters said. "Instead, brands should spend just as much time carefully, repeatedly sharing their quality content via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email over the course of a few months."

If you're using a content calendar, try adding your social media sharing schedule to it to help you keep track of when you should be pushing your content.

Hot New Research Shows Sensory Language Can Help Build a Lasting Brand

 Sunday reading on the impact of sensory language on messaging durability.

Sunday reading on the impact of sensory language on messaging durability.

Is your brand 'cool?' How about 'bright' or 'sharp?' If so, you may be subconsciously building long-lasting, trend-proof positioning for your company.

A recent article in the Sunday New York Times took a closer look at why some phrases endure while others go out of style. Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania and the author of "Contagious: Why Things Catch On," teamed up with Ezgi Akpinar to look at language trends from five million books over 200 years. They found that language tied to senses such as sight, smell and touch did much better across history. In a subsequent test, they found that sensory metaphors were 50% more memorable than standard phrases 10 minutes later. 

What does this research mean for your brand? When possible, choose language that invokes a sensory experience when drafting your elevator pitch, boilerplate, quotes, website and even company name. Words that relate to taste, touch, sound sight or smell will help you build more memorable messaging. Here are some examples where you can choose sensory language: 

  • Bright instead of promising
  • Cool instead of stylish
  • Hot instead of trendy
  • Sharp instead of smart
  • Chill instead of relaxed
  • Sweet instead of kind
  • Burning instead of passion
  • Heated instead of dynamic
  • Bubbly instead of perky
  • Rough instead of unfinished
  • Smooth instead of easy
  • Listen instead of evaluate
  • Thundering instead of disruptive
  • Spicy instead of distinctive
  • Hard instead of challenging
  • Fresh instead of new

Can you think of more examples of sensory metaphors popular in startup marketing now? If your brand is in need of some sharp new messaging, contact Uncommon Bold today.

Working with and Leveraging Press in Silicon Valley: Uncommon Bold at the PLAY Conference 10/30

What are the smartest strategies for working with media in Silicon Valley's saturated tech press landscape? In this panel at the 2015 PLAY Conference, Uncommon Bold's Founder Emily Peters joins top-tier reporters for a discussion of innovative ways to team up on compelling stories from funding announcements to data-driven investigations. 

  • Owen Thomas - Editor-in-Chief, ReadWrite
  • Emily F Peters - Founder & CEO, Uncommon Bold
  • Signe Brewster - Writer, Wired & GigaOm

Berkeley's PLAY Conference is the largest student run technology and digital media event in the country. The event be held October 30th at Pier 27 in San Francisco. 


2015 Play Conference

7 genius Airbnb brand & culture ideas that can work for any startup

The strongest startup brands today don’t just market, they embody their brand and culture across everything they do. Airbnb is a prime example. In just 7 years, the company has built a rumored $25 billion valuation and one the stronger reputations in Silicon Valley.

Branding and culture is more than a gorgeous custom-designed 72,000 square foot office with a three story living wall (which Airbnb has) or the kombucha on tap in your kitchen (ditto) - branding is about celebrating what makes your company special and telling your story well through design, sales, marketing, media, product and culture.

I toured Airbnb’s offices with the Startup Bike crew a while back and spotted 7 easy, affordable branding ideas that any stage startup can put into place:

Airbnb Headquarters

1. Make an entrance. Anyone visiting your startup’s office (or your corner of a co-working space) can have a brand experience. It could be as simple as interesting lamp on the desk or a brightly painted wall. If your brand has an “exclusive” feel - think about how your registration and visitor badge process boosts that secretive experience. If you’re a food startup, provide snacks. If you’re a travel site, you could project airline safety videos and offer tiny bags of peanuts.

How to do it: Pick a couple elements of your brand that are most important for a visitor to see right away. How can you show those to every visitor?

ROIBetter conversion on job candidates, more social media posts by visitors, more interested reporters and investors, employees start the day with a reminder of the mission each morning.

Touring Airbnb

2. Open up. Startups, even small ones, are inherently interesting. Opening up your office to visitors and events can be an easy way to share your story.

How to: Look for meet-up groups, college tours and recruiting events that like to make a visit. Some startups even have a monthly “open house” for customers.

ROI: Helps with recruiting and lead generation, builds inexpensive buzz, provides guinea pigs for testing messages.

Airbnb History Wall

3. Act like you’re making history from the very start. Be your own yearbook editor. You might not have even raised a Series A yet, but you can still celebrate your startup’s origin story as if you’re a sure thing for the cover of Fast Company next year. Start a small timeline museum in your office or on social media. Airbnb has early days photos of the founding team and the first product sketches on proud display.

How: Frame your original napkin sketch and hang it on the wall. Save your first business card design (it will be predictably hilarious to your team in four years).

ROI: Shows momentum and origin story to team, investors and press, engages the team.

Airbnb Design Team

4. Paper is cheap. Provide your team the tools to be creative anytime. The ROI on paper, post-its and markers is massive for brainstorming the next big idea, making a birthday card, creating a new geeky meme or playing a prank. At Practice Fusion, practically the entire office was designed to be whiteboard-ready for brainstorming at a moment’s notice. At Cuyana, the team keeps an inspiration corkboard up for each new design season in their San Francisco office/boutique.

How: Use paper, chalkboard, whiteboards, glass or cork to create a brainstorm area in your office.  

ROI: Your next billion dollar product or marketing idea, happy and creative staff.

Airbnb brand evolution

5. Show your work. A big website design or new product development cycle takes a lot of time, energy, paper and (often) cost. Make the most of the investment. Case studies of your process can be compelling for media coverage or award applications. At Airbnb, their recent logo redesign was turned into a mini museum showing the process and thought behind the designs.

How: Ask your design and product teams to share sketches and photos of their process.

ROI: Better buy-in for new ideas, new brainstorming is inspired by old work, shows your creativity to job candidates and press.

Airbnb Customer Photos

6. Celebrate your customers. Even when you only have a handful of customers, celebrating their perspective will help you keep their needs in focus and also help turn them into superfans. At Airbnb, the founders visited their early customers and took photos of them in action. These photos are now blown up to 5 feet high in the entrance area of the office and the original customers are still brand ambassadors. Make the most of fan mail, happy tweets and photos of your products in action.

How: Ask your clients for photos or testimonials, plan an on-site visit with your customers.

ROI: Instantly turns featured fans into brand ambassadors, keeps the team focused on serving customer’s perspective.


7. Give back. You might not have much of anything yet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something you can share with the community. This concept was part of my SXSW panel on building startup culture a couple years ago. Consider lending part of your office to a meet-up group or set a once a month team volunteering session with a charity. Airbnb has turned one of their conference rooms into a community space that local non-profits can book online to use for free.

How: Decide if it makes sense to donate time, space or products. Pick a cause that is aligned with your startup’s mission.

ROI: Builds community support, strengthens team relationships, brings in fresh perspectives, deepens your company story for press

Airbnb Dinner

 Thank you to the Airbnb team for the tour!  Interested in applying these ideas for your own startup brand? Email Uncommon Bold today to learn more about building culture and buzz. 

Brand Workshop: How to Accelerate Bootstrap Growth?

Accelerating Growth

A bootstrapped enterprise health technology company reached out at the end of the summer to think about ways to accelerate their growth. The company had built up a lot of success with very little marketing and was now ready to drive some bigger buzz. Our custom workshop addressed: 

  • How can the company shift to a new audience without losing their core values?
  • What are opportunities to build thought-leadership in the healthcare market?
  • Is there such a thing as a company that's "too nice?"
  • What data could they share to build an interesting story for press?
  • How can they tap into their word-of-mouth success to drive bigger growth?