Jeff Hoffman, Chairman of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, has been involved in branding some of the most successful dot-com startups in history, including Priceline, Booking.com and uBid.com. The name of the game, he says, is scale.
And to get there, he says, “There are things you’ve got to do right or you’ll never get to that scale.” Hoffman explains the thinking behind his scaling and branding strategies on episode 3 of Going PublicⓇ.
As the four featured companies on Going Public this season will learn, to be a successful publicly-traded company, it is important that a brand be able to differentiate itself from its competitors. Equally as important is landing your messaging for investors. In creating and strengthening a company’s brand, it helps build trust with the consumer – trust that every experience with that brand is going to be consistent within that company’s and the consumer’s values. In other words, branding helps the consumer see themselves in the brand. It shapes the company’s image and public reputation.
What is a brand’s true value?
According to Forbes and Interbrand, McDonald’s brand is the 9th and 12th most valuable brand in the world. What makes a brand like that so valuable? Think of what comes to mind when you think of McDonald’s: golden arches, value for the money, reliability, and some might say community strength. Brands like McDonald’s make sure that they have a good reputation for hiring and supporting the community around their franchise locations.
Hoffman wasted no time in getting down to business with two of this season’s companies, presenting pressing concerns they will have to consider while seeking investments.
Hoffman’s meeting with PROVEN provided founders Amy and Ming with much to ponder. With the brand so focused on the science and technology behind the customized skincare offerings, can PROVEN strike a balance between science, care and the emotion needed to win over skincare consumers? Will the company’s website redesign clearly and authentically convey its ease and consumer personalization?
A visit with NGT Academy finds Hoffman scrutinizing key components of co-founders Jacob and Terry’s vision. Is NGT Academy focusing on the assets that will help them scale? Will they find the right messaging to convey their value proposition in one sentence or less?
The importance of branding
The questions posed by Hoffman are ones that all businesses must contemplate when planning to scale and go public. To attract a retail investor, companies need to think like their target. They should understand the why behind their company. More importantly, companies need to discover how to convey their why in an authentic, consumer-friendly, concise, powerful way. It’s a lot to pack in but, necessary for finding retail investor success.
With shorter attention spans and meeting windows, business leaders have to generate the most interest from their limited windows of opportunity. TREBEL showed just that in their pitch meeting with billionaire investor Chris Burch – the first of the Regulation A pitches. Did the hard press earn TREBEL their first investor? You’ll have to watch episode 3 to find out.
Consumer impressions created online and with products are equally critical components to a company’s brand. At Hammitt, Tony channeled his inner James Bond, as the luxury handbag company’s 007-inspired Reg A intro video star. Meanwhile, after they met with Hoffman, the PROVEN team focused on the consumer experience, heading to New York City to discuss their online and product rebranding efforts with the digital branding firm Reflex.
All four of the companies featured on this season of Going Public demonstrated various branding considerations required to succeed. Messaging to investors and consumers alike is essential to success, as is forming a genuine connection through concise messaging and quality products.
Check out the rest of Going Public to learn more about the importance of brand building and other critical components to scaling.
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