Startups should first start with trying to understand the market and what you can uniquely offer of value to that market. That I meant not to ignore traditional branding activities, just not to prioritize that before they have product/market fit validated. And base your branding on this discovery.
Startups primary focus is customer acquisition. This happens by refining the customer persona, defining and branding positioning statement and responding to the customer buying cycle. You lean this by engaging with customers. Working on brand comes second.
I’ve been doing customer discovery interviews of Founders that start off with some demographic questions to place some context around the discovery questions that are the meat of the interview. It’s been interesting to hear the answer the Founder gives. Because it’s usually phrased in one of two ways: self-reflective in language that talks about the function of the company; or in customer-centric language that describes the market that the customer sits in.
While in general I believe this to be true, I see it as more of a shift in paradigm in how companies engage with their customers and scale their business. I believe its occurring because customer requirements for engagement are changing. I also think that the blurring occurs differently in the various layers of the engagement, such as marketing, sales, procurement and customer service. Rather than a blending of styles, I believe that the traditional forms of business are learning from each other. I will expand on these ideas in future related posts.
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