What every early stage company needs to know about purpose, position, and personality to build the foundation for a distinctive brand.
Marketing Expert in Residence at First Round Capital
Unlock your company's next level of growth by gaining clarity on what you do and why you do it.
Early stage startup founders (pre-seed to series A)
Growth marketers who want to add brand strategy to your skill set
Founding teams at any stage looking to better (re)position your product
If you don't define your category, someone else will do it for you — and not in a way you'll necessarily like.
You can't be everything to everyone, so be something great for someone. Define who that someone is for the next 18 months.
Startups worry too much about other startups and not enough about the old way of doing things, which is often what loses when you win.
Brand is a lens through which to make decisions and your company's purpose is your north star. Articulate one that will make people want to root for you.
Arielle picked up product marketing on the job at Google, where she helped grow Gmail in its early days. At Square, she was one of the first marketers who led the launch of new hardware products and distributed them though >30k retail doors. She then joined a seed stage startup called Cover which hit >500k downloads in a matter of months before being was snapped up by Twitter.
Since then, she's worked with >100 early stage companies — including Patreon, Loom, Front, Bowery, eero, and even Maven — on their foundational messaging. Now, for the first time ever, she's turning the brand strategy work she does at First Round Capital and through her own consulting practice into a cohort-based course. Arielle has a masters in psychology and is more interested in what makes people tick than in attribution modeling.
Most people think branding is about adding flourish, but actually it’s largely about paring things down to their essence. We'll demystify brand strategy and explain why it's important to unclutter your messaging and get a few key components right from the earliest stages of company building.
Stop circling on mission and vision. You just need one thing: a purpose. We'll use cultural tensions and your brand's best self to formulate your reason for being. Great brands use this as a compass for company decision making — and to make people root for them.
Do you know your exact target market and the position you want your product to take in your customers' minds? If you've ever felt unsure about how you talk about your product, or whom you're talking to, this section is for you.
Brands are like people: they need tension to be interesting. Define your brand personality and see how brands come to life from brief to launch-ready assets.
The first Monday.
Workshops are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm PT to allow for people from as many timezones as possible to attend.
Refine your work with feedback from your instructors and fellow students.
Optional office hours follow each of the 4 workshops.
Wrap up on the final Friday.
This is a crash course that's taught live and interactively. Workshops aren't simply lectures — there will be live examples, breakout rooms, discussions, and Q&A.
Surround yourself with like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you. Get feedback from your peers and instructors to refine your thinking.
Trying to do this on your own is tough. This course keeps you honest and forces you to do the work in a supportive community with expert guidance.
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