At most startup conferences, there’s a speaker or two who makes everyone get up from the chairs and do something, get the blood flowing, meet new people–you know orchestrating meaningful collisions. That speaker at Everywhere Else Cincinnati didn’t come until Tuesday afternoon when Jake Stutzman the founder of Omaha’s Elevate took the stage.
Stutzman, whose firm spearheaded the “experience” part for Everywhere Else Cincinnati, wanted to make sure that the attendees in the room were doing what they were supposed to. After testing moving the group closer to the front and closing the gaps, he tested the audience participation and moved on with explaining 8 mandates to finding your meaning as part of his discussion, “Find The Meaning Find The Money”.
The eye opening talk led off with Stutzman throwing some basic words on the screen and asking the audience to say what brands those words represented in their minds. For instance when he put the word “coffee” on the screen the crowd quickly blurted out Starbucks. For computer, most said “Apple”, and for the word “Phone” most shouted out iPhone, although one person went retro yelling out “Motorola Razor”.
While most of the brands said here made the list of the “World’s Most Valuable Brands”, they are extremely valuable because they own the category in people’s minds. How does a product go beyond just a product and become that category owning brand? Stutzman mapped it out clearly with these 8 mandates. “Usefulness only lasts until something better comes along,” Stutzman told the crowd. Need an example of that, just look at Blackberry.
These 8 important mandates are:
1. Know Yourself
2. Know Your Audience. Who’s your audience? Is there an audience for your product? How do you engage that audience?
3. Know Your Competitor and your category. Do a competitive audit, and know what your competitor does
4. Be Different.
5. Cast a Vision
6. Make it accessible, have brand identity, create memorable experiences and make sure your brand is infused in everything
7. Be Consistent. Consistency is the key to all of this. “It’s the difference between a chaotic brand and a charismatic brand,” Stutzman said.
8. Empower brand champions, find those champions for your brand those people that are extremely loyal and give them the tools to help grow your brand. These brand champions will work for you because you want to.
Nick and I got to experience all of this first hand starting with a two day workshop at Elevate’s Omaha, Nebraska office. There the Elevate team asked us hard questions about exactly what we wanted to do, who attended our conferences, who read our website, who shares our content. Who do we want to come and what do we want them to do? This is why Elevate is so much more than a design firm.
Elevate helped our brand appeal to multiple senses. Visually how was everything going to look? How were we going to direct people and what were they going to do on site?
Moving into 2014 we will have three conferences and continue to work with Elevate, who will help us make sure we continue to drive home these mandates.
Find out more about Elevate at elevate.co