Startup activity in the United States has grown well beyond the coasts, as cities nationwide see the impact these early-stage companies have on local economies.
This invention ecosystem is particularly strong in my hometown of Cincinnati. As a hub of branding and marketing, there is a unique opportunity for startups based in Cincinnati to tap into world-class consumer marketing talent.
My agency, Empower MediaMarketing, has been working with startups for years through The Brandery’s nationally-ranked accelerator program. Here are three reasons why we continue to invest time, talent and funds in the startup community.
1) Collaborate to win: Startups in The Brandery program have four months to prepare themselves for the scrutiny required to warrant a venture capitalist’s investment. This requires speed, flexibility and a broad range of collaboration with different companies. The program’s outcome reminds us that there is opportunity in disruption, and a that collaborative approach is more powerful than a competitive approach every time.
2) Fuel a culture of ideas: Startups are free of processes, history or perceptions to curb their thinking. With few resources, they’re also forced to think creatively. This mix of freedom and constraint fuels fresh thinking that creates value.
We have helped two startups look at data differently to create ad retargeting pools. This collaboration has created new opportunities for our clients to test, learn and ultimately further their businesses. Agencies connecting startups and clients can create value for all three parties.
3) Enable stories: Storytelling is the marketing and media industry’s primary gross domestic product. We’re reaching out to startups for a new layer of media technology to enable storytelling for our clients in a way that engages rather than distracts consumers.
Get Smarter — Together
While some startups are leery of working with agencies, we think clear communication around inputs and outcomes help avoid any issues. Dónde, the startup we’re currently helping, asked what we wanted out of our collaboration. My answer was, “I want us to make each other smarter.”
There will be some immediate wins, for the startup and for the agency. But we believe the long-term relationship is the biggest benefit. In some cases, many of the startups we’ve worked with will become partners or clients.
Simply put — working with startups is a smart path to success.