Founders Programme Session 3 - Building a brand moat for your business.

Learn how to capture hearts and minds with storytelling and the key to focusing channels exploration for growth

Session 3 of this quarter’s Founders Programme focussed on Growth Marketing, hosted by Forward’s Head of Marketing and Growth, Jared. 

In this session, he covered some key areas: how to build a brand moat for your business; how to capture hearts and minds with storytelling; how to focus it with objective setting, and the key to focusing channels exploration for growth.

Key Takeaways

🥡 1. Tell an engaging story

When you begin to think about your marketing, start with a story that engages your customers both emotionally and logically. A successful brand story can have a staggering multiplier effect across everything you do - galvanising your customers, your employees and potential investors. At Forward, we use the StoryBrand framework to help founders craft compelling stories.

We use this framework as it helps young businesses to avoid a common mistake: making their product or service the hero of the story. Instead, using the StoryBrand approach allows you to place the customer at the centre and your brand as the guide to help them to conquer their challenges. Nailing your brand story will enable you to write more compelling value propositions, sales material and to have more successful sales calls so we recommend dedicating some time to getting this right.

Consider your characters.

  • Who is your hero? This should be a customer on a quest.
  • What is the cause? The reason why your hero is fighting. It should be more than your product or a functional issue.
  • How can you position yourself as a guide? How do you empathise with the hero? How do you build authority as a leader to help them solve their challenge?

Build a story curve.

  1. We meet a hero.
  2. We learn about their problem.
  3. We meet the guide.
  4. The guide reveals a plan which calls the hero to action.
  5. The guide shares the consequences of success and failure.

🥡 2. Set the right objectives

Setting objectives allows you to focus on what you need to do now, in order to get to the next stage of your development. Using an objective framework enables you to focus on what matters now and what can wait until you have more capacity. 

We break this down into two key areas; thinking big and thinking small. 

  • Thinking big
    • What’s your 10 year goal? Use this as your overall objective, your North Star.
    • Make your North Star objective visionary as this should motivate multiple stakeholders within your business
  • Thinking small
    • Tactics can burn your time and resources without laddering up to an overall goal. It’s important to hone them so that you can effectively prioritise. 
    • Break your tactics down by time. What do you need to do now to get to that next stage in your development? Then think about next month, quarter or even next year. 
    • Build your tactics as a hierarchy. Start with your strategic goals, then your objectives and then the tactics that can get you there. Using this framework will keep you lean, strategic and focussed

🥡 3. How to build your growth machine

Bringing structure to your tests and experiments will help you to grow much faster and use your limited resources in the most effective way possible. Start by thinking small whilst keeping the long term goals in mind. At Forward, we think about 4 key steps in a growth process:

  • Ideate: choose the channels you are using and the tactics you are going to implement. 
  • Prioritise: choose the ones you think will be most impactful.  
  • Minimal Viable test: prove your hypothesis with small controlled tests with clear measurements for success.  
  • Systemise: If a channel is successful, how can you bring it into your day-to-day routine?

As you think about your growth experiments, begin this process with our two key resources:

  1. Channel matrix: This will help you explore the characteristics of the channels in line with your objectives across Impact, Confidence and Ease of Achieving your desired result. 
  2. Initiative Backlog: You should use this framework to help you develop your minimal viable tests and organise your growth backlog. 

We hope you found the session useful and look forward to hearing what you do next!

Recommended reading.

Ann-Marie has almost a decade's worth of experience building and scaling startups in the UK tech industry. From luxury travel and corporate events to robotic process automation, she loves challenger brands with a killer idea. Passionate about ESG initiatives, Ann-Marie has implemented many programmes in her previous roles to support charities tackling homelessness and helping young people and women into careers within the tech sector.

At Forward, Ann-Marie is responsible for our brand and building experiences that founders love, whilst supporting the growing businesses in our portfolio via the Studio.

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