Creating A Story-Based Community Brand Will Help Accelerate Your Startup Community

Marketing your city or region is one of the tools successful startup community builder’s employ to help propel their community forward and achieve their community goals. I have written in the past why there has to be more than just this tool – as many complicated thinkers attempt to find the express train to the top of the mountain.

Successful brands have a handful of qualities that are critical to success:

  • They are unique, consistent and compelling
  • They value a long-term relationship with their followers
  • They continue to innovate (the brand not about innovation per se)
  • They say something to us on an emotional level, and
  • They tell a story.

An interesting word – story. Especially with regards to a startup community brand.

I believe that a startup community’s brand is the sum of their founder stories and how those founders created a successful company.

Too many times, community builders attempt to artificially create or hijack a brand. (See every community marketing move calling themselves Silicon “X”, as in Silicon Prairie (Midwest), Silicon Beach (LA), Silicon Forest (Portland), the list goes on and on.

This breaks the 1st rule of branding – that your brand is unique and compelling. The shortcut here was to borrow from Silicon Valley with a feeble attempt to borrow the qualities that make Silicon Valley special and trick people into thinking that your city/region shares those same qualities by the mere renaming of your startup community.

How lame and misguided and a waste of valuable money.

Do you really think that more of your citizens would start companies because of your cheap trick?

Did you think that active founders would then flock to your city because you are exactly like Silicon Valley but now at the beach/forest/prairie?

You build a startup community brand by gathering and sharing the stories of your local founders and their companies. You do this consistently (daily or weekly at least). You do this by going deep on their journey and how the community supports them. You do this by revealing an emotional level that encourages you as the reader to want to know more. And, you do this by using as many of the current content vehicles as possible.

Use this marketing mindset and you just might create your version of Silicon Lake (my North Carolina rural version of Silicon Valley).