Why Your Startup Marketing Must Include Your Origin Story

September 14, 2014

4:00 pm

Startups are faced with a lot of unique challenges in their route to market that established brands don’t have to deal with. As a startup, your brand does not yet have a known identity in the marketplace, and this can prove to be an obstacle in growing your client base.  More often than not, consumers like to go with brands they know over those they don’t know, because they believe this is a known entity, and they are comfortable with it.  A new brand represents the unknown, and that means unknown results for the consumer.  That is why it is so vital that startups market themselves with this idea in mind, and share their origin story with consumers.

Incorporating your company’s story into your marketing is essential if you are going to overcome the hesitations of your target consumers.  Telling your story turns a hurdle into an opportunity by presenting who is running your company, what qualifies them to do so, how what you’re doing is different from others in the space, and what prompted you to start this business in the first place.  You have a blank canvas on which you can create the impressions that you want consumers to have regarding your brand.

Who are you, and why should I care?

One of the biggest issues that consumers have with new brands or startups they have not previously come across is the issue of credibility.  They haven’t engaged with this brand in the past and they’ve never heard of it.  They have no way of knowing whether your company knows what it’s doing, so you must tell them.

Who are the founders of your company?  What expertise do they bring to the table?  Did they work for competitors or potential clients of this new company in the past?  What evidence is there that the people pulling the strings know what I need and how to provide it to me?

Why did you start this business?

This question is a marketer’s dream because it allows you to include all sorts of compelling information in your response.  There are a couple of ways to approach the answer, depending on your business.  One option is:  “we were working in roles like the ones our clientele work in now and saw a need for this solution”.  Based on your experience facing the same challenges your current clients face, you created a solution tailored to their needs.

Wideo Story 1

Starting out at 500 Startups with a team of 3

Another way to approach your response is, “We were providing solution A, but based on feedback from our clients we realized there was a huge opportunity to provide solution B”.  Basically what you’re saying here is, “we started a business that we thought was great but our clients guided us to be something even better”.  This approach allows you to show humility, as you are not boasting about your own brilliant idea.  However, it also lends tremendous credibility to the solution you actually are offering because this solution was created by needs of the clients.  You are able to explain that what you are offering today was forged specifically by the challenges your clientele are facing, which simultaneously suggests that you understand their challenges and that your solution is battle-tested.

We started Wideo because we were working on other ventures and wanted an explainer video that didn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money.  We wanted a platform that was easy to use so we could create a video for our own company.


Making an awesome new office as a team

Regardless of what your specific impetus for creating your company was, be sure to include it as part of the story you tell through your marketing efforts so you can establish the idea that the offering you provide was developed in response to a need that existed in the marketplace.

How do you do it, and how is that different?

This is the portion of your story where you get into the behind-the-scenes view of what your company is doing.  The nuts and bolts of your operation are what distinguishes you from other options that your potential clients have to choose from.  What is it about your process that is different and how do you do it?

You’ve already established credibility in who you are, and you’ve established why there was a need for what you do. Now it's time to explain how you will deliver on that promise, and what it all means at the end of the day for your clients.


Including our company story down to our branded socks

So, what’s your story?

If the marketing strategy for your startup does not include the story of why and how you reached this moment, it is time for that to change.  There is a reason behind the success of your startup that goes beyond the features you can offer. Be sure to share your story with the potential clients who are just getting to know your brand so you can forge the brand identity you desire in the minds of your target audience.

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CEO & Co-Founder of Wideo (, a DIY animated video production platform. Follow him @mrwideo