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Branding for
Startups and Sith Lords
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
@DaveMcClure @500Startups 500.co
#LeadersParis April 2017
WARNING:
REALLY.
BAD. COLORS.
AND. FONTS.
COMIC SANS BITCHES!
Read Geoffrey Miller.

Sex + Evolution + Consumer Marketing = Awesome
More Great Shit. 

Psychology + Comics
[ Start + Heart ]
Startups are about PASSION.
NEGATIVE Emotion Examples
Fear, Anger, Sadness,
Pain, Pathetic, Pariah
POSITIVE Emotion Examples
Humor, Sex, Power,
Daredevils, Babies & Kittens
WTF is BRAND?
• Tell a STORY, Build a Storytelling Culture
• SINGLE element: Color, Animal, Number, Word
• UNIQUE Position...
Be Different.
• Take Risk Early. (U Have Nothing 2 Lose).
• Playing it Safe = Death.
• Pissing People Off is OK. (in fact,...
Stand 4 SOME-thing, 

or Stand 4 NO-thing.
• Be ICONIC.
• SINGLE word or emotion.
• Don’t be afraid 2b HATED.
• Don’t be a...
Stand 4 SOMEthing.
(or stand 4 NO-thing)
CHANGE.
POWER. BEY!
PEACE.
Tap Into
Humanity
• Fear: What u run from
• Sex: Who we love, lust 4
• Power: Ability 2 Control Ur World
• Family: Find Ur...
Be a Hero… or a Villain
(pro tip: Villians have more fun :)
• Who do u LOVE, Admire, Want 2 B?
• Who do u HATE, Despise, [...
picture > words.
• 1 awesome picture.
• 3 powerful words.
• 30 sec music or video.
• Less is more.
note: these slides are ...
When It Works, Double Down.
• If someone LOVES u, it’s working.
• If someone HATES u, it’s working.
• Once u get signal, t...
Always Be Yourself — but be your [SUPER] Self
• Start from the Heart.
• Be YOUrself. Be Authentic. Be Comfortable.
• But: ...
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Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Branding for Startups & Sith Lords

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slides from my talk at Leade.rs (Paris, April 2007)

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Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Branding for Startups & Sith Lords

  1. Branding for Startups and Sith Lords Take A Walk On The Dark Side @DaveMcClure @500Startups 500.co #LeadersParis April 2017
  2. WARNING: REALLY. BAD. COLORS. AND. FONTS. COMIC SANS BITCHES!
  3. Read Geoffrey Miller.
 Sex + Evolution + Consumer Marketing = Awesome
  4. More Great Shit. 
 Psychology + Comics
  5. [ Start + Heart ] Startups are about PASSION.
  6. NEGATIVE Emotion Examples Fear, Anger, Sadness, Pain, Pathetic, Pariah
  7. POSITIVE Emotion Examples Humor, Sex, Power, Daredevils, Babies & Kittens
  8. WTF is BRAND? • Tell a STORY, Build a Storytelling Culture • SINGLE element: Color, Animal, Number, Word • UNIQUE Position relative to Competition • Embrace NEGATIVE/Shameful Positioning (when necessary) • (Know When to Get Back to WORK) Brand (def): a name, term, design, symbol that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
  9. Be Different. • Take Risk Early. (U Have Nothing 2 Lose). • Playing it Safe = Death. • Pissing People Off is OK. (in fact, #WINNING) • Love *or* Hate = GOOD (both are STRONG signal) • U Can’t Build Brand around INDIFFERENCE. • “Niche 2 WIN” (see blog post)
  10. Stand 4 SOME-thing, 
 or Stand 4 NO-thing. • Be ICONIC. • SINGLE word or emotion. • Don’t be afraid 2b HATED. • Don’t be afraid 2b SHAMED. • Aim for the Moon! [but land on the Roof]
  11. Stand 4 SOMEthing. (or stand 4 NO-thing) CHANGE. POWER. BEY! PEACE.
  12. Tap Into Humanity • Fear: What u run from • Sex: Who we love, lust 4 • Power: Ability 2 Control Ur World • Family: Find Ur Tribe. • Anger: Fight 4 Ur Right [2 Party]
  13. Be a Hero… or a Villain (pro tip: Villians have more fun :) • Who do u LOVE, Admire, Want 2 B? • Who do u HATE, Despise, [secretly] jealous? • Whatever u are ATTRACTED to… • Just Don’t Be BORING. • Again: Indifference = Death.
  14. picture > words. • 1 awesome picture. • 3 powerful words. • 30 sec music or video. • Less is more. note: these slides are not less.
  15. When It Works, Double Down. • If someone LOVES u, it’s working. • If someone HATES u, it’s working. • Once u get signal, try iteration, repetition. • Once u get repetition, try variation. • Good artists COPY; great artists STEAL… (from themSELVES!)
  16. Always Be Yourself — but be your [SUPER] Self • Start from the Heart. • Be YOUrself. Be Authentic. Be Comfortable. • But: the MOST AWESOME, PASSIONATE u. • Find a feeling or emotion u can sustain • [sometimes even weakness can be ok]

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