Brand Foundation for Startups

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Scaling is hard.

Founders are forced to juggle hundreds of tasks whilst having to instinctively know which corners to cut and what needs their full energy.  

To better understand how brand and recruitment work together to become the engine that enables scale, we spoke to one of the best in brand and marketing.  

Jonathan Trimble is the co-founder and CEO of the creative ventures powerhouse And Rising. Over the past few years, JT has morphed his agency from delivering traditional advertising, strategy and brand campaigns for the world’s biggest brands to focus on early-stage companies; building the foundations that will ultimately lead to incredible success down the line.  

When we first started to talk brand, hiring and growth with Jonathan Trimble we realised we had found a business soulmate and began to reshape everything we did. Sometimes a short conversation can change the way you think about everything, and this is certainly one of those. 

Continue reading to discover why brand is vital, how everyone is a recruiter and, perhaps, get some perspective why we asked JT’s team to manage our rebrand.


Read the 5 key lessons from Jonathan, all of which give insight into building a startup brand.  

                                                   Click here for the compact, downloadable version of this blog as a pdf


1. We are all trying to recruit someone  

Our job is to recruit customers or users or early-stage community. And your job is to recruit talent.

So it's quite funny. When we were when we were talking initially, we knew we were both in the same space of new companies coming to market and needing to sort of move quickly. But it didn't occur to either, coming from a recruitment background and coming from an advertising agency background, we would end up kind of nearly in the same job



2. You need to attract people who understand your vision  

 “We need people that are willing in some ways to forgive your product in the state that it's currently in, but really get the mission, where it's going and understand the potential.” 

You need to show that people are trying to do some really interesting work, even if they don't exactly have a solution yet. And there's evidence of this all the way through to companies that have IPO, it's a cliche, but, Tesla and SpaceX, their valuations are so high because people believe where it's going.” 


3. Brand is the is the engine that helps people see where things are going 

 "It doesn't necessarily reflect in any way where they are today. And that is why the valuations don't make any sense. Brand is the is the engine that helps people see where things are going. It paints the end point without the need for product. And in that respect, it's something you can gather around to, to essentially recruit fans, whether they're working for the company or they're using the product or in many cases, they're doing a little of both because they might be socially promoting you in their channel.” 


4. Employer brand is just brand 

 “What you call employer brand, which is just brand. It's all the same. There is only one brand. There may be some subsets of messaging or there may be some subsets of, you know, how a value exchange works between a someone working for a company. So they may be specific to the value exchange with a user or a customer.” 

 “But the principles are the same and that there's a relationship with something that's slightly bigger than the people you're meeting. And it sort of informs and sets the tone for all of the work that you do where you're going.” 

5. Strong foundations are key for growth  

“The stronger that the early base of customers of users, of fans, of people who understand how to use it, the stronger the foundations are then for further customer acquisition down the line. And exactly the same way that when you build a really strong core team, succession management and so on and so on, things get a lot easier from there than when that core or those early hires are constantly rotating and falling all over the place.” 

We love working with start-ups, because it is clear the impact we are having. There is no better way to scale than to attract people who fit in with your founders and understand mission; if you want to talk about hiring the outsiders, the people so skilled at what they do, who fit so perfectly with your vision, you will never want them to leave, then drop us a line.


Read insights into how And Rising have built & invested in many of the UK's leading startup brands on their website.  

By Lloyd Griffiths

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