We spoke to start-up marketers about what they would change about the ways big brands did marketing.

There are a lot of big brands in the world trying to act more like start-ups. Ways of working are commonly the first ways big marketers want to act like their smaller counterparts; AGILE methodologies, Scrums, and “all hands” meetings are no longer the limits of tech companies.

But why do they actually want to act more like smaller brands? “I think the one big advantage startups have over big brands is how much consumers like talking about us… our consumers talk about us a lot” says Tom from Almond Butter Brand Pip & Nut. “We don’t have 2 million pounds Above the Line budgets… but we have 100,000 shoppers who really talk about us and buy us more frequently than the rest of the category”. Can these sorts of advantages really be regained just from using a new type of meeting?

What if big brands genuinely rethought how they worked to gain more of the advantages of their start-up rivals?  We posed this question to a few marketers from startups recently, asking what one thing they would change if they worked for a big brand.

To Jess from Karma, it is all about focus. “Loyalty and brand love are definitely the biggest challenge for bigger brands who have the money, or the story, but don’t have the niche category favour… just look at Nandos or Patagonia; those ways of creating a business inspire so much loyalty.”

Tom’s recommendation was even clearer. “I’d just put a load of money into making a better product… if you have the best product then start-ups cant hurt you! They are over complicating it by trying to win on merchandising or distribution. Back yourself in the long run, best product wins.”

It seems focus is the underlying message big brands can really take from start-ups. Perhaps really being the best at only a handful of things is the most effective way big brands can mimic the success of startups.

BY ENGINEER Oliver Ronaldson

oliver.ronaldson@thevalueengineers.com