Close

Storytech: James Hurman's plan to help one million startups tell their stories

Previously Unavailable's James Hurman has worked with brands big and small to try and figure out what they should be saying about themselves. And, for startups, this is often one of the most difficult disciplines. So he tried to help startups in a way that's truly affordable and scalable and the result is a 'brand strategy in a box' called Storytech

I'm often approached by startups wanting help to develop their brand story. For founders of new or young companies, condensing all they know and dream about into a simple, cohesive marketing message can be one of the most challenging parts of building their business.

It's something that I have a bit of experience with. I spent the majority of my career as a strategic planner in the advertising industry, helping brands big and small figure out what they should be saying about themselves. And now I run an innovation company where our sole focus is bringing new things into the world – part of which is ensuring they have a great story.

The cult of entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in Aotearoa. Last year, 55,429 new New Zealand companies were registered. In 2015 it was 50,465. In 2014 it was 47,258. In 2013 it was 44,045. That's around 10 percent year on year growth across the past 4 years. And all indicators are that it'll continue.

Never before have there been so many young companies searching for that fantastic brand story that'll excite consumers and the media and supercharge their growth.

The cult of entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in Aotearoa. Last year, 55,429 new New Zealand companies were registered. In 2015 it was 50,465. In 2014 it was 47,258. In 2013 it was 44,045. That's around 10 percent year on year growth across the past 4 years. And all indicators are that it'll continue.

However, the unfortunate reality is that if I tried to help one percent of those companies, I'd end the year bankrupt and exhausted.

At Previously Unavailable, we love helping startups. But as enjoyable and meaningful as it is, it comes with one big challenge. It's either really expensive for them, or really expensive for us.

Startups can't afford (and shouldn't throw critical seed capital away on) expensive consulting. And while we've greatly reduced our fees or worked for contra for a few startups, it's certainly not sustainable as a business model.

It's a problem I've had on my mind ever since I started Previously. How could we help startups in a way that's truly affordable and scalable?

And I think we may finally have come up with a solution.

This month, we're launching something we call Storytech.

In essence, it's a 'brand strategy in a box' product for startups and young companies.

I've taken all of my brand strategy experience, know-how, best practise tools and processes, and great case examples, and compressed them into a brand story development process delivered via online video, in a day, for $500.

The process is centred around three 'canvases' - single page documents that capture and focus the essential elements of a brand story, and serve as a marketing blueprint for a startup. The first is the Lean Canvas - a tool that will be familiar to most in the startup and innovation world. On top of the Lean Canvas we've built two more canvases - the Brand Story Canvas, which encapsulates the critical pillars of any brand's story - and the Customer Journey Canvas, which sets a course for how to most powerfully and efficiently connect your brand with customers.

The day workshop is facilitated by an online video version of me. Through the day I'll guide you toward completing each box on the three canvases, giving you the essential questions to ask as a team and inspiring examples from some of New Zealand and the world's best known modern brands.

In proper lean startup style, we're releasing our minimum viable product first. My dream is that Storytech will eventually be used by startups all over the world to develop a story that's as powerful as their product or business idea. If Storytech was used by 0.2% of the world's startups in the next decade, I estimate we will have helped one million companies tell their story – something that'd be pure fantasy for any normal brand consultancy.

Let's get this thing started.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn