Interview With Atlanta Startup: B2CGrid Crowdsourcing To Build Bigger Brands
Kyle / August 9, 2012
Branding is a difficult task. Once you decide on a concept, build it out, and test it‟s viability, it‟s time to turn to branding. Branding is very important. When you consider that most startups are competing in a similar space with another startup, the strength of your brand is vital to your survival. The problem most startups face, is regardless of whether they‟re bootstrapping or funded, branding is something they don‟t typically have enough money left over to make a significant impact. An Atlanta based startup B2CGrid is looking to help crowdsource branding and bridge together a community of likeminded people that can help create and boost brands. B2CGrid looks to connect companies and creatives globally to build strong brands and ultimately sell more stuff. In short B2CGrid is a market place for freelancers, designers, creatives and even agencies to connect to the companies, small, large and startups, that need their services. We got a chance to talk with founder and CEO Michael B Moore in the interview below about this exciting new way to help get companies that wouldn‟t think they could afford good branding, afford to take their brands to the next level.
B2C Grid endeavors to democratize the brand – to make a strong, growth-driving brand within the reach of any company without regard to size or resources. We leverage technology – a „smart crowdsourcing‟ engine – to intelligently connect companies and creatives globally to build stronger brands and to sell more stuff! The idea behind „smart crowdsourcing‟ is that it presents a palette of thousands of creative choices from which we choose the one that best fits the needs of any particular client – their brand, business, and budget. Many companies ask about whether they should even bother trying to brand because they don‟t have the multi-million dollar marketing and media budgets of “the big boys”. I answer a resounding YES! A strategically constructed brand is more powerful than ever, particularly in this day when content can take on a viral energy and have a life of its own. We liken a brand to the architectural drawings of a house. Some houses will be bigger, will have more complexity than others, and will sit on larger plats of land, but even the smallest house must be built soundly. The load bearing walls must do their job, the roof must fit and work, etc. Since everything that touches consumers adds to their perception of your brand, products, and business – then even startups, especially startups, without regard to how much they spend on marketing, should be careful to make sure that every message is its most compelling and strategic as possible. Our deep brand experience and „smart crowdsourcing‟ technology help us to maximize every penny that a company spends to connect with its consumers. Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds The founder and CEO, Michael B. Moore, is a long-time strategic marketer with „C suite‟ leadership, strategy consulting, and consumer packaged goods (Kraft and Coca-Cola) experience.
He is the Chairman, and former CEO, of a leading niche consumer food company with a nine figure brand footprint. As well, in the late 1990′s, Michael was President and CMO of an innovative technology company that was a pioneer in the development of enterprise social tools and online communities. For more about Michael, please click here. Where are you based? B2C Grid is based in the metro Atlanta area. What is the startup culture like where you are based? TechCrunch Atlanta just occurred this week with about 1,300 enthusiastic entrepreneurs. I‟d say the startup culture here is eager and growing. Powered to some degree by technology innovation from Georgia Tech and by refugees from some of the corporate behemoths in the area like Coke, BellSouth, Home Depot etc. – startups are popping up left and right. This is supported by a burgeoning angel and VC community that is helping to breathe life into those new ventures. What problem does your startup solve? Since a strong brand is arguably the single most powerful tool a B2C company can have to drive growth, we‟ve long wondered why it‟s so insanely difficult for most companies to build one. If Fortune 500 companies with floors of marketing staff don‟t always get it right, how can any smaller firm – sometimes without anyone in-house with formal brand management experience – expect to do any better?
Well, we‟ve built a platform that, effectively, democratizes the brand – clarifying and simplifying the marketing and creative development process to make a strong brand within any company‟s reach. For smaller companies, B2C Grid will demystify marketing – providing a transparent one-stop-shopping experience to gain strategic, effective, ROI generating advertising and marketing services. For Fortune 500 companies, B2C Grid offers – in a turnkey way – an almost unheard level of creative innovation and ideation to complement their current creative sources or to increase the number of world-class creative ideas flowing through their company. What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process? The Lean Startup has helped to get us to chunk our technology development aspirations into more “bite sizeable” phases. Perhaps like many startups, we would have loved to launch with an uberly feature rich experience, but we think Ries makes sense when he recommends to let our customers help drive the development agenda based upon what‟s most important to them. So, we launched with the ability to execute against our core value proposition, and we‟ll listen hard to our customers about how to build the „bells & whistles‟ going forward. Who are your mentors and role models? I‟ve been influenced by a variety of people throughout my career. Having experience in both Fortune 500 environments and startups (and – as a consultant – everywhere in between), I‟ve seen branding, marketing, and advertising from a variety of vantage points.
It is this diversity of experience that has helped to shape our thinking that there could be a “better mousetrap” in how companies build their brand. Whats one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup? I‟ve had the benefit if being on the ground floor of two previous significant business/consumer movements. In the mid 1990s I was VP Marketing at No Fear – probably the hottest brand in the world for a couple of years – that helped to bring the extreme sports phenomenon to the mainstream. After that, I led a technology startup that was a true pioneer of the social technology movement by creating enterprise online social tools – as President and CMO of Infopop. Crowdsourcing feels like a similar revolutionary innovation – having the ability to dramatically impact the advertising and marketing industries. The economics of „smart crowdsourcing‟ plus its enormous performance benefit – having a universe of creative choices at your disposal managed in a turnkey way – is a profound shift that we think will manifest into yet another broad movement. What’s next for your startup? We‟ve built something cool. Now we just have tell people about it – get the word out to both potential customers, as well as build just a bit of strategic buzz throughout the investor community. We‟ll – for sure – be looking to raise some funds to most aggressively capture the opportunity in front of us. With all of the current unneeded complexity in branding for small and mid-sized companies in particular, they‟re still spending over $150 billion a year in advertising.
We have a solution that can make the process easier and the end product more effective, so we‟re excited about our ability to positively impact the category.