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General Assembly Creators Unconference

General Assembly Creators Unconference
06/15/15
by Claire Repp
Author Neale Donald Walsh once wrote “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Standing in a room full of creators and entrepreneurs from across the country, it was easy to drink the Kool-aid. Last week, I attended the Creator’s Unconference, a first-of-its-kind event hosted by Morgans Hotel Group and General Assembly. Entrepreneurship has been the hottest buzz word of the last decade, so I was eager to gain some perspective on building a brand and a company from the ground up. Here are a few of the top things I learned:11335487_1442195606098720_17261065_n[1]

  1. Start-Ups are messy


Successful start-ups are idolized in modern business and their seemingly easy rises to glory have become the stuff of legends, but if there is one thing that was made clear to me last weekend, it’s that it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s estimated that a staggering 90% of tech start-ups fail, and of those that succeed, they still don’t escape daily challenges. The reality is small brands and the teams behind them have no magical department to outsource problems that arise and they can’t be afraid to get their hands dirty in a variety of areas well outside of their wheelhouse.

  1. If you don’t know your brand, your content won’t resonate


Content is king; this has become the mantra by which brands both large and small live or die in today’s world. For start-ups, their content may be their best chance to break through the noise, form a strong brand persona and connect with consumers. But, if they fail to zero in on their brand essence in our niche-driven culture and fall short of producing compelling content with a clear and authentic voice, they haven’t got a chance. Until a brand, particularly a small brand, knows its values and its target customer, its ability to stand out beyond pure novelty is severely limited.

  1. If you don’t know your brand, influencers can’t help you


In a similar vein, a brand with undefined values, targets and goals will not be able to properly leverage an influencer. Although endorsements and influencers are a good option to build awareness, create interest or further define a start-up brand, if a brand does not know itself, it will struggle to choose an influencer who can actually help. An influencer that shares its values will give an irreplaceable air of authenticity to the partnership, making it more successful all around.

  1. The definition of Entrepreneurship is changing


Today, the word “entrepreneur” has a bit of a halo effect in society and is synonymous with innovator, outsider and nonconformist (i.e. the Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs of the business world). Yet, increasingly, there are myriad ways today’s creators are breaking this mold. Rather than just disruptive, innovative companies and geniuses standing alone, organizations and innovators alike are increasingly looking to intrapreneurship as the next frontier. Intrapreneurs act like entrepreneurs from within large organizations, transforming the way established brands think and operate and from the inside out.

  1. Don’t be too cool for paper


In a tech-driven, beta-obsessed world, it’s hard not to leap on the latest and greatest trends. This is particularly true for tradition-wary start-up brands in which there are high levels of pressure to always think and solve problems with outside the box methods. But, in reality, even new brands can benefit from simple, tried-and-true solutions to their everyday business practices and branding challenges. There is no need to be so cool that you can’t employ some common sense.

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