Pinterest’s Global Creative Director, James Hurst, joined our expert panel at our latest online MeetUp to help answer the age-old marketing dilemma: How to tell your startup story.

James Hurst

Giving his unique insight into the businesses – large and small – he’s worked with over the years, James spoke about how to bring a brand to life. 

He says startups should ask themselves six questions to help them shape their own individual stories:

1. What is the company and why did we start it? 
2. What does the company culture enable? And what does it prohibit?
3. Who is our community? Where do they hang out and what do they do?
4. What are the contextual drivers that impact the brand? What technological things could change and what does that mean for us?
5. How is (and should) the categories be defined? What are the category codes that we need to understand and how do we fit into that?
6. Who is the competition and how does that evolve if we retune the proposition of the brand or the offering? If we tweak the business a little, would we run into a giant we couldn’t take on?

James is part of the team building on the Pinterest mission to ‘bring everyone the inspiration to create the life they love’.

He said: “A brand doesn’t live in isolation. A brand is part of this big matrix of things and that matrix of things is changing. Some of those things are political; some of those things are societal. Living in America now, I’ve seen society change at an incredible rate.”

He added: “Some people think a brand is a logo or colour. While these are components of an identity system, a brand is much more. At its best, it’s real clarity about how a group of people behave and a great brand ensures those behaviours give a business strategic advantages.

“So, your story matters, both in how you articulate it to yourself and how it guides your decision-making. The right strategy guides companies through predictable questions like ‘what should our brand look like’, but more importantly the unpredictable predicaments like
how you would react in unforeseen circumstances. So, get your story right!”

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