If you’re launching a startup, you have to speak to a culture. Think about Uber – how it has powerfully tapped into an urban hipster culture. And Snapchat – connected to a teen culture. And recent crowdfunding campaigns like the one for URB-E, an electric bike that addresses the ‘last mile’ challenge in the greening of cities. (When people in cities use public transportation to get to work or school, getting them right to their door is a challenge. They need another solution. That’s the so-called ‘last mile’ challenge.)
My sense if that if you launch a startup without creating a social culture around it, or connecting with an existing social culture, it will drop like a rock in the ocean and never be seen again.
I’ve seen this time and again with crowdfunding campaigns, and what are crowdfunding projects but mini-startups? Often crowdfunding is used to pre-market products, testing the waters for user adoption. The projects that make it, like the New York Pizza Project, and Kittyo, tap into existing markets and cultures. The New York Pizza project worked because it’s about, well, New York and pizza, and when you combine those cultures you get a group of passionate people who will connect with an online campaign. Kittyo speaks (meows?) loudly to cat owners who get lonely for their pets while they are away. It’s a classic pre-marketing effort that is a startup in disguise.
There’s much talk about the power of storytelling. Online, storytelling only lands in its power center when it is connected with a culture. If you want your startup to succeed, you must connect with an existing culture or else invent your own.
How to get started? Twitter can be used as a research tool to find, understand and grow your user base.