What existing companies can learn from startups

What existing companies can learn from startups


  1. Staying Relevant: Eight things established brands and companies can learn from startups.
  2. Radiant Blog: Your Customers’ Values: The new branding tool
  3. Radiant Work: CREATING AN ONLINE STORE AND RETAIL PRESENCE FOR AN L.A. WINE MERCHANT How do you access 10,000 wines online and in the store?


Staying Relevant: Eight things established brands and companies can learn from startups

The hard truth of managing a brand, a company, or a product today is that the market and the world is changing so fast that it’s very difficult for established companies and corporations to adapt, change and stay relevant. This is true even if you’re Microsoft or an HP; even they could end up like Radio Shack. Take some clues from the startup world.

2015-03_numbers-01Understand your market and be responsive.
Trying to get customers to come in the door just to make your numbers isn’t a lasting strategy—it has to be more than just discounts and sales or banking on an established leadership position. Consumers, just like you, have a huge range of options. The key to winning their business is keeping it simple and convenient for their needs. Whole Foods is expensive, but it’s all about building a relationship with the customer and supporting their values. Each purchase is about validating customers’ choices, that they did the right thing.

2015-03_numbers-02Your competitors are changing and so should you.
Startups show up to disrupt and reinvent a category, like Uber, and change the world in a minute. Being in the taxi business used to be predictable: get a fare, take a customer to a location. With Uber the entire world of on-demand transport for the individual has been disrupted. And customers now get to choose what they want, when and where. What does a cab company do? DeSoto Cab, one of San Francisco’s oldest, has partnered with Flywheel, an online ride app, and rebranded itself with the Flywheel brand. They realized they had to stay relevant to the customer and create unique value. This is the only way to survive in a competitive world.

2015-03_numbers-03Authenticity in your brand is essential.
You need to have a real brand message that means something to your audience. This means your team, your customers, the general public all need to see the value in the brand. This experience of value creates a unique and memorable connection to your brand.

2015-03_numbers-04Startups are flat organizations.
The fewer levels of management you have, the more straightforward the communication between all parts of the company. Flat organizations can be relevant and nimble, like a startup, to respond and change as needed.

2015-03_numbers-05Real customer relationships build real loyalty.
Many retailers are beginning to understand that it’s not about getting the customer to buy stuff; it’s about developing and strengthening the customer relationship. Listen to customers, pay attention to the online conversations, maybe even engage in the conversation. Focus on building ongoing relationships with customers, giving them a reason to come to you, whether it be online or to brick and mortar, is critical. Getting that sense of “I’m part of this community” verifies that shopping at this retailer, giving your loyalty is more than just a purchase. It’s part of your lifestyle and who you are as a person.

2015-03_numbers-06The value of social media: stay connected to customers.
Through email, coupons and social media, not only do customers experience the brand; they are also enabled to interact and create their own experience of the brand, to make it theirs. Social media enables an interactive relationship; it comes in learning from other people’s comments about their experiences using outdoor clothing and gear from REI, or finding a great recipe from another Whole Foods customer and getting help online to make it. This is what customer relationship and experience is all about.

2015-03_numbers-07You’re not just selling: you’re solving problems.
Startups frequently position themselves as providing a new, better solution to a problem. Real, authentic brands pay attention and deliver on what the customer truly wants to build enormous customer trust and value. This cuts across all categories of business from retail to technology-focused companies. What does this do? It creates experiences that tell customers that you are bringing value to them. There’s been a belief in marketing and advertising for years that you just have to say to customers what you know they will like. That’s a fragment of what matters to customers and what good will translates into brand value.

2015-03_numbers-08Communicate and deliver real brand value.
Customers are looking for what matters to them—they want a commitment from the brand that it will deliver on the brand promise—otherwise it’s just another transaction. Successful startups must deliver this value.

So keeping your brand relevant to customers and in the front of customer builds equity and trust. The rest is about delivering, consistently and per the customer’s expectation.

New Radiant Work:


How do you access 10,000 wines online and in the store?



Woodland Hills Wine Co., based in Los Angeles, wanted to expand access to their 10,000 wines, sourced from California, Europe and elsewhere. Their store offerings enticed customers to drive in some cases for over a hundred miles to get unique vintages and exclusive selections.

Developing their online retail presence gave customers throughout the United States access to their selections. Radiant developed their new branding, store decor and online UI to connect customers with a seamless experience of Woodland Hills Wine Company.

Radiant captured the essence of the brand and created a consistent online and brick-and-mortar experience.





• Individual interviews
• Market research
• Messaging and naming
• Brand design and creative
• Brand style guide
• Website interface design
• Store decor
• Signage system