As Slush Singapore 2017 draws closer, it is time for us to look back at last year’s event to see how it has impacted the many startups that took part. This week, we had the opportunity to interview Smartly and TBWA to gain further insight into their experience at Slush Singapore 2016.
Smartly is a startup that was part of the 45 companies picked for Slush Singapore 2016. Out of that, TBWA chose six startups to have one-to-one mentorships with, in which, Smartly had the opportunity to be further mentored in their marketing efforts as a startup – which is an essential aspect to any business, as it’s the best way to get the story and brand out for the business.
“No startup today has thought to have a strong marketing advisor on their startup. Nobody has thought of that. Marketing guys and branding guys should be on the advisory board and it was a selling point for us. We had a very good story of how we got out at the beginning but we did not know how to tell or sell it for others to understand. TBWA made us understand how important it was. In today’s world you can have the best product but if you don’t have the branding or marketing, then it’s nothing.” – Smartly
As a partner of Slush Singapore 2016, TBWA had the opportunity to tap into their existing expertise to truly value add to startups.
“Going through the pitch decks of the top 45 companies was really interesting and the experience that we had at Slush Singapore 2016 has allowed us to learn the angles as to how we can give back to the ecosystem.” -TBWA
It was only after the conference where the magic happened. Inspired by the one-on-one coaching before the Top45 pitching, TBWA and Smartly linked up for private coaching on branding.
From their deeper engagement with Smartly, they realised the value that they could provide to early stage startups, which inspired the founding of TBWA\Brand Accelerator – a six-month long program where startups get to work with the top minds at TBWA to develop their brand story. At the end of the program, startups walk away with a brand book detailing every aspect of the startups brand – from logos, pitch decks, taglines, phrases, corporate colours, and the list continues.
This program was born out of a pilot test they ran with Smartly. “Their pitch deck and ideas did not really match with their branding and marketing efforts which was one of the reasons why we wanted to get them onboard this pilot programme. By getting them on board, it was also some sort of validation to the next generations of this programme.” – TBWA