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Founder-Led Brands and Bread and Jam 2018

Founder-Led Brands and Bread and Jam 2018

Amazing two days of brilliant talks, panels and discussions, here is a roundup of the Grocery Accelerators takeaways from Bread and Jam 2018. Bread and Jam Festival Roundup Part Three!

The Secret Life of Founder-Led Brands: Shilen Patel, Distill Ventures
As CEO of Distill Ventures, Shilen explained how entrepreneurs can partner with large corporates for mutual growth and what he’s learnt about accelerating founder-led brands.

“Unfair advantage through the beauty of storytelling”

According to Shilen, it is now a bad time to be a big brand owner and small brands have an unfair advantage through the beauty of storytelling. Founder-led stories are the edge that the big name brands can’t compete with. Big brands have lost the trust of the consumer, they are built for scale and efficiency but are not agile and good at change which is why they can’t compete. Consumers care about the founders, the ingredients in their food and drink, how it’s made and the mission of the business, if you can discover your brand’s story and tell it you have an advantage over the big boys.

Working with corporates is like “very bad speed dating” 

When corporates and entrepreneurs talk it is a very one-sided relationship and you have to be careful not to lose the qualities that enabled them to grow in the first place.

Here are Shilen’s 5 Golden Rules for working with large corporates:

  • Start with the end in mind (and make sure they do too): What is the end game? Discuss the real outcome you want before you get into a relationship.
  • Ask for stuff that’s really going to help and that no one else has access to: What are they offering? What do you really need?
  • Make sure it’s really a win-win relationship/deal (mutual respect and listening): Is what is being discussed a win-win on both sides and mutually beneficial?
  • Make sure they go at your pace, not theirs: Is it hard to get ahold of what they’re offering?
  • Ensure both of you are not underestimating the culture gap: Are they good at working with small brands? See what experience they have with small brands. Big companies might not be able to translate their skills to small brands and startups, they have different perspectives on time.

How to find the right balance and build a business that will last with the Five Bricks technique.

“The three middle bricks are the spine of the business and the two bricks on the side are the supports required for success”

Work on all five bricks weekly, this is a great way to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business strategy. Distill Ventures believes that if your business can find a balance covering all five bricks then you’ll have a business that lasts. Find the full slides for the 5 Bricks here – distillventures.com/how-to-create-strong-businesses-and-brilliant-brands/

And finally here are some of Shilen’s top tips:

  • Go deep not wide! Take time to learn and get repeat customers “don’t spray everywhere” so instead of chasing multiple rabbits, such as distributors, focus on one at a time.
  • Every conversation is a pitch, always be closing and curious.
  • Only worry about things you can worry about or you will burnout.
  • Build a network of people who ‘mentor’ you and nurture that list.
  • Always know what headache your product is solving.
  • Don’t market, be interesting! Just keep telling people and stay interesting.

Want to know how to communicate your brand journey through the power of storytelling? Check out our roundup from Emily Keogh, from Palm PR, talk at Bread and Jam here: groceryaccelerator.co.uk/the-power-of-storytelling-at-bread-and-jam-2018/

Check out food navigators article on Shilen Patel’s talk at Bread and Jam 2018: foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/10/10/A-bloody-brilliant-time-to-be-a-food-entrepreneur-The-risks-and-rewards-of-founder-led-brands

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