How we became loved by the community by shaping our identity

When we started developing Soda we did not have a clue on it’s name or even it’s identity; we just built great features. Our designer was asked to design a killer interface, but how could he even pick a color when he did not know which story it will tell? This reminded me of a great quote by Simon Sinek:

“People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it”

We thought: let’s start all over. Drop our work, get away from our screens, have pizza and grab post-its. We wrote down who we are (got us in some fights) and who we’re not (just as important). What makes us different, what do we value most and what do we believe in? Questions many startups answer first, but often forgotten when building a business (it happened to us). Fortunately we grabbed these post-its soon enough and shifted focus to develop a great identity for our newborn child.

As a social advertising agency it is our mission to bring brands and their customers closer together. Our focus is on premium brands and goal is to close the gap between storytellers (content creators) and advertisers (the ones that increase a brand’s reach). This is where our belief is founded:

We believe teams that promote a brand’s voice should be closely involved with the people that create this voice.

If you translate this belief in to your (visual) identity you’re not quite satisfied with the outcome. It is when combined with your core values your true identity is shaped.

What do you value most?

Your values are what makes you different from others. It contains your culture, skills, people and vision. They give you guidance in your way up and build relationships with employees and customers. Defining our true values and zooming in on our strengths and weaknesses was a true ‘eye-opener’ for us. It left us with four words that mean a lot to us now and define our daily decisions:

Human, Premium, Creative and Simplicity.

Human — We work with people and depend on them. We share our knowledge through our technology, and make the difficult decisions for our users. That’s what makes us human.

Premium — We have been solely working with premium brands and would like to continue on doing so, this means our product has to be premium.

Creative — In our future we hope ‘creative content people’ use our product to promote their stories. In order for creatives to use our product we have to be the creatives. This shines through in our design first approach.

Simplicity — When interdisciplines speak to each other they have to simplify. If we want to bring two worlds together, we have to simplify.

These values define our company’s culture and identity. They help us make business- and product decisions and create a voice to customers and colleagues. Every idea validation has to withstand the power of our values.

How did you ‘start with why’ and how did it influence your company?


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