I am not naïve enough to believe that leading an established company is the
same as launching a start-up.
But I know they’re both after the same thing: fast growth.
So while I think that you and I have probably both seen lots of those old pitch
decks from the start-ups who went on to grow to multi-billion dollar
valuations… I wanted to look at them again and see if there are any
reminders in there for established companies.
One thing stood out as being just as true for start-ups as it is for established
companies: the importance of making sure you have a strategic Vision which
is ruthlessly simple.
Like Uber’s in 2008: “the NetJets of car services”
Or WeWork’s vision: “workspace as a service”
It’s the same in established companies: for sure you’ll be able to brief your
key reports, but you won’t be in every meeting every day when your design
team starts the months’ long process to design, locate and fit out your new
concept store… and hits an unexpected snag. Or your creative team has to
choose between cost and quality in the new product. Or the hiring and
training of every new person.
Or all the other things going on in the dark and distant corners of your
company that you need done, and done consistently.
A carapace of simplicity is the only thing that you can give your Vision to
protect it when it’s passed from person to person, across time zones and
regions, in multiple meetings and hurried discussions, and keep it perfectly
intact through all of that.
If you don’t do that, then your company’s not going to grow as fast as the
new entrants in your market.
Can you express your strategic Vision in eight words or less?
Can everyone in your company do that?
To date, the Visions we’ve created have led to investments of over half a
billion dollars. They’ve also made life simpler and more enjoyable for
everyone at the luxury brands we’ve worked with. Our method leads to a
proprietary 7-slide format which keeps the strategic Vision simple and
memorable — and has been known to align an Investment Board in record
By the way, our site has a 15-minute strategic Vision diagnostic tool, built out
of the learnings from our successful projects at Harry Winston, Hunter Boot,
Belstaff, and the launches of fast-growth start-ups in skincare and fintech
If you’d like to learn more, see the deck’s I’ve mentioned, or hear more
about how we define, align and kick-start growth in companies, often in less
than 16 weeks, I’d love to hear from you. Just email me.
Chris West founded Verbal Identity in 2010 to help CEOs, CMOs and leadership teams define their strategic Vision. Previously, Chris ran a project-based advertising agency for 10 years working with global clients and before that, he was an award-winning copywriter.
In 2016, he was the convening President for the inaugural verbal branding jury at the LIA and his book, ‘How Words Work’, was recognised at the 2017 D&AD Awards. Outside of work, he contributes to The Sunday Times and a leading luxury magazine, and he wrote the screenplay which went on to win Best Film at the Barcelona Film Festival.