CREATE: Why personal branding is crucial for your startups’ success

Mel Goering
Dec 19, 2018 · 2 min read

Tilo Bonow is the founder and CEO of PIABO, a leading PR-agency based in Berlin.

We invited him as a speaker to our APX event CREATE, where creative startups can mingle with other founders and experts to learn, share ideas and find inspiration for their businesses.

What are typical mistakes founders make when it comes to storytelling?

I think one of the major mistakes is that they don’t use their personal brand. Especially as a startup founder, you start with a blank sheet of paper. It’s fundamental that founders realize the biggest asset that they have is themselves. As an employer, you are the person who people are working for. They are helping to achieve your dream. Also when it comes to investors’ potential business partners and clients the personal factor is often underestimated. I wish and hope that more founders really leverage their own personality and brand.

How can you create good storytelling in a short amount of time?

It’s important to ask yourself what your company stands for. There are different methodologies, like having a clear mission or vision but I think it also helps to just asses your strengths and weaknesses. What are the opportunities and threats? There are different kinds of tools and techniques to a very compelling and unique communication point. But at the end of the day, it’s super important to answer the following question: What is the one thing that people should remember about your company?

Video: Why is my personal branding as a founder beneficial for my business?

When should you think about hiring a PR agency?

When you have a Series A funding round, it’s good timing to get professional support. Before that, you can attend workshops, work with a freelancer or even better, do it by yourself. It can be very charming to approach press journalists and say “Hey I founded a company, maybe you’d like to have lunch and talk about it.” But of course, at a certain point, it’s important to get professional support to also tap into the networks of the PR agency, professionalize your story, get crisis support, develop key connections and more.

If we gave you 25k EUR which startup would you found?

A publishing company. That’s very close to my heart. There are so many topics in my head that I am passionate about and with the technology and the kinds of existing tools, you could “easily” start a publishing house from scratch. I am very passionate about new content formats.


More than a VC

Mel Goering

Written by

APX | Axel Springer Porsche GmbH & Co. KG | Berlin | Junior Brand & Communications Manager



More than a VC

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