#MentorSpotlight || Meet Guy Gordon

“My favorite part of what I do is getting to see the ‘aha! moment’ look on peoples’ faces when they understand what branding actually is.”

From Ireland to Israel

Guy Gordon, an Irish native, first visited Israel when he was 16, and made a decision on the spot — he wanted to live in Israel. After finishing his studies and graduating university in England, he arrived in Israel a year later, and after twenty years, hasn’t looked back.

Guy currently resides in Jerusalem with his wife and their three children, though he spent his first twelve years commuting to Tel Aviv working in hi-tech and advertising. Growing tired of the daily schlepp helped Guy realize that perhaps the hi-tech scene wasn’t strictly for Tel Avivians. He then pursued his own path and dedicated himself to immersing into the Jerusalem startup scene.

Guy’s real passion is branding. He likes helping established companies and startups understand how important branding is and how it can redefine their company. With a background in advertising and communications, he started his own company called Salt & Vinegar — which focuses on re-branding small to medium sized companies, as well as creating brands from scratch for startups.

Branding and startups

“My favorite part of what I do is getting to see the ‘aha! moment’ look on peoples’ faces when they understand what branding actually is,” says Guy. Many startups think they don’t need a brand until they get funding, so it’s rewarding when they realize the importance from the start.

Guy’s approach to defining a brand is a ‘unique set of associations in the mind of a customer.’ It’s as simple as that. It’s not just a logo, a voice, or how they promote. A brand is much greater than the sum of its parts. It’s everything one does to create or influence those associations.

In the world of startups, one needs to create a set of associations for a very specific type of customer: investors. These associations go beyond visual identity and ‘packaging’; they touch upon intangibles like being visionary, professional, thorough and modest, and projecting the right demeanor. This is critical to building a startup’s brand.

Mistakes made and learned from

As one of Siftech’s experienced mentors, Guy says he “enjoys helping companies in the Jerusalem ecosystem and connecting people.” However, one of his biggest mistakes was hiring a designer for one of his own projects who wasn’t fit for the task. It backfired big time. He says that “if you’re going to help people out, don’t do it at a professional risk to yourself or your clients.”

Tips for success

  • Do your homework. Research your market and your competitors really well. There’s no such thing as no competition. If there are no direct competitors, there are indirect ones.
  • Ask yourself if your idea is solving a real problem. Look at the problem you’re trying to solve with perspective. Be realistic- will it have an impact on peoples’ lives?
  • Work on being able to explain your idea in one simple sentence. If you can’t write it for yourself, you won’t be able to convey it simply to your users and investors.

Check out Guy’s debut postSo, what exactly is branding? A beginner’s guide to the power of association on Medium

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