For The Love #2: Strategy is Extra.
If only we loved it like guac.
A newsletter about branding, startups, and mission-driven companies aiming to make the world a better place.
👋 Welcome to issue #2 of For The Love, and hello to all the new subscribers! If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you don’t want to miss an issue you can sign up here.
💣 For The Love of Startups
Let’s start with an exercise.
Who comes to mind when I say “acts first, thinks later?”
It’s Donald Trump.
Whichever side of the aisle you’re on, it’s clear that the President acts without much in the way of a pre-planned strategy. He is impulsive, and it’s widely known that this creates a chaotic environment for his staff.
Action without strategy always has the same result — confusion.
On the other hand, I’ve been a founder on a budget. I’ve hired consultants to help with various parts of my business and I’ve always pushed back on paying a lot for what they called “strategy”.
I thought, “I know exactly what my business stands for, what my goals are, who my customers are.”
In hindsight, I realize the mistake I made that cost me time and money was that I’m not sure anyone else knew it — at least not as thoroughly and consistently as I did.
Let’s reframe strategy as something tangible — something you can measure.
That something is time.
When you’re actually paying for is the articulation of your strategy and the dissemination of it to everyone else on the team.
You invest in strategy now so your social media team doesn’t need to get approval every time they post. Your strategy enables your sales team to be consistent in its collateral. Your strategy is a reference point so your head of customer service can build an operational guide for training their team on their own.
Once you’ve done the groundwork, and everyone is clear on what the goals are, what the message is, and who it’s for — you don’t need to micromanage. Your team can act with autonomy and you can get back to big picture thinking.
Einstein was once asked: “If you have one hour to save the world, how would you spend that hour?” He replied, “I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it.”
In this case, you’re spending extra time upfront to define the problem now, so you (and your team) can solve it in five minutes again, and again, and again.
🔥 For The Love of Newness
Newly-launched Hiki is making things for people who sweat.
Upgrade your breakfast (or midday snack) routine with Off Limits — cereal with functional ingredients (think adaptogens and caffeine) and there are toys.
Journify — journaling by way of voice notes — launched their app.
Hollywood’s favorite girl next door is now making clean wine.
Evian bottles got an eco-conscious upgrade — they are now label-free for easy recycling.
Get on the waitlist for mmhmm to give your video presentations a Daily Show-style makeover.
Daydreamers launched their Leisurist Toolkit — everything you need to tap back into your childhood hobbies.
🔍 For The Love of the Details
I had not planned to feature another delivery-themed ad but when this landed in my inbox (thank you, Catharine Dockery!) with the caption “there is definitely something fishy about this,” I just couldn’t resist.
First off, this is an ad for delivery — specifically FREE delivery! So why is she standing in the street? Did she list her delivery address as a street corner?!
Her facial expression is...odd. Is it even possible to drink through a straw sideways with your tongue sticking out? And that far off look in her eyes makes me think she’s imagining doing anything other than eating a 7-Eleven hot dog.
And can we talk about the hot dog? Not only does it look completely unappetizing, but also...very shiny? If you made me rank every possible item to order from 7-Eleven, a hot dog would be dead last.
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A few more things...
Is there a topic you’d like me to cover? Or a funny ad I can dissect? I’d love to hear from you! You can email me at email@example.com, respond to this email, or drop it in the comments ⬇.
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Written by Aja Singer, a brand and creative strategy consultant interested in all things startup, mission-driven, and community. Born in Canada. Based in Brooklyn. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.