Share this post:

Common Startup Branding Mistakes and How To Avoid Them – Interview with Dan Gregory & Kieran Flanagan


Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan are Behavioural Researchers & Strategists. They are authors, educators and the founders of The Impossible Institute, an innovation and engagement think-tank founded to make what’s not… possible. Their specialisation is behaviour and belief systems – our motives, our drives, the things that make us buy and the things that make us buy in. In short, the business of human behaviour. Dan and Kieran will be sharing their expertise at the upcoming Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention. Book a free seat now.

1. You’ve worked with high profile brands like Coca-Cola and Nando’s to develop new product lines. Could you share with us how you’ve helped these brands?
Brands are shortcuts and the human brain is lazy by design so it will use them. The reason we all make it out of the house in the morning is because of heuristics which are the brains default patterns. So much of what we do is unconscious and when we work with big brands (we do what we do with smaller ones or startups really), we help them become noticeable enough, interested enough and relevant enough to get seen, understood and most importantly liked. Over time, they become embedded into the autopilot part of the brain. That way, when the lazy human mind is making a decision, they only have to glance at a logo and know exactly why they should buy it.

2.Your mission for The Impossible Institute is to “make impossible thinking an epidemic”. What do you think are the key barriers that prevent impossible thinking and innovation?
Impossible thinking is thinking what is not possible… yet. Thinking what we have always thought is the enemy of impossible thinking. Don’t buy into the way things should be done, focus on the way you’d love them to be done. To think the impossible, we must hold an impossible thought long enough that it becomes possible. We must question everything we currently hold true and imagine “what if this was not true”.

3. You say that The Impossible Institute specialises in the “business of human behaviour” – the drivers and motivators behind what make us buy and the things that make us buy in. Could you tell us what some of these key motivators are?
So much press and talk these days are about the rate of change we are experiencing… and we are. But beneath all the change are the human beings that are not really changing all that much. We are still all driven by an unconscious desire to survive, to look after ourselves and our own, we have a desire to keep ourselves alive and an unconscious bias towards the simplest and easiest way to get things done. We also are driven by the need to matter, to be noticed, to feel heard, to feel valuable, to feel accepted, loved and connected.

4. In your experience, what’s the difference between building a business and building a brand? How can entrepreneurs ensure that their brand is one that stands the test of time?
So many entrepreneurs we work with essentially create their own job versus building a brand with value beyond themselves. Your brand can speak for you when you are not in the room.

5. What are the branding mistakes you see in startup businesses and how can these be avoided?
Not knowing what they are really selling, it’s never the product.

Not knowing the business they are really in, sounds crazy but it is true!

Not understanding their customer – everyone knows more about themselves than they do the people they exist to serve.

Taking too long in the pursuit of perfection or even better. The best ideas do not always win, the most popular ones do. Branding is a popularity contest. In a grudge match between having the best and having the most loved, love will always win.

6. What is the one key thing  businesses entering crowded market spaces need to do to differentiate themselves from the crowd?
Beware of the desire to fit in. It is a natural human trait but it does not serve you in business. We are all in danger of looking the same, sounding the same, smelling the same and acting the same. If we play the same game we end up playing a game of price or convenience.

7. A lot of our audience at the Unconvention will be in the early stages, say in their first 1-2 years in business and trying to gain some traction – what would be your advice to them?
Find what you love but more importantly find what makes you lovable… knowing what customers will love about what you offer is key.

8. What do the next 6-12 months look like for you?
We are doing a substantial amount of speaking and thought leadership in the US (as well as our speaking in Australia), continuing to work with entrepreneurs both with The Entourage as well as in our own entrepreneur marketing course Stones for David, working on a new TV show and our next book as well as and continuing to develop intrapreneurial mindsets inside some of our favourite big brands. Oh, we are trying to squeeze in a movie script we have started for a bit of fun! Hopefully, a couple of holidays to exotic locations, a few new motorbikes for Dan and a shiny new car for Kieran. Phew!

9. Can you give us some insight into what you’ll be sharing at the Unconvention?
We will be seeing things from a customer’s point of view and challenging everyone in the room to think carefully about what they are really selling and to whom they are really selling.
Dan & Kieran will be giving practical and innovative advice to entrepreneurs and startup business owners at the upcoming Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention on the following dates:

– Adelaide: August 22nd
– Brisbane: August 29th
– Auckland: September 27th

Book a FREE ticket now.

Don’t forget to follow The Impossible Institute, Dan and Kieran on Twitter to stay up to date on everything they are working on.


About The Entourage

The Entourage is Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs with over 100,000 members around the world.

Share this post:

No comments



  • The largest event for Entrepreneurs in Australia and New Zealand

  • Topics

  • Social

  • twitterlinkedinrss