Brands need to seek startup soul mates

Startups have ideas and brands have money, says Evol8tion CEO, Joseph Jaffe

Evol8tion CEO Joseph Jaffe consulted with Mondelēz International on its Mobile Futures initiative.
Evol8tion CEO Joseph Jaffe consulted with Mondelēz International on its Mobile Futures initiative.

Kodak might be thriving today if the camera business had made an early purchase of Instagram, according to Evol8tion CEO, Joseph Jaffe.

Speaking at the ADMA Forum in Sydney this week, Jaffe said the best way for a brand to survive disruption is to invest in technology startups.

“Every brand has a startup soul mate,” he claimed.

Startups are looking to solve the same problems as brands but their lean business model means they can be more innovative and move faster, he said.

Jaffe recently advised Mondelēz International on an initiative to partner the company’s food brands including Cadbury and belVita with startups to innovate its mobile marketing.

“You should be carving out your innovation funds and your innovation budgets. You should be thinking about these connections and the earlier you do it, the better,” he said.

Related: Marketing innovation depends on cultural transformation: Cadbury, Oreo media chief

Startups are full of ideas but have no money, while brands have are full of money but have no ideas, Jaffe said. “Can startups help solve brand problems? The answer is unequivocally yes.”

The arrangement must, however, be a win-win partnership. “This is not about big brands taking advantage of startups and it’s not about startups taking advantage of big brands because [they’ve] got money,” he said.

Investing in startup companies is not as expensive as it might sound, Jaffe continued.

“For less than the cost of a Super Bowl commercial, you could have your own startup. You could start your own startup. You could invest in your own startup.”

Refusing to innovate will cost a brand a lot more, he said.

“How do you kill a dinosaur? The answer is you don’t. Evol8tion does.”

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and emerging technology for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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