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September 17, 2013

Great Brands Scratch An Itch

by Craig Shapiro

Every person, every organization has itches.

An itch for Bill Gates? Eradicating Polio.

ESPN? Push television advertising revenue to $4 billion ( from $3.52 billion).

Donors Choose? Help fund projects for over 200,000 teachers ( from 154,829).

Tesla? Create an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack which costs less than $12,000 ( from $34,000).

As Rev Run states — the bigger the problem you solve, the more money you can command.

I’d bet if you created a new product or technology which could eradicate Polio, Bill Gates would personally write you a check for $500 million on the spot.

Similarly, if you could enable ESPN to increase their television advertising revenue by 10%, John Skipper would write you a check for $100 million.

I recommend spending time before every meeting asking yourself and answering these two questions:

What is this person’s itch?

If I can adequately scratch it, what do I want in return?

(Said differently: how can I align our interests to achieve a mutually desired outcome?)

If you can simply articulate the answers to those two questions at the onset of your meeting, you will have outlined a positive outcome for both parties and demonstrated that there is value in your partnership. They have an itch; you can scratch it and should rightfully be rewarded for doing so.  

At Collaborative Fund we are attracted to brands that satisfy large-scale consumer needs and are capable of defining their own purpose.  Our investment thesis, at its core, focuses on supporting businesses that can align interests in a way that solves some of society’s greater itches.

Want an honest and transparent bank? Simple.

Have a creative project that needs funding? Kickstarter.

Want to learn a new language? MindSnacks.

These are examples of businesses which have a clear value proposition and a product that helps their community lead a better and more engaged life. Great brands scratch an itch, which is why so many of them tend to become terms that describe their function.

What itch does your brand scratch?

 

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