The Modern Entrepreneur

The Modern Entrepreneur

In Ethos 13, Karmen Tang spoke to us about reaching new audiences, and we liked what she had to say. Now, in a regular collaboration, she talks us through the trends she comes across on her another startup story platform. And she shows us how to use those insights to get your own side-hustle or start-up off the ground…

Karmen offers 1:1 business coaching alongside marketing and content services. She likes to dismantle the conventions of traditional professional development and showcase culturally relevant content for those wanting to further develop their businesses.

another startup story is a media and business coaching platform. It serves as a daily source of inspiration and education for creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers through coaching, workshops, events, storytelling, and a podcast series.


April 2021


Karmen Tang

Future brands

2020 has been a tough year, but for some it has been a year of rebirth. The pandemic has sparked a wave of innovation and launched a new generation of entrepreneurs. As consumer behaviour is transforming in the age of Covid-19, brands are taking advantage of these new opportunities.

This is the most entrepreneurial era in history. Over the last year, one area that has seen tremendous growth is digitisation. From remote working and supply-chain reinvention to the use of AI and machine learning to improve operations. Remote healthcare has also changed substantially, for obvious reasons. In the first half of 2020 alone, health tech companies raised $9.1bn in funding, 19% up from last year (Courier, 2020). Fig, a femtech startup focused on modernising outdated systems in reproductive health launched in November 2020, offering at-home health screens and digital coaching.

Disruption creates space for entrepreneurs. A new flood of research-backed sleekly packaged products – both from preexisting cult brands and trendy new startups alike – have permeated the market.


But what characteristics do these modern brands have in common?

1- Guided by purpose – they stand for something: It is this tension point that takes us back to the drawing board when it comes to the “soul” of a brand. When the why is clear, those who share that belief will be drawn to it and maybe want to take part in bringing it to life. If that belief is amplified, it can have the power to bring on more believers around a common purpose. But it takes more than inspiration to become great. Inspiration only starts the process; you need something more to drive a movement.


2- Delivering an experience: In-person experiences provide a critical touchpoint for consumers, especially for DTC companies. Physical retail shops and pop-up stores can act as the primary ‘growth engine’ with the key to creating community through experiences and immersion. Having the ability to translate online trends into physical space is critical for modern brands to survive.


3- Building trust through transparency: Most small businesses are embedding supply chain transparency as a pillar of their models. Not only does this enhance a brand’s position on sustainability and open up communication with its consumers, but it can also increase profitability. 94% of customers will remain loyal to a brand due to transparency (Fabrik).


4- Empowering a community: Your community will be loyal to your brand and have a common interest in supporting you and becoming an advocate. Loyalty is the holy grail of any brand and consumer relationship and it is won through emotional not transactional relationships. Speak to your community in human-speak, as you would a friend. In order to empower a specific community, you need to thoroughly understand them. Invest in the research.


5- Think Editorial: Any modern online business today is a publishing company. For today’s educated and conscious consumer, brand purpose is about more than eye-catching sponsored ads and viral hashtags. To gain traction, storytelling, content and tone of voice are all essential ingredients for a modern brand. 


Now it’s your turn…


1 – Know your sector inside out
(Read industry research reports on current and future trends and data, speak to all stakeholders within that ecosystem)


2- Understand the competition
Who are the direct and indirect competitors that threaten your brand’s market share?
Determine 5-10 competitors and take note of the pricing, branding, tone of voice, platforms they’re on and product/ service offerings.


3- Know your client/customer

What is your customer avatar(s)?

What keeps them up at night?

What podcasts are they listening to?

What do they complain about?

Who do they go to for advice?


4- How are you going to validate these assumptions? (For e.g. polling on socials, survey emails, phone interviews, FB groups, researching under 3* reviews)


5- Define your brand positioning

Branding is a business process – it helps to establish the direction, leadership, clarity of purpose and resource allocation for a company’s most important asset – it’s brand.

What is the brand for? (The meaning of your brand)

Who is the brand for? (Your most profitable segments)

When is the brand for? (When the purchase takes place)


6 – Our positioning statement is: 

Example: Mailchimp (brand) is an all-in-one Marketing Platform (frame of reference) for small businesses (relevant market segments). We empower millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with our smart marketing technology, award-winning support, and inspiring content (competitive edge).”

The Modern Entrepreneur is featured in issue 14 of Ethos magazine. If you enjoyed what you read online, issue 14 is packed with innovation, inspiration and global good business stories. Grab your copy now!

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