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21st November 2023

The B Word: Harnessing brand to drive startup success

Welcome to The B Word, the show that unravels the intricacies of B2B branding. Our monthly episodes feature guests from diverse realms, including technology, venture capital, private equity, and more. Together, we delve into the essence of branding, its mechanics, and its profound significance in the contemporary business landscape.

Episode 8: In this episode, Omri Sagan, Co-founder and CEO of technology start-up CTRL, shares how the process of creating and defining the brand helped CTRL scale and grow.

We dive into the transformative power of self-serve and product-led growth, the crucial role of branding in fundraising (in terms of credibility and messaging) and the reflections of Omri’s journey, from securing funding to user engagement.



Episode highlights:

Significance of Self-Serve and Product-Led Growth in Sales Software: The importance of a self-serve and product-led growth (PLG) strategy for their business, especially in the context of software applications for sales and the value it provides to end users.
  1. The crucial role of a self-serve platform and the concept of product-led growth (PLG) in the business strategy.
  2. The goal-oriented approach of CTRL, ensuring that the product adds value to end users, streamlining and automating their work processes.
  3. Recognition of the fundamental importance of starting with the end user to validate product effectiveness and user satisfaction.

The Significance of Branding in the Fundraising Journey: Its role in CTRL's  fundraising journey, particularly in terms of credibility, messaging, and perception by investors and customers.
  1. The pivotal role of branding in providing clarity, effective messaging, and shaping the presentation of the company's vision to potential investors.
  2. The transition in the second round of funding, where maturity and credibility became crucial, especially with a functional product ready for sale – the strategic rationale behind branding lies in bolstering the company's credibility, fostering a perception of maturity among investors and customers alike.
  3. Viewing branding as a tool to project a forward-looking image and establish consistency in messaging across the website and product, further reinforcing the company's maturity in the eyes of stakeholders.

A founders perspective on the Branding Exercise and Agency Selection: The branding process and Omri's experience with it, particularly focusing on his expectations and his key learnings.
  1. Seek a branding agency as a collaborative partner capable of realising specific objectives.
  2. Recognise that while some agencies may excel in certain areas, they might lack expertise in other critical aspects to your business.
  3. To achieve meaningful differentiation, you need branding to translate across messaging, persona, and style into unified visual comms and identity.
  4. Acknowledgment of the branding's impact on various materials, including the website, investor presentations, and customer decks.
  5. There's a level of granularity needed to bring your brand to life –essential elements like colour, language, branding style, and font choice, which extend their influence into the product itself.
Standout moments of building a start-up: From securing funding to team growth, branding, product launch, user engagement, and creating noise (PR).
  1. The excitement of securing the first round of funding, signifying the ability to move forward.
  2. The hiring of the first employee marked a significant milestone in transitioning from a founder-driven venture to building a team.
  3. The introduction of branding was celebrated as a major moment in the company's development.
  4. A key milestone was seeing users return to the product regularly, signifying ongoing engagement and value.
"When it comes to branding a start-up, as a new founder, normally you have more bandwidth earlier on. Once you start with your customers, your product is working, and your team grows, you will have less and less time.
So my advice is to do your branding first of all, or as early as possible."
Omri Sagan, CTRL
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