In February, IZEA began trading on NASDAQ capital markets—a huge event in the lifetime of a company. We’ve worked with IZEA since 2007; we’ve attended their conferences and worked with it for our clients…and we’re thrilled to see their success!
What does IZEA do? They connect content creators—bloggers, journalists, YouTubers, photographers, videographers, and other influencers—with sponsors and marketers looking for customized content they can use in social media, content marketing campaigns, and more. It’s a win-win; marketers find top quality content, and creators can find ways to monetize their work.
Seeing IZEA succeed has us thinking about the power of entrepreneurship and building a brand to success. It’s not just about money, technology, or business acumen—although those help! Starting a company and building its brand from the ground up have to do with its mission and values. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned from IZEA.
Lesson 1: Make the World a Better Place
At BlueTreeDigital, one of our catch phrases is “We love to help.” We also like to talk about our mission to help small business owners build their dreams (while getting a good night’s sleep) through excellent marketing services. In our own way, we’re out to make the world a better place.
That’s why we’re rooting for a company like IZEA. Having that big vision gives entrepreneurs their power, and communicating this vision creates their brand. Founder Ted Murphy saw a new landscape where anyone could be a content creator, and, as he puts it, “…disrupt the world as we know it, changing the media landscape and transforming the way in which we are entertained, educated and inspired.” Changing the world is a mission we can get behind.
Lesson 2: Stay True to Your Values
Our philosophy says it best: we exist to help our clients and staff reach their dreams through customized marketing and work environments. These values inform our ongoing mission as a company. That’s why we love The IZEA Way: Love, Courage, Accountability, Fun, Teamwork, Communication, and Citizenship.
A company’s brand has to emerge authentically from its core values. In today’s world, people want to build authentic connections with the companies they do business with. A brand isn’t just about colors or slogans; it’s about the people and the personalities behind your business. Sharing those values through social media, blogs, and other content is part of building your brand—but they have to come from somewhere real.
Lesson 3: Adapt, Adopt, Improve
Keeping those values alive and the mission going takes grit and hard work. Take it from us. But what happens to a company mission when the world changes around you? What happens to a brand when technology evolves?
IZEA’s story has answers. They launched the world’s first marketplace that actually paid bloggers to create content on behalf of brands, when content marketing was just in its infancy. We all know how the social media landscape exploded in the past ten years: Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube, just to name a few. How did they pull it off? By staying true to their original mission—helping content creators find ways to reach their dreams by finding ways to monetize their content—while rolling with the changes in technology. Same mission, same values, new platforms.
When an entrepreneur sets out to change the world (or at least a small corner of it), it’s something special. The core values of that company help its mission come about. Sharing that mission and those values makes a brand compelling. The challenge is to keep the brand relevant and flexible as the world changes. At BlueTreeDigital we’re inspired by IZEA’s example.