Awesome People - Ep 69

brand naming, brand voice, storytelling, FT hires

Hi fellow founders and VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.


Please meet Corey Lewis, Your Freelance Brand Expert and Creative Director 🤓

Corey was referred to me by Lizzie Bildner, another awesome marketing person!  Corey named Pepsi’s “billion-dollar” sparkling water, bub, and designed the brand voice for entrepreneur Sean Parker’s cancer research non-profit. She’s worked on household brands like Shopify and Nike. She’s now freelancing for purpose-motivated startups and agencies. Trust me: Corey is a gem that you want to work with if you’re looking to level up your brand.

She's trusted by R/GA, Work & Co, Interbrand, and other big and small agencies. You can hire her to: 

  • name things for you (products, companies, you name it!)

  • find your brand’s stand-out voice

  • lead branding projects

  • all things writing

Fun fact: Corey solo-hiked the Appalachian Trail from south to north in 2019! Ask her about how she found her own trail name ⛰️

Want an intro to Corey? Lmk and I’ll connect you!


She was gracious enough to share some pro-tips with us here 🔥

Don’t underestimate the power of words

When people think of branding, they immediately think of logos. But “Just do it” is just as powerful as the swoosh. Many brands underestimate the potential of creating sticky, ownable language and a stand-out voice for their brand. Words can be emotive and conversational. They can connect with people in really powerful ways. 

Case in point: the tabs we created for bubly

Each tab “greets” the drinker and gives the can its own personality. It’s a small moment, but it’s one of the most engaging parts of the brand. 

Here are 3 ways to improve your voice and language:

1) Working on naming? Some of the catchiest names fall into the following categories:

  • Phrases: I’ll never forget the brand Baboon to the Moon

  • Made-up words: Haagen Daaz is a clear winner here

  • Totally abstract: ‘Apple’ has absolutely nothing to do with phones

2) A lot of brands will ask for their brand voice to be “human.” Get more specific. There are many different types of humans out there in the world. And if you’re asking for “trustworthy”? That’s built, not expressed. 

3) Have a POV in your storytelling. There are many things worth standing up and standing out for. Don’t be afraid to take a creative risk. 

Get into character

You’ve probably heard of the exercise: “If your brand was a person…” A quick Google Search can send you down the webhole of brand archetypes and character worksheets. But you don’t need all of that to come up with a compelling character and creative approach for your brand. 

Instead, ask: “What’s your relationship to your customers?” For bubly, we wanted to be a playful instigator—someone who could encourage the drinker to introduce a little fun into their day. This character inspired everything from the copy on the can (lines like, “Know any nice ice cubes?”) to our campaign work. 

Your brand character will give you cues for how to write, look, and show up. It will help you brainstorm (and evaluate) creative, marketing, and experiences: “What would my character do?” It’s also one of the quickest shortcuts to defining your POV as a brand.

Brainstorm your own by thinking about stock characters. Or use this exercise as an excuse to observe interesting strangers and even explore celebrity muses that best capture your brand. 

Let someone else name your baby 

It can be hard to trust someone else with the naming rights to your brand-new company. But I promise you won’t regret it! Working with a professional namer will remove a lot of subjectivity from a seemingly subjective process. It will help you get to a name that’s strategic, differentiated, and stretchy. You can change your logo and even your company, but it’s painful, expensive, and emotionally challenging to change your name down the line.

I’ve worked with several startups who’ve had to go through the name change, and it’s often after quickly settling on a name on Day 0. Or, picking a name just because the URL is available. Refer to the infamous case of daPulse—now Monday.com. Rest assured, there are many creative ways around getting an exact “.com”, as shown by brands like Oscar (hioscar.com), Alphabet (abc.xyz), and Pocket (getpocket.com). So choose your name for the right, strategic reasons. 

Need to level up your brand and voice? Respond to this email and I’ll connect you to Corey! 


As always, let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to any of the folks in this email (including the PS section 🎉). 

Stay awesome,

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People Talent and Ventures (join the syndicate here)

If you liked this, ❤️ it below. If someone forwarded this to you, sign up here 💌


Full-Time Hires 👀

Powered by Talent Drops 

Looking for some full-time talent? My friend Vedika from Weekend Fund just launched a new newsletter called Talent Drops and it’s 🔥.

Talent Drops anonymously features top talent looking for their next thing. We’ve collected highlights from their upcoming talent drop below!

  • A customer success leader at a high-growth SaaS company, who built out core customer engagement and expansion playbooks, is looking for leadership customer success or ops generalist roles.

  • A rising star investor analyst at a top boutique investment bank is looking for investing or chief of staff roles in VC.

  • A senior manager at a top-tier consulting firm, who worked on growth and GTM with tech startups, is looking for biz-ops, strategy, or chief of staff roles at a Series A+ startup.

  • A co-founder at a startup backed by top-tier VCs is looking for chief of staff, operations, or strategy roles in the climate space.

  • A senior GM at a transportation unicorn, with experience managing significant P&L, is looking for director, VP of ops/biz-ops, or GM roles.

If you want more info on these folks, email me and I’ll send you their Linkedins!

Most Recent Awesome People 🙏

Alex - Biz dev extraordinaire. I met Alex at Quixey, where he was the third biz dev hire. He’s trusted by brands like Xamarin (acquired by Microsoft), AlgoliaGoogle Cloud, and Census (Series A co that’s raised $20M+ from a16z and angels). Most recently, Alex built the partnership strategy for Algolia (Series C co that’s raised $180M+ from Accel, Salesforce Ventures, and more).

Juani - Creative director. Juani has worked on multi-million dollar marketing campaigns for Adobe, Sephora, Adidas, Pinterest, Google, and more. She recently won multiple awards for her advertising work for Tinder! 

Manav - Product marketer. Manav is a funnel marketing guru who founded Subziwalla, the leading online Indian Grocery Delivery co. The average online grocery store has about 30% customer retention and captures 39% of their customers’ total grocery spend. Subziwalla has 70% retention and captures 60% of their customers’ spend!

Want intros to anyone here? Lmk and I’ll connect you!

Part-Time Opportunities 👀

Want to make some extra $$$ and work on interesting projects? Our new Awesome People job board is filled with awesome flexible roles. They’re perfect for full-time freelancers and moonlighters! We’ve collected some of the highlight roles here 👇

Marketing & Growth

  • Freelance Marketing & Social Media Manager for Aether - Aether is making diamonds out of thin air. They’re an Awesome People Ventures port co 😉. Apply here!

  • Part-Time Content & Social Media Manager for Better Ventures - Better Ventures backs mission-driven founders to build a more sustainable and equitable economy. FWIW, I love collaborating with them. Apply here!

  • Engineer Growth Hacker for The Beans The Beans is automating personal finance for the American middle class. I’ve known Melissa, the CEO, for ages and she’s a real gem. Backed by Precursor, Relay, and Swing Ventures. Apply here!

Community

  • Interim Head of Community for Scout - Scout inspires empathy and connection through content, community, and screenshare-based social experiences. Zack, the founder (and friend), used to run product at Loom. Backed by Unusual Ventures, the CEO of Loom, and awesome angels. Apply here!

Engineering 

  • Freelance Full-Stack Engineer for Upfront Ventures - Upfront Ventures invests early in world-changing cos. This is a good opportunity to work with a VC firm! Apply here!

  • Engineering Advisor for Momentum Momentum helps build recurring donation infrastructure for nonprofits. Backed by On Deck, Elizabeth Yin, and Mark Cuban. Apply here!

  • Freelance UI/UX Developer for Core to Coeur Core to Coeur is a marketplace democratizing access to wellness and self-care. Backed by Coast to Crest and Angels. Apply here!

Interested in sharing a role with our network? Fill out our free part-time talent request form here ✨

❤️ ❤️ ❤️