Beyond the Pitch

ZoCo Design Helps Startups Brand

X_Yb6EBe_400x400The really great thing about Central Ohio’s entrepreneurial community is that the entrepreneurs here are so willing to help each other out.

That’s doubly true for Lacey Picazo, founder of ZoCo Design.

Although her firm is less than two years old, ZoCo Design is an active Expert Network (EN) provider. Picazo and her team have extensive experience in design; ZoCo Design is growing steadily.

“There are a lot of reasons ZoCo Design is part of the Expert Network,” Picazo said. “We are a smaller and relatively newer company so we aren’t too far removed from where these startups are in their businesses. This allows us to relate well with them.”

These things make ZoCo Design especially understanding and responsive to the challenges that TechColumbus engaged clients can face.

“We see companies with so many great ideas for products and services that are awesome and amazing—products that have the potential to do well with the right brand and messaging, but the entrepreneurs don’t have the resources or experience,” Picazo said. “That’s where we can help.”

When Picazo starts with a new client, she likes to become involved in their business.

“We like to start with a brand strategy session,” she said. “The company doesn’t always know who they want to be, who their audiences are, or how they want to present what they do.”

A Tiny Touch of Tough Love

“A lot of times people think they know all the answers to those questions when they don’t. We help them figure it out together,” Picazo said. “We ask why customers should care more about your business than your competition. What are your differentiators? Why should I use your service?”

The answers to these questions provide definition to craft branding and marketing strategies that an entrepreneur can’t comprehend until he or she understands the true market and where the product fits in.

“Once we accomplish that, we can help a company shape their messaging and create their brand story and brand promise. We can provide direction for what the future holds.”

With Expert Network, ZoCo Design’s process is compressed. “We sit down and have a miniature brand strategy workshop to understand the company, their goals, and what they hope to achieve,” Picazo said. “Some entrepreneurs have their messaging and a beginning on copy. Some have images. Some just have a vision. Wherever they are, we help them come up with a plan and executable brand strategies.”

Getting the Best out of the Resources You Have

“Our goal is to support the companies we work with to enable the realization of their goals through design. We’ve worked with various distinct companies, and there are differences in what the client can do that help facilitate the best result from our design process,” Picazo said.

Being prepared is the most important thing. Responsiveness is second. Other significant “to-do” items on Picazo’s list:

  • Before the initial meeting, please provide any existing marketing materials, brand standards, strategy documentation, and online links to your website and social media.
  • If the design agency you are working with asks you to provide other information, please be crisp, clear, and prompt (ZoCo provides a pre-questionnaire to make the first meeting as efficient and productive as possible).
  •  If a service provider is making a difference, please tell them so—and if there is something that needs to be done differently, be open and share that too.

“Everyone needs help telling their story,” Picazo said. “Our team’s strength is building your brand through creative problem solving—our method just so happens to be design. We understand our clients’ growing pains, and because of this it is really rewarding to make a difference for their companies.”

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