This morning I presented on Networking - How to work a crowd to women @ sun Europe, I really enjoyed it and it gave me a chance to sit back and reflect on what we have done with Sun as a brand externally and the whole Startup Essentials programme, how it has grown and actually driven new customers and revenue back to Sun.
Later in the day I was having a conversation about social media and how Im starting a Masters course in this area and talking about communities, how they are built, but from a corporate brand view and how they can change the perception of their industry or how they approach a new audience.
What struck me is how two corporate lawyers came into the startup scene blind, suited and fluted and have won the hearts of minds of so many companies, startups and gained new friends, if you don't know Danvers and Barry you haven't lived, throw away your image of lawyers as these guys break that totally but still are devout proffessionals to the legal trade, helping so many startups with general information they do not oversell and then to top it off they deliver a monthly session called Bootlaw that is free and has great pizza and beer to boot.
I tend not to shout about people if I truly don't believe in what they are doing, but these two guys help truly support the community, they listen intently and act upon their actions and provide information and support to a wide audience, but what they have done so sincerely is give their organisation a sustainable brand outside of legal images one of true gentlemen wishing to help and if that means at some stage it means some business for Winston and Strawn, then even better.
So how have they done this ?
\* Initially done their research on the events in London to attend, where the crowd is at.
\* Attended these events and spoke to people, listened to them and understood what the crowd requires and is looking for
\* Moved onto sponsoring some of the more high profile events, they are the lawyers for huddle and thus sponosored there meetup and leveraged that fact to get the startup to promote them out and do introductions.
\* Setup their own event, once a month bringing an audience to them and educating them for a few hours on facts that they want to hear about from a legal perspective.
\* No hard sell, honest approach and open.
\* Introduced people to each other, see if mutual help can be given (They have done this numerous times for me, which has resulted in a great customer reference Music Metric )
\* Had fun doing this, and made it fun to be around them.
\* Supported the community whole heartedly and sincerely as much as possible.
This is a great test scenario of how to successfully build yourself business in a community that has perceptions of your brand or sector, showing that with time and effort a great new revenue stream can be built in an area of business that you would think was to hard to break into.
So a salute to Danvers and Barry, an amazing reference on how to build a community within a community and change the perception of your brand by following the basic principlesof just listening and engaging, being a part of the community not sat on the outside blowing hot air but most of all being yourself but acting as a responsible advocate for your organisation.
In case you missed it,they had a guest post on Techcrunch a few weeks ago, giving their views on the concept of the standardised term sheet which gives you an idea of the reach they now have by getting a significant amount of exposure on Techcrunch Europe.