Founder Brand - Deepstash
Founder Brand

Founder Brand

Dave Gerhardt


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Founder Led Marketing

Founder Led Marketing

Getting a startup noticed is hard, as Dave Gerhardt, a marketing specialist who worked at various tech companies, noticed. Nobody wants to hear from yet another company, but the founder could act as the spoke-person, bringing:

Trust : People want to buy from people, not faceless companies

Expertise & Content: We all wanna hear from the experts

Authentic Leadership: The founder should be authentic & interesting individuals. 


382 reads


If you are the founder of a tech startup stop thinking of yourself as the CEO.

Become the CSO, Chief Storytelling Officer



388 reads

The Founder's Story Kernel

The first step is framing the founder’s story. The founder is the leader of this movement, but the story must tie back to the company. Dave recommends answering these stories: 

  1. What is the founder’s (company's) backstory?
  2. What’s the problem your business exists to solve?
  3. Who’s the villain your customers are facing?
  4. What’s the solution that you offer?
  5. What are the benefits of using your product?
  6. What’s life like before and after using your product?


261 reads

3 Steps to begin Founder Led Marketing

Dave proposes a 3 stop process to market a company through its founder:

  1. Craft a simple authentic & compelling story
  2. Publish consistently using social media & podcasting
  3. Creating a feedback loop with other thought leaders

The founders are usually lacking the time, but startups who are movements need a leader. So:

  • The founders need to make time
  • The marketing team can rally around the founder & do the heavy lifting: planning, editing, publishing, measurement. 


216 reads

Focus on a niche & an enemy

A niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service. When you have a niche, it means that you have a clear focus on your intended, targeted customer for today. Not the vision of the product you are selling, the product you are selling right now. 

The niche works best when you create a villain. It gives you a conflict, and allows for conflict resolution. You want your brand’s product or service to be seen as the resolution to that struggle - a hero to save the day.

ex: Drift's enemy were website forms.


179 reads

The Explainer

Elevator Pitches are too abstract. Try an explainer instead. The goal of the explainer is to get the attention of your potential audience. 

The format is like this:

  1. You know how __________________ (insert the problem or old way of doing things that you aim to change)?
  2. Instead of __________________ (problem/old way), we have a __________________ (solution/new way). 
  3. We call it __________________ (name of the product or category). 

Ex: “You know when you go to a website u have to fill out forms to do anything? “Instead of making people jump through hoops, Drift is like having a 24/7 assistant..."


162 reads

Become a Publisher

Become a Publisher

In the early days, nobody will be interested in telling your story for you. You, the founder, have to take the lead. You have to think of your company as a media company and become a publisher:

  1. Engage on Twitter & LinkedIN
  2. Start a podcast.
  3. Be on a constant press tour, by engaging with other thought leaders.

Consistency is key: Stick to the niche. Stick to the schedule. You need to do it for at least 6mo before seeing any tangible results.


169 reads

Tips for being a valuable though-leader as a founder

  • There are two ways to get followers: education & entertainment. Most will try too hard to be entertaining—not a good fit. Instead, focus on education. Any founder can educate.
  • Show consistent clarity of thought.
  • Compress ideas down. Present in a quick and readable way; remember that everyone is scanning, and you want them to read your material.
  • Be a contrarian. Be different. The feed is noisy. Strong opinions stand out.
  • Participate in conversations. Comment, ask questions etc


161 reads

The Power of Podcasts

The Power of Podcasts

  • Nothing is more authentic than the voice (and face) of a person. 
  • The podcast can be the foundation for short form content. One podcast can generate audio snippets, posts or slideshows.
  • Can help connect with influencers that will amplify your message
  • It can serve as a way to engage the early adopters of your product
  • The production of a podcast can be automated so that it scales in terms of production and distribution.


165 reads



Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.


Dave was the CMO for Drift, where he struggled getting attention. He turned to the founder to break through the noise ...

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