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Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Even leading up to COVID-19, Entrepreneurship is all the rage. People like Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington and Gary Vaynerchuck are blowing up social media, rap stars are sharing bottle service with Silicon Valley start-up teams and reality television crews are following entrepreneurs around like paparazzi as they ride in Ubers and attend pitch meetings. And these days, when our post-Coronavirus economy has created fault lines and new normal across a number of verticals, many business leaders are getting big praise for their entrepreneurial efforts.

But where is the fanfare surrounding the nation’s intrapreneurs, who explore uncharted business territory from within an established company? These in-house entrepreneurs are vital to helping organizations, and whole economies, innovate and adapt to new market realities and opportunities. And the world needs them now more than ever. If you’re at the helm of in-house brand building and brand management, what can you do to help accelerate and protect brand equity?

Align with primary corporate.

It’s important to gain shared visions, and respected divisions, surrounding how the inside business and the primary brand relate to one another (and buyers). Skip this step at your own risk.

Keep up the pace.

With the exception of select large law, finance and consulting firms—corporate organizations work at their own pace. And that pace may not appear anything like an aggressive start-up. Keep the pressure on.

Be bold and distinctive.

This sounds obvious, but you’re part of new and distinctive effort it should have a new and distinctive perception for its specific buyers. You can leverage the parent brand, but you should also step outside it.

Make everyone a pitch person.

Every member of an intraprenuerial team needs to have a tight, targeted elevator pitch they can use when speaking both to parent company employees and external audiences. For internal audiences, mention why the initiative is good for the company overall.

Balance structure with flow.

Structure helps people focus, but when you’re building a new brand sometimes you need to tweak the message, strategy, logistics or structure of an effort. Be open to change, especially when responding to market feedback.

Need advice taking your in-house brand farther, faster? Contact Unleaded for some fresh ideas.



Names You Know

Brands like PlayStation (Sony), Scion (Toyota), Post-It (3M), Java (Sun Microsystems), Saturn (GM) and iEverything (Apple) were all developed as a result in intrapreneurial efforts.

20% for all

Gmail started as an intrapreneurial project at Google. In fact, Google mandates that 20 percent of each employee’s time is spent on personal intrapreneurial projects. Richard Branson does a similar thing at Virgin.

15% less grit?

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “entrepreneurs rated themselves as having fifteen percent more grit than intrapreneurs.” If by grit they mean foosball tables, that’s just science.



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