Simplicity. Quality. Inspiration.

Two weeks ago, James Reinhart, founder and CEO of ThredUp, led his company through a branding exercise. The team spent an afternoon comparing and contrasting the brand attributes of Starbucks and Peets, Whole Foods and Safeway and a few other competitive pairs. The team quickly distilled each company’s brand into one word.

Long ago, each of these brand selected the value that would define their brand. Every decision since that point had been made with that value in mind. Netflix: freedom. Apple: simplicity. Starbucks: quality. Nike: inspiration. Google: focus on the user. Zappos: service

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Defining a business’s one core value, it’s brand identity, is essential to its success. This core value originates within the company, is reinforced through culture and ultimately permeates the organization through product decisions, marketing copy and customer interaction.

Toward the end of the afternoon, James asked the company to perform the brand attribute analysis for ThredUp. The team built a list of ideals and whittled it down to just one or two, arriving at the defining value for the company - the one word all customers, even 25 years hence, will think when someone says “ThredUp.”

What will yours be?

Published 2012-08-27 in


I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

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