I’m Jessica, it’s lovely to meet you, and welcome to Sohuis! If you’re reading this post it’s probably because (hopefully) you’re intrigued with Sohuis and want to learn a little bit more about what I do. You’re also probably wondering, “what’s with the elephant?”, which I explain here. However in this post, I hope to take you on a brief tour of my background and inspiration behind the creation of Sohuis.
Local innovation for startups and female founders
First and foremost, I created Sohuis for many reasons. Particularly, Sohuis is a result from the combination of work I’ve been able to participate in at the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) and Move2Create, a boutique branding and design agency that I co-founded and managed as Agency Director. During my time at Move2Create, we specialized in brand storytelling and customer engagement through the application of digital technologies. Simply put, we leveraged various types of technologies, from web design to digital media campaigns, to build brands and communication strategies that were bold, authentic and meaningful to our clients’ customers.
While with Move2Create, I was fortunate to work on several projects that were very meaningful to me. One of the projects was weVENTURE, a non-profit organization that was developed, and continues to be supported, by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Florida Institute of Technology. Move2Create came on board as a founding partner and drove the development of their entire library of brand assets. We helped to create weVENTURE’s brand identity, website, provided strategic leadership and consult on a variety of workshops, research projects, community activation, and many others. To this day, weVENTURE has since changed leadership, but they continue to amplify women entrepreneurs and female founders by offering training to startups, emerging businesses and second-stage growth-oriented companies. They help female founders deliver increased revenue generation, targeted market penetration, expand their business relationships and most importantly, provide access to capital. I’ll write another piece providing more specifics on the project at a later date, so stay tuned!
Global expansion for business incubation and entrepreneurship
One of our other Move2Create clients, the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), whose CEO was on the board of weVENTURE (it’s a small world, really), enjoyed our work and invited me to come on board during a critical moment in the organization’s 30-year evolution – a brand overhaul.
InBIA is a global non-profit organization that has provided entrepreneurial support organizations, like business incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces, education and best practices in business incubation for over 30 years. They were “doing” entrepreneurship before it was the cool thing to do! InBIA serves a diverse group of entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors and policymakers in every industry and demographic around the globe with over 2,200 members in 62 countries. So, when I was given the unique opportunity to lead this impactful organization through their next evolution as a brand, I leaped at the opportunity!
Since working with the team for about a year, we’ve not only channeled the brand’s power and essence, but we’ve opened up InBIA to an entire new era of entrepreneurship and completely restructured how the organization is embraced across all platforms. We’ve figured out how to produce quality content in a voice that is authentic and engaging, which has led to maintaining our current customer base while attracting new partners and additional audiences. It’s been a fun ride, and I’m excited to continue our work in expanding the organization’s global presence.
So how does all of this relate to Sohuis?
Sohuis is a result of the collective experience I have gained while working with these two organizations (among others). In both of these examples, there are underlying themes that are constant with these types of projects. These themes are – innovation, sustainability, and social impact, the three core principals of Sohuis. I created Sohuis to be a digital communications company that designs comprehensive communication strategies for global initiatives dedicated to sustainability, innovation and social impact because I want to utilize my unique knowledge to empower advantageous and socially-responsible brands and projects; which has been heavily inspired by the work with weVENTURE and InBIA. Another reason I created Sohuis is because I want to address a crippling commonality I have constantly come across in many projects, something I like to call the “muddy middle”.
I have worked on countless projects that have the best of intentions, meaning, that they want to address a crucial social issue or bring a new product or service to market that is more sustainable than its counterpart. There is a need for them in the marketplace and they all have something in common. Each project has a clear starting point and an end goal in mind, their “final deliverable.” But then, an interesting phenomenon happens and everything in between seems to get glazed over and pushed to the side. When in fact, all of the muddiness in between are the details that will make or break your project. It sounds self-explanatory, but it’s actually is quite complicated, which is why these steps are almost always left out. There is an insurmountable amount of strategic planning, value proposition design, customer validation and other initiatives that are critical for you to accomplish before you jump off the deep end with your project. I have seen large and very capable teams crumble and waste precious resources because they couldn’t figure their way through the muddy middle. Also, they jumped right to the end result instead of working backwards and strategically planning the development of their project.
To get you through these muddy waters and keep you and your teams from being sucked into the abyss, I use a combination of Agile Marketing and Lean Startup Methodology (among others) to inspire your teams to work collaboratively, creatively and agile while building a customer experience that is engaging. Lastly, my goal is to help your team create a fully-functioning and highly-efficient marketing system that can be utilized for the success of other projects. I have been the writer, the graphic designer, the web designer, the marketer, the founder, the strategizer, and everything else in between. This is why I leverage a unique mix of marketing and design methodologies to create systematic brand strategies that resonate with your audience and amplify the success of your project. This is why I created Sohuis; to address these critical needs in the communications and cut through all of the noise in the marketplace, and to help build your brand and make your project successful. Lastly, and most importantly, I created Sohuis so that I could spark ingenuity in your teams and help you to create innovative communications solutions for your projects. The world is full of brilliant and innovative ideas that require creative, collaborative and strategic leadership to take them over the finish line, and my hope is that Sohuis will provide you with the tools to achieve just that.
What to do next?
Well, if any of the above sounds familiar to you, or if you’re currently finding yourself stuck in the muddy middle, we should have a chat!
Author, Jessica Korthuis
Jessica is the founder of Sohuis and creator of the Sohuis StartupBluprint, a online accelerator designed to help female founders and entrepreneurs build authentic and meaningful brand strategies. She has a passion for writing and educating and an obsession with teaching others how to bring their brands to life.
Jessica has been featured by the Lean Startup Company, is a 40 Under 40 Award recipient and has been listed as a “Woman to Watch in 2019 and Beyond” by the national publication, Biz Journals. She is a contributing writer to Girl CEO Inc., proud mompreneur, and to keep up with her super inspiring and fun content, follow her on Instagram @jessica_korthuis.