How can startups turn skeptics into advocates for science?

Learn from real-life examples the steps a startup can take to democratize science in branding and marketing.

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

Reframe biotechnology as nature-technology

We tend to forget that science often deals with organic matter.

Although “bio” means “life”, most associate it with a cold lab where faceless scientists manipulate complex machinery. The simplest way to change it is to switch the word “bio” to the one used daily — “nature”.

“Nature” moves the focus from machinery to organic processes encountered every day.

Take a look at a startup called huue. They are nature’s advocates focusing on making dyes less toxic with the help of biotech. In this case, biotechnology is a tool to fulfill their mission.

Focusing on nature also plays off a biophilia effect. People strive to connect with nature. It is a magnet for humans. So any tool that brings them closer to it is a good guy in the story.

A home page of focuses the audience’s attention on nature instead of technology.

Educate your audience

Making language more inclusive helps customers understand the science behind the product or service.

One subtle and non-preachy way to educate your audience is to provide a glossary.

Adyn matches birth control with each person individually with the help of a simple in-home test. They are on a mission to put people in charge of their birth control plan. To act on it, they have an entire page dedicated to the glossary. Whenever a niche-specific term appears on the website, the viewer can click on it and learn the necessary information.

The small detail like the glossary helps adyn build trust with the audience. All information is out and the brand encourages the audience to take complete control over it.

Adyn provides a glossary on their website to help their customers be in charge of information.

Provide tips on social media or blog posts

People need to understand how to integrate your product into their day without making major sacrifices to their lifestyle.

Social media, and Instagram specifically, is a great place to teach people. And startups in science and technology should get on it. The starting point is to share tips on how to use their product.

Care/of does just that. The startup creates individual health plans. Their Instagram page shares actionable tips on well-being and videos on how and when to use their vitamins.

In the end, Instagram helps implement their products and creates a platform to engage with people.

Attach new associations

Thanks to the entertainment industry, many people associate science with catastrophe and deceit. Although some movies are worth indulging, it is better to build new mental connections.

Sage therapeutics takes their joyful image seriously. The startup develops novel drugs for brain disorders and utilizes its visual identity to confront the perception of neuroscience.

Each web page is filled with fun, colorful illustrations to convey friendship and ease. Those childlike pictures and bright colors connect neuroscience to joy and hope.

Sage Therapeutics uses its brand identity to create a new, more-friendly image for neuroscience.

Label and application.

Clear labeling supports brand transparency. A popular application removes the confusion and fits new science and technology into their lives. People need to have clear answers to the following questions:

  • What do you produce?
  • Where can they use it?
  • Why is it beneficial to them?

Neurable is a startup that “translates brain activity into simple, actionable insights you can use in your everyday life.” But for people, it is a company that makes headphones to help you focus.

Audience differentiation

Your startup in science and technology will have various audience groups. Each has its vocabulary.

K18HAIR splits the audience on their website to cater their content to professionals and “at-home”. This approach builds credibility with experts while avoiding overwhelming non-experts.

K18HAIR caters its content to each audience group.

Build awareness around the problem

Finding the solution to the problem starts with noting and understanding the problem.

Quaise takes a stand to create a new way of sourcing energy. As they develop their solution, they use their home page to guide people through their thinking and technology.

Focus on the short-term benefits

Having a mission is essential to any startup. But to engage with people, startups need to prove that their mission is feasible.

Short-term benefits and feasible calls to action serve as such proof. For example, a startup Kencko creates nutritious smoothies. “Eat more plants, the easy way” is a headline anyone can act on.

Make it the least risky option.

When there are no risks involved, your audience will not lose anything from trying it.

Pai skincare develops products for sensitive skin. The brand offers online consultations and a free 90-day return policy to make customers comfortable purchasing the new product.

Pai skincare offers a 90-day return policy to make people more comfortable when shopping.

Key takeaways:

Skepticism around science occurs when people do not have easy access to information. A brand strategy that democratizes science in startup branding and marketing helps its target audience warm their hearts towards innovation.

The simple steps any startup in science and technology can take to democratize science in their branding are:

  1. Connect biotechnology with nature
  2. Speak the language of your audience
  3. Share advice on social media
  4. Develop new mental associations
  5. Provide clear product labels and applications
  6. Show people the problem
  7. Discuss the short-term benefits
  8. Make the product the least risky option



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Brand Strategist & Designer on a mission: 🎯 Making science people-friendly💡 Insights on branding, startups, and science 🌐