The three characteristics that tie all unicorns together

The number of unicorn businesses in the UK – companies with a $1 billion valuation – is growing rapidly. According to Will Shu, Founder of Deliveroo, last week, there are now 15 unicorns that call the UK home.

What is the secret to their success? This new breed of digital natives have three characteristics in common that make them such a hit with their respective audiences, according to Jim Cridlin writing for the Campaign website. Any tech startup with aspirations to grow quickly will want to read on.

Relevancy at scale

Relevancy at scale is to constantly build on personalisation, making the experience increasingly relevant to both the individual and the context (time, place, past experience, etc.) in which they are engaging with the brand.

People have come to expect that their brand experiences are timely – in other words, when they turn up, they encounter the user experience that is right for them in that moment. A 2018 study by Accenture found that that roughly half of consumers will abandon an experience if it’s not relevant to that exact moment when they engage – and B2B buyers are no different.

Uber is a good example of relevancy at scale in action. If it recognises that you’re heading home late from work, it can offer food delivery services – because who wants to cook after a long, hard day?


Reverse obsolece

Unicorns don’t believe in the notion that everything has a shelf life – so, they’ve built their products and services to become better – not worse – the more users use them.

Take Google (no longer a unicorn, of course), for instance. The more searches you make, the more the platform learns about you, so that every subsequent search is more relevant than the last. On top of that, it collects data about where you’re making the search, what time of day it is etc. to further customise the experience.

Friendly and approachable

Finally, it might sound slightly trivial and in fact, naïve, that unicorns are all friendly and approachable but, crucially, they are the values that shape every part of the business. Take your average unicorn mission statement – the wording will be something along the lines of making the world more open, connected and ‘better’.


Undoubtedly, they have millennials in mind when writing such statements, who only want to buy from brands that reflect their values; values that include openness, diversity and collaboration.

Unicorns can back up their marketing, too – user experiences are kept simple and intuitive; customer service is instant and, more often than not, 24/7.

Over to you

You don’t have to be a unicorn to act like one. Hyper-personalisation and constant improvement are qualities that are accessible to all startups.

Incisive Edge specialises in creating bespoke marketing strategies for the most ambitious tech startups.

Find out how we can help your tech startup create a marketing strategy that puts your prospects at the heart of everything you do. Either contact us, or book a free strategic consultation today.