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Tiananmen Square: History can drive Branding.

When we launched our revolution-themed poster series last November, Audacity set out to help health and science brands find inspiration for creative growth and radical differentiation. By spotlighting significant events in revolutionary history, the campaign aimed to capture the essence of these events in a way that helped health and science brands see themselves in these moments. This original illustration focuses on the events at Tiananmen Square and its infamous Tank Man.

If history has taught us anything, it is this: never underestimate the little guy and his/her will to succeed. Health and life science start-ups are no strangers to this role. Often the little guy, these smaller players regularly face hurdles that larger companies simply do not. In an article from MedCity News, multiple health and science start-ups shared what they considered to be their biggest challenges to success. One such start-up, Constant Therapy (iPad-based communication therapy for brain injury patients), described its decision to forgo advertising out of a concern that they would not be able to handle the traffic influx.

Another healthcare start-up, Global Research Innovation and Technology, highlighted the challenge of being able to focus and scale orders for their innovative all-terrain wheelchairs. According to Chief Technology Officer Mario Bollini, “We get five to 10 emails a week from people who say, 'I absolutely need this chair, please send me one,' and we can't send single chairs yet. And we have to stay focused on the expansion strategy that we have so that we don't overreach and make sure that the quality stays good."

To overcome these challenges and others like them, it requires overwhelming resilience and an innovative approach to the way one does business. We see this same resilience in the Tank Man.

In 1989, more than one million students and protestors occupied Tiananmen Square to call for political reform. Sadly, these calls were not answered with diplomacy, but with violence and bloodshed. In the horrible events that followed, many individuals lost their lives in this quest for justice. Today, their bravery has become a powerful symbol for the importance of rebellion and dissention in the face of oppression. More than that, their acts helped show why it always matters to stand one's ground, no matter the odds. Over time, one inspiring visual has come to define these protests and the ideals it embodied: the Tank Man. This iconic imagery of the lone individual, rooted in opposition against a procession of military tanks, serves as a perfect allegory for health and science start-ups and the challenges they face in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

A start-up's best assets are its freedom and willingness to take bold, innovative risks that disrupt the market. Given the decline in buzzworthy biotechs start-ups coupled with a drop in venture capital investments, it is now more important than ever that health and science start-ups take the symbol of Tiananmen's Tank Man to heart. Caution is smart, but playing it safe can be just as dangerous. Stop waiting for success to find you. Forge ahead, take risks, and—soon enough—it will catch up to you instead.

Join the revolution. Fight doctrines. Achieve brand supremacy.

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