In an attempt to redefine the typical marketing and consulting model, three Stanford freshmen plan to launch the Stanford Identity Lab, a new student club focused on consulting for Bay Area clients, in April.
While acknowledging the existence of an abundance of student-led consulting groups on campus, Identity Lab co-founders Han Lee ’16 and Ryan Breslow ’16 framed their group’s holistic approach to consulting and marketing as a differentiating factor.
“Rather than tell [clients] to target this audience, we would set up an actual marketing strategy for them that they would be able to follow very simply,” Breslow said.
The group will focus on collaboration with advertisers and creative directors in the Bay Area and has already partnered with several firms in South Korea to outsource design work.
“As far as technicalities go, like with 3-D graphics, it’s hard to find someone who has that level of technicality [that we need] on campus,” Lee said. “We contacted several people in the Bay Area, but we weren’t really satisfied with their portfolios, so we decided to look internationally.”
Though Lee would not disclose what the Identity Lab would pay partners, Breslow said that the group will have low operating costs and will charge clients a small fee in order to remain competitive. While the group currently has no clients and has reached out to potential clients with offers of pro bono services, Lee said that several local businesses have already expressed interest in collaboration.
The idea behind the Identity Lab was conceived during last year’s Admit Weekend, where Lee and Breslow met.
“Marketing is something I’ve always been doing—I’ve worked at IBM and Microsoft and other venture capital companies,” Lee said. “Ryan has done several websites, including mobile websites, social marketing and search engine optimization.”
The two founders recently recruited Chua Kai Jian ’16, who shared their interests and experience in marketing, business and consulting, to complement the group’s leadership team.
“I thought it would be cool to get some hands-on experience in consulting,” Jian said. “We’re not thinking as much about starting a business [as about] being more of a student group where people can learn about aspects of consulting, like case projects.”
While many budding entrepreneurs launch startups, the founders of the Identity Lab decided to remain a club in order to take advantage of Stanford’s reputation in attracting clients.
“The Stanford name is prestigious,” Lee noted.
The Identity Lab plans to launch an official website in March and hold a number of information sessions in April, with hopes of eventually expanding to become a full-fledged business.
“We’d definitely consider [expanding in the future],” Breslow said. “Initially we’d like to organize as a student group, and then use our organization to hopefully branch off in the future “