Sponsored Content by Koto

Why brand is your most valuable asset class

TechCrunch was proud to host Koto at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco. Here’s an overview of their breakout session.

In an age where technology allows for rapid duplication of product features, brand stands as a company’s prime defendable asset. While lasting differentiation seems unthinkable when rivals rapidly mimic functionality, a distinctive brand remains impossible to replicate. Sharing examples from the last decade’s most disruptive and category-defining brands, this Disrupt 2023 Breakout session from brand and digital agency Koto covered why brand is the most under-leveraged asset class in tech, and how to utilize it for building a competitive differentiation and a lasting business advantage.


Deanna German, Creative Director, Koto

Deanna has developed brands for some of the world’s most well-known companies, including Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Pleo, and Glassdoor. Hailing from Australia, she has been in the industry for 14 years and with Koto for the past five years, including leading the team in London. Having worked at some of the industry’s top branding studios, including Pentagram and DesignStudio, Deanna is a strong and positive force with a passion for big ideas. Her work has been featured in leading publications such as FastCompany, Brand New, It’s Nice That, and Creative Review.

Simon Kearney, Senior Strategy Director, Koto

Simon leads the brand strategy team at Koto’s New York studio, bringing an insight-led approach to every partnership and project. With a background in research and innovation, Simon ensures that we build brands from a place of deep understanding and empathy for both the customer and client. Over his 15 years of experience, he has defined strategy for businesses, including Coinbase, Google, DailyPay, Meta, and Samsung.

Chris Letourneau, Client Services Director, Koto

With an innate sense of humor and unparalleled unflappability, Chrissy handles client/creative concerns, project management, and everyday resource needs. His experience spans agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Frank Collective, and 72andSunny, leading relationships with clients such as Google, Activision, and Toyota. First to crack a joke and brighten the room, he channels this energy into every relationship, creating an atmosphere of friendly professionalism and a collected sense of calmness

Alex Monger, Managing Director, Koto NY, Koto

Alex is the managing director of the brand strategy and design studio, Koto New York. Alex has over 15 years of experience in brand and advertising in both London and New York. He has led rebranding efforts for some of the biggest and most complex companies in the world, including American Express, Delta Air Lines, Grubhub/Seamless and Wells Fargo. Alex partners closely with all of Koto New York’s clients to ensure that they get the very best of the studio at every turn.