Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
November 12, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Branding and marketing for start-ups topic of yesterday’s “Founders Meetup”

Four marketing executives from Northeast Tennessee firms discussed the most effective branding and marketing strategies for modern start-ups during yesterday’s “Founders Meetup” organized by the Johnson City-based FoundersForge non-profit organization.

The virtual event, titled “Becoming a Brand: Marketing Strategies for Your Start-up,” was moderated by Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, ActionVFX Founder and Chief Executive Officer, who noted at the beginning that “marketing is a huge part of running any business.” Panelists were: (1) Chris Bowen, President of Cumberland Marketing; (2) Greg Nobles, Creative Director at Creative Energy; (3) Kyle Wirick, Managing Director for Sales at The High Road Agency; and (4) Matt Bolas, Partner Success Manager at High Road.

During the lunchtime discussion, we repeatedly heard the importance of consistency in all things related to any enterprise’s brand, whether it is a start-up or a well-established and very successful company.

“Branding is more of a public perception of a company,” Nobles said. “It usually comes from a purpose that drives the way they behave. Finding your purpose and staying true to it keeps you on the rails.”

He added that it is also important to find the right purpose from the beginning. To illustrate that point, Nobles cited two – companies – Blockbuster Video and Netflix. The former was characterized by its brick and mortar stores, while Netflix was all about putting entertainment in the hands of the consumer.

Doesn’t take much to see who survived!

Bowen added the importance for a start-up Founder to “figure-out who you are,” not what others think you are or should be.

As the conversation shifted to mistakes the executives have seen start-ups make, Bolas observed that “start-ups (frequently) want to be something they are not. You need to be who you are,” noting that there could be some shifting in the first few months or years.

There was also a good deal of discussion, as you might imagine, on social media and other tools such as influencers to help in the early days of a new venture. While noting that social media generally topped his list of early investments in marketing, Nobles said that “it is not always right for every brand.”

Brand consistency was emphasized again as Wirick discussed referral marketing, saying, “What’s most important is maintaining brand consistency.” Bowen added an additional point related to the inevitable turnover in people throughout a company’s existence, “Be consistent through the years,” he said.

Bolas reminded individuals to realize that their marketing plans can change quickly due to unexpected events like COVID-19.

Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!