SocialThreader Wins Rio Info 2013 Top Prize


Brandery alum SocialThreader has been chosen as the winner of the Rio Info 2013 IT Innovation Competition for the USA. The competition is part of the 11th year of the Rio Info Conference in Rio de Janeiro, the largest national IT event in Brazil and one of the largest in Latin America. A panel of judges rated each of the hundreds of applicants on the following criteria: degree of innovation of the product or service, competitive advantages of the company, consistency and feasibility of the proposal, market potential of the product, financial returns possible, quality of the marketing strategy, and quality of the primary staff.

SocialThreader CEO Vinay Murthy will be attending the event to accept the prestigious award and showcase the company. SocialThreader will be recognized at the conference along with the winners of the European and Latin American countries’ competitions.

SocialThreader is a leader in social media based content marketing and advertising. SocialThreader’s seamless integration of a customer’s brand spectrum increases brand awareness, fosters social engagement, and increases conversions. They are a 2012 graduate of The Brandery. For more info on SocialThreader, check out their website and follow them on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Zackariah Cole Photography.

Company Update: Roadtrippers


We’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Brandery graduate Roadtrippers lately. Their rockin’ social media presence, new partnerships with visitors bureaus around the country, and recently closing a round has us very excited, and we had to get the scoop from co-founder Tatiana.

Tell us about yourself! Who are you and what company are you with?

My name is Tatiana Parent, and I am co-founder of Roadtrippers.com.

What is Roadtrippers?

Roadtrippers is a road trip planner that’s on the web and mobile. Our goal is to help you plan the best road trip ever, whether it’s just a weekend away or an epic cross-country trek.

Anything new and exciting happening at Roadtrippers?

We’ve seen crazy growth recently. Currently, we’re the fastest growing travel planning app in the US. Last month we had about 750k unique visitors, with every visitor staying over 7 minutes on average, which is almost unheard of in online travel.
We recently secured $2.5 million investment from Drive Capital. We also began a partnership with Travel Oregon, and our new mobile app is launching this week. So, lots of good stuff going on.

What’s it like to work there?

Our office rocks. :) We’re located in an old, abandoned brewery, right here in OTR. We’re in the process of renovating more space as our team is quickly expanding. We’ve got an old-school keggerator, full of local beer from breweries in town like Rhinegeist, Madtree, and 50West.

Your social media presence is rad. What types of content do you focus on for your online strategy?

We use tons of photos of the craziest and most beautiful places, like insane treehouse hotels, gorgeous Florida springs, and offbeat attractions, like spooky abandoned asylums.

Why is social media so important to leverage as a startup?

Social media is a great way to build and engage a community. It also helps make you accessible, which is pretty important when you’re first starting out as a company.

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs that want to create more content online and increase their company’s following?

Don’t be part of the noise. Say something different. Don’t create throw-away content. Be genuine and be authentic. Don’t underestimate consumers. People can see through bullshit. Be real.

To learn even more about Tatiana, her co-founder, James, and their journey building a successful startup, sign up for Startup Grind at The Brandery on September 19. We had a packed house for our last Startup Grind with FlightCar, so make sure to grab your tickets early!

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Growth Hack Day Recap


Brandery Growth Hack Day

On Friday, we had our second of two intensive days in The Brandery accelerator program. What was the thought process on introducing these 4-hour power sessions to the program this year?

“In the off season, we were brainstorming on how the startups could get the quickest start possible on building their business,” said Brandery General Manager Mike Bott. “The first element was branding, and the second was user acquisition.”
You may have read about the astounding success of Brand in a Day back in June, and Growth Hack Day was equally as awesome.

What exactly do you mean by “growth hacking?”

Let’s break it down.

A startup is a startup because of its potential for exponential growth in a limited amount of time. To get to a point where the business is primed for that growth, many factors have to be optimized. Yes, it starts with the brand. But now, we’re talking business model, user acquisition, and go-to-market strategy. To read more about growth hacking and the difference between growth hacking and marketing, read this article from The Next Web.

We asked some current and former P&G expert marketers to come in to help the companies find that perfect equation that is going to make the startups grow. Mike, a former P&G-er himself, thinks it was a necessary addition to the teams, if only for a day.

“It became very apparent that many of the startups had no idea how to market their product," said Mike. "The idea here is to make sure that each of them have a tangible marketing and user acquisition plan, and fortunately, Cincinnati has a lot of expertise in that area.”
The companies worked on go-to-market strategy, user acquisition, customer retention, referrals, virality, sharing, and path to purchase. The agencies and marketers were free to tailor their focus based on each startups’ need. We saw almost instant progress. The proof will be in their KPI’s, but there was lot to like about the intensive “growth hack” day.

What was the most useful thing you got out of Growth Hack Day?

“One of the best parts of the day was each company sharing with each other what they worked on. You never know who you’re going to get an idea from. Everyone took a different approach and hearing each company’s recap gave the startups ideas to augment their current plans and look at things differently.” – Brandery GM Mike Bott

“The whole conversation was very beneficial. We started really broad and then narrowed down to get a pretty solid plan on how to attack social media on a local and national level, especially with a team of our size.” – Zack, co-founder of TapFit

“We got a great go-to-market strategy and the framerwork of how we should position our product to be successful once we launch.” – Nick, CEO of TapFit

“We worked with our agency, Hyperquake, to formulate a user acquisiton strategy that will engage the design community.” – Kevin, CTO of Frameri
Pssst: Stay tuned in the next few days to see what Frameri (operating in “stealth mode” until now) has up their sleeves.

“We learned what voice we should be using to speak to our users and what that interaction should look like.” – Khisaun, CEO of Dwllr

We also got to see some sweet updates on branding that the agencies have worked on with the startups behind the scenes. Check out Dwllr’s evolution, spearheaded by their agency partner, Rocket Science. They wanted Dwllr to be more simple, fluid, and timeless, to mirror the way their service works.

Dwllr’s old logo is on top, compared to their new logo below.

Tons of our companies are doing awesome things. Check out our In the News page and stay tuned for a few more launches in the upcoming weeks!

Why Should Startups Create Epic Content?


Startups have to claw their way to the top. We know that. Even with a good idea, successful startups have to cut through millions of distractions to become noticed.

And even when you do get noticed, how are you going to reel them in? Why should your customer choose you over your competitor? Why should they trust you? Why should they tell their friends about you?

Is it because your product is genuinely superior to every other one in the market? Maybe. Probably not. It’s about the brand. It’s about how people perceive your brand. And it’s about content. If you’re a startup without a content marketing strategy, build one.

So what’s content marketing? The simple definition we like by the Content Marketing Institute is, “It’s owning media, not renting it.”

In this post, we focus primarily on blogs, but keep in mind that content can be created just about anywhere these days, and new platforms are being created all the time. This phenomenal infographic from Marketo outlines 20 different mediums for content you can consider.

Here’s some suggestions on what to focus on when crafting your content marketing strategy.

Be a thought leader.

Simply put, writing blog posts that are centered on your industry without directly selling your product will help your business. We know content helps you in search (re: clawing your way to the top), and insightful articles that have never-before-seen ideas in them are, by nature, going to get more shares. Say you are creating an app that will locate and help you review and locate processed cheese puffs all over the world. Maybe you could conduct an interview with a cheese puff tester, ask a manufacturer what brand of high fructose corn syrup she uses, or talk to the distribution manager about where they sell the most cheese puffs per capita. Then create an infographic about it. You could research snack food consumption and how it makes people happier. Write it up and package it for the Internet to read. Stop selling and tell the story. Think about it—if you find an article that you enjoy, challenges you, or that you disagree with, you are more likely to share it with a friend, tweet it, or bookmark it. More shares and more search results means more traffic to your site.

Be human.

It’s great to constantly write about cheese puffs and only cheese puffs if your business is exclusively an e-newsletter about cheese puffs. But every once in a while, your readers and your consumers want to know about you. They want to know that someone’s heart is invested in the brand they support. Creating some original content that defines your personality, tells the audience how you met your co-founder, or what your personal favorite brands of cheese puffs are can make your company as a whole more relatable. Be as approachable as possible, and leave the technical jargon in the test kitchen. No one wants to read a blog written by a robot, but these posts won’t directly help scale your business either. Your customers are rarely startups. Find the balance that keeps the focus on your industry without distancing yourself from the customer.

Be receptive.

Content marketing is a two-way street. Don’t push, push, push to your consumer and never listen when they finally begin to interact. Have public conversations in the comment section of your YouTube video. Follow people back on Twitter every now and then. Ask for feedback on your latest podcast. And then adjust your content. If no one wanted to read your last post about what kind of plastic is used in cheese puff packaging, don’t write about what kind of lids they use next week. It’s okay to experiment, but take a hint when you have decreased interactions on a specific topic. As Brandery alum James Dickerson told our current startups, “Focus on one topic and see if anyone gives a crap. Write epic shit.”

Dedicating a little more time each week to create content can pay off big time. We’re obviously just scratching the surface here. You can dig deep into SEO and content working in tandem, examining your demographics to narrow down the best topics to focus on, or optimizing the time you’ll release your content. The list is long. What have you discovered are the best practices for your startup or small business?

Photo courtesy of Zackariah Cole Photography.