Why You Need the Brandery Agency Partnership: Spicefire & Goodwipes


Over the last few weeks, we’ve been telling you all about our sharpened focus on Digitally-Native Full Stack Products (CPG are part of that) & startups that support these kind of companies (both large and small) for our 2017 cohort. If you haven’t had a chance to read over our thought process behind this shift, check out this blog post from a few weeks ago when we made the announcement.

As our General Manager Tony Alexander said in his blog post earlier this week, “While we always added some value to everyone who came through the program, the truth is we can help some companies tremendously and others in only limited ways. This is a function of the talents of our staff, mentorship pool, and the intrinsic nature of our close network of partners and sponsors. Pretty much everyone in our network is well-positioned to add tons of value to these kind of startups.” To illustrate this point, we’re going to share some of the success stories of Brandery alumni who fit into the categories of companies we’re looking for.

Meet Goodwipes, graduates of Brandery’s 2016 cohort. They are serious about being clean.

Charlie, Maria, and Sam: Team Goodwipes

Goodwipes had already sold 1 million body wipes at independent retailers and on Amazon when they came to Cincinnati last June on a mission to refine their brand and strengthen their company. Each company in our accelerator is paired 1-to-1 with a world-class creative agency, of which there is a high concentration in Cincinnati ( aka BrandHub, USA ), which is one of the most significant reasons Goodwipes applied to The Brandery. We spoke to Sam Nebel, Co-Founder of Goodwipes, for his thoughts on why The Brandery’s program is so uniquely suited to help a CPG company.

Goodwipes worked with Spicefire to create a brand as fresh as their products. “They did nothing but GIVE, GIVE, GIVE”, Sam says. “Time, energy, attention, passion, experience, knowledge and patience. They shared. They worked with us through seemingly simple, yet extraordinarily arduous critical thinking exercises to define Goodwipes as it is today: a modern, better-for-you take on wet wipes that empowers people to do more, feel good, and live clean. We could not be happier with Jason Hargis and the Spicefire team. I’m talking endless hours of their busy time they gave us. If you understand how an agency works, time is money, and they spent extra time working with Goodwipes. It was really humbling and incredible to be given so much time and energy by such a talented group.”

The Goodwipes Branding Case Study

Goodwipes's Branding, Pre-Brandery

With the majority of Goodwipes’ sales occurring online, having a slick brand and packaging wasn’t nearly as important to them; with their goal of appearing on more brick-and-mortar shelves, it was more important to create eye-popping visuals that would appeal to customers looking up and down the personal care aisle. The Spicefire team helped to create a beautiful, modern look for their packaging, which also carried over to their advertising and web presence.

Spicefire’s collaboration and work with Goodwipes is just one reason we’re excited about our 2017 program; our agency partners have always yielded fantastic work no matter the type of startup we’ve paired them with, but now that we’re looking to work with more consumer-facing brands and the technologies that support them, the Brandery Agency Partnership should prove to be even more successful.

Sam wanted us to publish his personal number so that anyone interested in talking about applying to The Brandery could call him – we are going to spare him, but we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the 2017 application process. Contact us at info@brandery.org!

Build Your Best Brand in Cincinnati


Prior to announcing our sharpened focus for 2017, I spoke with several of our closest mentors, investors, and supporters to share the news with them and get their thoughts. Overwhelmingly, their responses sounded something like the following:

“It’s about time.”
“What took you so long?”
“This is a no-brainer.”

While there are various reasons this focus didn’t happen sooner, we’re all excited about the new direction. In the minds of most everyone in The Brandery network, our decision to recruit and invest in digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) and the retail/marketing tech companies that support them was a long overdue one. However, a lot of folks outside our network may be wondering why this is; after all, what’s so special about a midwestern city like Cincinnati compared to similar business ecosystems on the west and east coasts?

Cincinnati is BrandHUB USA

More than anywhere else in the country, businesses here are equipped to build better brands. It started with Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble, Kroger, and Macy’s establishing their headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. For a long time, these powerhouses developed incredibly strong internal organizations devoted to understanding their consumers, and thus built tremendous brand loyalty. Over time, these professionals went on to build independent agencies, consulting firms, and think-tanks dedicated to consumer marketing and branding. Today, Greater Cincinnati is home to more than 200 consumer product companies and upwards of 60,000 industry professionals, as well as several globally-renowned agencies. Nowhere else in the country can you find more consumer branding expertise per capita than right here in Cincinnati.

When The Brandery started in 2010, our goal was to leverage this unique and unfair advantage in developing the next great tech-enabled startups. Since 2010, we’ve paired each of our startups with an elite branding agency located here. These are agencies comprised of highly-talented professionals working with globally-recognized brands one day – then working with the young & hungry startups within our cohort the next.

It doesn’t stop with our agency partnerships; data science and analytics firms like Quotient (formerly Coupons.com), 84.51, The Nielsen Company, and others have all chosen to operate in Cincinnati because of the wealth of talent and customers they can find here. Many of our mentors work within these organizations, providing our startups with an intimate, insider’s knowledge of consumer understanding.

To be clear, branding is only one part of the equation. After all, what good is a solid brand and great customers if you can’t reach them? Being located in Cincinnati means easy access to 25 of the largest metro regions, over half of all US manufacturing establishments, and half of the US population. This is a major reason why Amazon is building their $1.5 billion Prime Air hub here, and why major logistics operations are locating here every month. This growth is perfect for small and up-and-coming retailers who may not be selling in brick-and-mortar yet and appreciate the ability to ship their products out quickly and efficiently.

If you’re a startup building the next great consumer brand or tech to support these brands, Cincinnati is the best place you can be. With more than 60,000 branding, marketing, and design experts within reach, The Brandery will help you accelerate your startup to success.

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!

Te'o needs REPP

Online identity fraud is a PROBLEM.

A problem made exquisitely clear with the Manti Te’O hoax that has been parading around the news for the past few days.

The truth is: Online identity fraud is commonplace. It is 1) a problem for people online dating; 2) a problem for people engaging in peer-to-peer, ecommerce platforms; 3) a problem for anyone traveling via sites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing. With increasing numbers people developing relationships over the internet, there needs to be a way to increase security and transparency.

REPP is a solution.

The platform allows users to create a profile that includes a background check, photo verification, and social media listing, so that people can have confidence their interactions are truthful and they are not putting themselves into a dangerous situation by meeting someone in person.

Sign up for their Beta now.