Quarantines and shutdowns associated with the current pandemic brought plenty of local businesses to a standstill this spring. But what about the startups that have been unable to get started at all? Without deep financial resources and a flexible marketing plan, conventional wisdom might suggest sitting on the sidelines until health and economic concerns dissipate — if they ever do.
However, an Oregon Innovative Marketing (OIM) panel of experts — brand strategist Justin Bronson of Citizen + Co., content strategist Taylor Hooks of The Bold Kind and PR specialist Chelsea Callicott of Callicott Social PR — has other ideas for at least one startup. At this month’s InnoMix online workshop, scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at 10:30am, the group will explore how a startup with limited funds can reignite its marketing plan and roll into a highly successful future.
AdvenChair is a locally made, all-terrain wheelchair designed to help people with disabilities connect with friends, family and, of course, nature. Geoff Babb, a survivor of two brain stem strokes, conceived of the chair built mainly with mountain bike parts to handle rugged mountain trails, sandy beaches and even several inches of snow.
“After winning the Bend Outdoor Worx Breakout Award and receiving some significant national exposure last fall, we were on track to fulfill our first order of AdvenChairs to a dozen or more customers this month,” said Babb. “But once the pandemic hit, buyers dropped out one by one due to health, travel and economic concerns. So we literally had to put the brakes on production indefinitely.”
Last month, the OIM panel of experts demonstrated how established businesses can pivot toward new opportunities during a pandemic. Having reviewed the AdvenChair’s business plan, long-term goals and website, the panel this time will offer workable solutions for reigniting the company’s marketing strategy, social media, PR and more.
“While OIM still can’t get together for networking and socializing, we’re excited to ‘pivot’ into an innovative alternative,” said Cam Davis, Co-Founder of OIM. “AdvenChair is a quintessential Central Oregon startup — designed, manufactured and tested right here. Helping them and other local businesses through a Zoom workshop is a great way to utilize the many talented marketing minds and resources available to us in our community.”
According to Davis, who will moderate the event, the Zoom format will not only allow audience members to participate by asking questions, but to offer ideas and suggestions based on their own experience as a startup or in the outdoor product industry. One lucky business will also have a chance to be the next one reviewed by the panel at a future InnoMix.
Justin Bronson is the Founder & Chief Strategist at Citizen + Co., a brand identity and strategy consultancy. They guide brands through the process of deeper self-discovery, inspiring the creation of more compelling and socially impactful brands and cultures. They are on a mission to build brands that are good for society — the kind that value people, progress and purpose above all else.
Taylor Hooks is the Founder & Creative Director behind The Bold Kind Branding & Marketing Agency. With over a decade of experience owning and working with small businesses, Hooks helps to develop magnetic, authentic and personality-filled brands through branding, web design and content marketing.
Chelsea Callicott is best known as a champion for social justice, the arts, thought leaders and innovators. A public relations pro for over two decades, most recently as the owner of Callicott Social PR, Chelsea is passionate about telling stories. She’s worked with media outlets around the world, most notably during her tenure at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Her new show, Hey Neighbor TV on Facebook, explores locals’ experiences of life during COVID-19 and during the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Everyone is welcome to join in the free InnoMix workshop by registering on Zoom here.