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Branding and marketing for start-up and scale-up business.

Don’t stop now… it's time to start-up.

Whilst another lockdown is not a situation any of us wanted to find ourselves in, there are still opportunities to be found – you just need to get creative.

Don’t stop now… it's time to start-up.

Turn any pessimistic thoughts of ‘it’s not the right time’ and ‘maybe next year’ around and use some of our tips below to drive your new startup into 2021 at full strength with joyful optimism and renewed vigour. The Modern Agency is a branding agency for startups so, if you need a little help getting started with that creative side, let us know.

The new normal is now.

The pandemic and its entanglement with the economy is such a huge part of our lives that it simply cannot be ignored when it comes to your marketing strategy. The current YouGov statistics show that ‘health’ and ‘the economy’ are perceived by the public as the most important issues facing the country right now.

According to The FT “It will take at least 18 months for the UK economy to return to its pre-pandemic size … UK GDP (will) not regain its previous level until the second half of 2022, or later.” (

We are all willing our lives to return to what they were pre-pandemic but the fact is, that’s not happening any time soon. Better to embrace the challenge of what you can do to begin the 'new normal' NOW. Break down those 'maybe after the pandemic' excuses and instead, tailor your communications to make the situation work for you and your new startup.

Make an impression.

People are spending more time than ever online at home - perfect. This is your chance to boost your product and at the same time, lift your potential new customers’ spirits just when they need it most. With many brands choosing to cut back on advertising spend during times of recession, now is your best chance to be heard and make a lasting impression.

“The cost of advertising drops during recessions. The lower rates create a 'buyer’s market' for brands… When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its 'share of mind' with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales.”

Be aware.

It’s a stressful and worrying time for many. There is a fine balance between brightening people’s days with humour and showing sympathy. Know your audience and communicate the right messages by being people centric, using a careful balance of wit and empathy.

Mood of the nation

Mood-of-the-Nation-2020_Report.pdf (

The AA introduced us to ‘Tukker’ the puppet dog, who reminded us what it feels like to drive with freedom (hanging your head out the window!). According to, this campaign led to a 74% increase in engagement across the AA’s social media channels. This is your opportunity to make a connection with your followers. Do it well and they’ll thank you for it by becoming loyal customers.

Be unusual.

These are unusual times, so grab the opportunity to be unusual in your communications. It’s a chance to be creative and to be brave. There are many ways to tap into your audience’s thoughts and stay there. Embrace the ‘right brain’ way of thinking and try appealing to their sense of humanity, their community spirit, or nostalgia for 'the good old days'.

Left Brain, Right Brain

Personality Traits of an Account Manager | TechWyse 'Rise To The Top' Blog

Budweiser have brought back ‘Whassuuuup’ (to the delight of many around in the late nineties) reminding us to check-up on our buddies, backed up by the hashtag #togetheratadistance.

Heinz recently launched their ‘Heinz to Home’ concept, which delivered a 200% increase in Q1 sales according to BBH Global. In the world of food retail, it’s highly irregular for manufacturers to sell direct to consumer. Why? We’re not sure and it seems neither are Heinz, who are now cutting out the middle man AND the food miles, whilst building a closer relationship with their customers. It just makes good sense.

One of our favourite campaigns of the past year came from Gucci, who played big on nostalgia with their Holiday Gift Guide 2020. Although we couldn't have office parties this year, Gucci found a creative and fun way to remind us how they were while showcasing their latest collection. 

Be kind.

As a new startup you’ll want to entice customers with your generosity and willingness to accommodate their needs. By making sure your branding is consistent and appropriately targeted, you’ll convey that sense of solidarity and assurance that we are all craving right now. If you can be confident in your communications, then your audience will have confidence in you.

Find ways to give something back that won’t break the bank but will mean a lot to your customers. After all, everyone needs a little treat in their lives and if you can afford to give something away for free, or discounted, then you should really consider this as a great way to say thanks, and to entice people into wanting more.

Statistics show that it’s this area of ‘affordable luxury’ that is currently experiencing the largest amount of growth.

The Lipstick Effect

The “Lipstick Effect”– Examples of Recession-Proof Categories (

If you're unable to give away a product, how about your time? You can then share the good deed your business has done. Kindness is always welcome but especially in difficult times. As Mary Portas says “there is an emerging values system built on the stuff we care about, because we have to: people, planet and profit – in that order”. (

In summary, remember that we aren’t all sitting and waiting for the new normal to begin – this is a time to live for the moment, and grab the bull by the horns.

If you’re ready to seize the day but feel like you need a helping hand, remember that The Modern Agency team specialise in branding for startups – so really, what are you waiting for?