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|Articles - February 2013|
|Monday, January 28, 2013|
BY LINDA BAKER
Branding is a key part of any successful business enterprise. But for small companies, the process can be expensive and time consuming. So last year branding veteran Elicia Putnam decided to launch PrestoBox, a Portland startup that offers an online branding solution. The program, called Brand Genie, combines patent-pending technology with high-quality design — and so far it’s totally free. After answering a series of questions about their company, a process that takes 10 minutes, business owners land on a suitable brand platform. “Classic Beauty,” for example, offers an elegant look with a pink-and-gray color scheme and graceful serif types. “Everyday Joe” is more straightforward, with oranges and mustard browns and a simple sans serif. Most branding efforts focus on “left brain” questions such as “Do you consider yourself professional or casual?” Putnam says. Brand Genie engages the creative side by asking companies what they would look like if they were a body of water or an animal. Next on the PrestoBox agenda is a series of paid services based on the Brand Genie outcome, including a logo, website and business-card builder. Small businesses spend about $250 billion a year on branding, Putnam says, adding that figuring out how to hook that market is a daunting task. “Our biggest challenge is this idea of truly automating creativity.”
PRODUCT: Automated branding solution
CEO: Elicia Putnam
“We’re doing the bootstrapping thing so far. Nine employees; almost everyone is working for equity. A few freelancers. Mostly just sweat and remarkably few tears. We are going to apply to the Portland Seed Fund. We do have a venture capital group that might be interested.”
“We’ve had a lot of branding firms checking us out to see what we are doing. One of our jokes is our branding service is giving the branding-service business a run for its money. On marketing, we’re considering going vertical by vertical: medical services, small law firms. We may go broad. We have a potential strategic partner, so it depends what opportunities present themselves.”
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