Start Up – Innovative New Service Concept


Black Umbrella was established to as a national service provider of emergency safety plans for families. Being first to market has great advantages but educating the market takes time and resources. Launching a new product requires building upon an existing brand plus impressive product differentiation and creative promotion. But, when an entrepreneur offers a vision for an entirely new service to meet a perceived need, a whole new industry is born. This means creating a new brand, then identifying and educating uninformed prospects about the industry, company and offering; a much bigger responsibility!


From the most fundamental of its responsibilities marketing must view a firm and its service from the same perspective the client does. In this instance, it requires a subtle balance between founder vision and marketing's sensibility around customer acceptance. Designing the business development function at the earliest possible evolution of the concept, provides for an easier transition from awareness to regular customer. Lauterback named the service, determined customer targets and test markets, and developed all promotional materials for the variety of media platforms used to launch the market tests.


We joined the effort in April and launched the service in September. Direct mail, supported by social media, newspaper, publicity, magazine and radio drove prospects to a robust commerce website. The campaign built traffic to the site for the dual purpose of educating the customer as well as motivating online ordering. The company reports steady growth along with sales of ancillary items that are consistent with the concerns of a well-prepared, urban family.