Helping a South Carolina Business Incubator Grow … and Grow New Businesses

Business Development, Creative Services, Public Relations, Social Media
About This Project

Launched in 2012 as a collaborative effort between the Town of Bluffton and Clemson University Institute for Economic and Community Development, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation was created to provide entrepreneurs, inventors and small business people with state-of-the-art resources and hands-on consulting support in order to launch their new businesses.   In order to attract entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to the Center, the DRCI needed to brand itself to showcase its significant value as a business incubator in Bluffton and the Lowcountry, and enhance visibility and awareness of the role that the Don Ryan Center for Innovation has in launching successful businesses throughout the region.


  • Created a visually striking and appealing logo
  • Generated a steady stream of articles in local press and arranged for media appearances on broadcast outlets in order to create widespread awareness of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation and what the program offers entrepreneurs and start-up companies, and kept the Center top-of-mind for entrepreneurs and new business owners
  • Developed a highly successful monthly Educational Seminars program at the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, arranging for top speakers to address different business topics each month to bring potential new businesses to the Center, and to further build the Don Ryan Center’s reputation as a leader in new business development
  • Developed and placed advertisements in key business publications and consumer press in order to effectively reach target markets with key messages about the incubator program and how the DRCI can help


Through a strong branding and media relations campaign, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation continues to attract top quality entrepreneurs and start-up/early stage business owners to the program and, to date, the DRCI has graduated more than 20 successful companies. A series of articles and media appearances in all local press profiling the DRCI provided valuable added exposure to the Center and created widespread interest in the program from entrepreneurs and new business owners throughout the region. In addition, the Educational Seminars program created and executed by SmartMarketing Communications continues to grow and each month attracts potential new program participants to the Center, and has positioned the DRCI as the region’s leading business resource for business owners throughout the Bluffton/Hilton Head Island/Lowcountry area.