The Benefits of DBA Marketing Part 2: Grassroots Marketing – The BLACKWATER Approach

Marketing is the foundation for business development and finding ways to combine the two seamlessly is key to successfully running a company that is constantly growing. In this blog series, “The Benefits of DBA Marketing,” we will discuss how Marstudio, in an effort to keep our growth constant, uses a Doing Business As (DBA) method, a tool that combines marketing and business development seamlessly through the creation of a separate brand, to help grow our client base. We will present insight into using this technique to help guide your company in creating new avenues of business development.

Trend hunting can be a very trying task. It’s even been said that the moment that a trend is widely known, that is the inflection point of its growth, and at that moment the trend starts its inevitable descent. But this task is a necessary evil of success and if you can find the trends that are going to stick, they can become a new staple for your brand and avenue for a business, like Starbucks and the pumpkin spice latte, that has made a return for years and is now a Fall-time staple.

Disruptor Trends

These types of sticky trends or disruptor trends have been found through exterior market evaluation and examination (as opposed to internal company evaluations) and have enough hold that they can be used as new avenues for business. The internet age created two specific disruptor trends that we found, and that influenced our decision in the development of one of our DBA brands:

  • The rise and preference of niche brands
  • The elevated importance of a visual information

The introduction of these two new disruptor trends was a very natural process, but not everyone has taken all the steps they need to take advantage of them. The use of the internet and social media created an increase in the importance of a company’s visual brand. Consumers are taking in a majority of the information about a company from screens, so companies who want on-screen success must:

  • Establish strong branding
  • Place first-rate visuals on their website and marketing collateral
  • Continually produce high-quality social media posts, images, and videos to keep in touch with their customers and stay relevant.

Along with this change, the rise of niche markets and brands has expanded. The internet gave people the ability to build an entire company or market at a lower upfront cost. They no longer have to worry about purchasing physical retail space that comes with a loan and a down payment. This can all be done online with ease and as long as you, the business owner, are willing to work hard enough, you can build a successful business. This created a rise in niche brands, because consumers had direct contact with company owners and niche, long tail markets, where they could find the unique products and service they were looking for and get the customer service they longed for.

These trends led to an amplified need for high-quality visual information, putting the requirement for corporate film and photo at a continuously growing peak, along with an increase to want to work with contemporary, niche brands. Looking at this change in the landscape of business, we were able to determine what direction we would go in.


BLACKWATER Promotions was our road to business development that took advantage of the changing landscape of business and marketing. BLACKWATER was formed through the acquisition of the Philadelphia based film & photography company LaDivine Group. This small company was chosen not only because of their skill and the previous connection we had to one of the members (our current Production Director), but also the marketing opportunity that they brought to Marstudio. LaDivine was a Philadelphia-based company that was built through boots-to-concrete, grassroots, guerrilla marketing. They built a reputation for themselves through niche film and photography jobs throughout the city, including companies like Capital One and many brands in the famous Reading Terminal Market.

Through their grassroots approach, they have created a variety of relationships, giving them a rich and diverse portfolio to help continue their growth at a fast pace. As a young company, they have the opportunity to approach clients of all sizes and pitch to them in a way that Marstudio no longer can. They took full advantage of their size and the augmented business landscape.


After recognizing the grassroots marketing opportunity that this acquisition created through external market evaluation, we then had to pull elements from each brand to create a new fusion brand. The BLACKWATER Promotions brand puts a focus on raw, contemporary, creativity. This comes across with the company name, but is also reflected in the logo. The original Marstudio logo is a red eye within a paint stroke, representing our creative vision and artistic design roots (and much more). The BLACKWATER logo uses elements of the original Marstudio logo, which pays homage to the overarching brand, but still has changes to reflect the unique pieces LaDivine brings to the BLACKWATER table. The more intimidating iris of the eye is pulled from our Kraken mascot, and the red in the logo was replaced with black, to show the unique and bold element that BLACKWATER brings to clients and their brands.

The Grassroot Marketing Advantage

BLACKWATER’s unique value proposition and niche persona puts us in the perfect position for business development through grassroots marketing. As a DBA (doing business as) company, BLACKWATER strictly focuses on providing first-class, high-quality corporate film & photography services. This very focused value proposition lends itself very well to quick sales and grassroots marketing. Having an organism that can function on its own to create film & photography leads, while still helping Marstudio with our day-to-day client and business development work, brings a richer dynamic to our company as a whole. The young talent and niche persona of the new BLACKWATER team act as the perfect springboard for finding opportunities to onboard new clients for full marketing services.

Grassroots and guerrilla marketing are highly effective tools that create a vast amount of brand exposure at a quick and efficient rate for small, niche brands. But the key to effectively using this marketing is the right combination of brand personality, services, and team. This allows for those involved in business development to move with the right flexibility and speed that this style of marketing needs to work. BLACKWATER Promotions is a perfect combination of those elements, giving us the tools we need to continuously grow our client portfolio through our film and photography division.

Share this Post

Post navigation