Paying higher taxes is a tough sell to the electorate.
Kelsey Smith helped sell it, however. Her fledgling marketing company crafted the successful strategy last year that helped convince Pea Ridge voters to approve a millage increase to build a new high school.
She said it’s one of the most rewarding efforts of her professional career. Smith is a Pea Ridge High School graduate. “I’m proud to call it my hometown,” she said.
Directing a millage campaign was a first for NWA Brand, a boutique influencer marketing agency Smith started in 2017. It’s led to other opportunities, she said, to work with other school districts on similar efforts.
That’s just one example of the company’s rapid growth over the past two years. The agency has six full-time employees, is projecting revenue growth of 200% in 2019 and has no debt. Operating in the black is a point of pride for Smith, and growing the bottom line is made easier by maintaining a virtual office at the Exchange in downtown Bentonville.
Smith graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2017 with an agribusiness degree with an emphasis in marketing and management.
In 2015, Smith was named Miss Rodeo Arkansas, which introduced her to a number of area businesses and organizations. She started doing some social media marketing for a handful of those companies who saw the benefits of the additional support.
As the work continued, Smith set up an LLC to consolidate the work. “I was basically working three part-time jobs,” she said. And from that, NWA Brand has remained in expansion mode.
“Every single one of our accounts, the work they do with us, has grown year-over-year,” she said.
Smith said NWA Brand separates itself by being an industry-exclusive marketer. For example, the agency provides services to an auto dealership. It won’t work for one of the dealership’s competitors.
“A lot of our clients are happy to have that,” she said. “A lot of agencies are just interested in templating [marketing] packages and increasing their own revenue. None of our packages are identical. That brings a ton of value to our clients.”
Since starting NWA Brand, Smith has been a strong supporter of area nonprofits, in particular, the faith-based organization The Call, which trains and supports potential foster parents. In fact, Smith and her husband are in the middle of the process of becoming a foster home.