After nearly a decade in ministry, Sean Fox decided to take a leap of faith and build out a growing freelance graphic design business into a company. Pioneer Design and Marketing now houses a team of nearly 20 people spanning the east coast from Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. with about a third of them working locally out of their office in downtown Statesboro.
Brand strategy at the heart of their success
As a brand strategy, design, and marketing studio, Pioneer helps brands stake their claim in crowded marketplaces. Utilizing their process they break work into four phases to ensure there’s continuity throughout every project helping their clients discover who they really are and gain new ground. “We believe in the age of information and often disinformation, brands [companies] having a conviction about who they are, what they do, and why that matters to their customers is even more important now than ever.”, Sean said. “Ten out of ten people are selfish, so gone are the days of brands just talking about themselves. You have to make it about your customers for them to care about anything you have to say.”
Those phases include Brand Strategy, Visual Design, Digital Design, and Marketing. “Brand strategy sets the tone for everything going forward. It’s your North Star for who you are and why that matters.” After establishing the verbal direction of the brand, the design and marketing teams take all of that strategic language and develop it into brand identities, websites, apps, and digital and traditional marketing campaigns.
You’ve likely seen their work. From some of your favorite local restaurants to some of the biggest brands in the world, Pioneer has been able to work with companies big and small to help them gain new ground. Some brands they've created around town you may be familiar with include Vino 1910, Anderson’s General Store, Bull and Barrel, Juve Integrated Medicine and Wellness, Tandoor and Tap, Sack Company, Dolan’s BBQ, Statesboro Golf Carts, The Saucy Shrimp, Southern Exchange Company, Soyumi, Statesboro Real Estate, Del Sur, and quite a few more.
This hasn’t always been the case, though. “When we first started 5 years ago, it was just me and Katie Page. We were scrappy then and we still are now. We had a little idea of what we were doing, but had big dreams of what we could do.” Katie Page who runs the marketing arm of Pioneer alongside another partner in the business, Eryin Wandel who runs the design team help Sean lead the team at Pioneer. Sean attributes much of the success of Pioneer to “the crew” at Pioneer. “We have incredible people on this team. I am behind them, but they are the ones producing the magic.” He continued, “We’ve hired great people. People who are much smarter than I am. We’ve thrived by surrounding ourselves with people who are smarter and better because, ultimately, you become the total of who you are surrounded by.”
Inspired by BBQ Sauce
Much of Sean’s passion for design began with his Grandaddy’s BBQ sauce. “I remember when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old sitting on his computer designing BBQ sauce labels to stick on the bottles he just gave away to people for free. I remember being very intentional about creating (4) different labels to make a series of bottle designs. I thought it was cool.”
Sean’s passion for design extends outside of the realm of BBQ labels, too. For the past four years, Sean’s also served on Statesboro’s Planning and Zoning Committee. “I have a big passion for good food and great places to hang. I figured what better way to help shape that than to get involved.” Sean continued, “Statesboro has so much potential. So many great projects are already happening with more to come. We want to help make sure the first impressions customers have with a brand are great ones. After all, you only get one first impression, so let’s make it count.”
What is next?
Sean’s dream now? To have Pioneer be at the epicenter of a renaissance of culture and cuisine in Statesboro. He wants to see Statesboro full of clients and friends that own places where their team had a hand in their success. “I just want to see great people succeed and I love being able to help them see their dreams become reality. For us, Pioneer just happens to be the vehicle to do that.”
You can learn more about Pioneer Design and Marketing and the incredible team by stopping by their 5-Year Anniversary Party on May 5th, 2023 from 4-6 pm or by visiting them online at https://madebypioneer.com.