Everyone loves a good story. And that’s what Becker College graduates (‘18) Avyay Chaganty and Cody Lavallee recognized when launching their startup, ACCL Marketing.
A “full-service marketing agency focused on gaining positive exposure for brands that ultimately drive sales,” as Mr. Lavallee put it, ACCL Marketing offers a wide spectrum of marketing services including photography, graphic and website design, and social media management.
Mr. Changanty and Mr. Lavallee met at Becker College, both majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. Sharing a passion for clothing, shoes, and fashion, the duo quickly realized their love for these products actually stemmed from marketing and brand promotion.
That fascination, coupled with their desire to “start something” together – even if they didn’t initially know exactly what that “something” was, Mr. Chaganty admitted – is where ACCL’s story begins. As they continued to study marketing, and intern at different agencies, the two noticed there was a heavy focus on analytics but “wasn’t as much of a focus on the art or creative side of marketing,” Mr. Chaganty recalled.
Identifying what they saw as a missed opportunity by many contemporary marketing firms, the two were determined to start an agency of their own based in storytelling and creativity rather than “cookie-cutter analytics,” Mr. Lavallee explained. This became increasingly important as they realized many small local businesses have “such unique stories,” said Mr. Chaganty, that “aren’t being highlighted” in their brand.
In January 2018 it was decided: this was what they wanted to do after graduation. Following a strong suggestion to apply to the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s StartUp Worcester program from their friend Timothy Loew, executive director of MassDIGI, the pair were accepted into the 2019-20 cohort.
Now, two years in, ACCL still sees their storytelling capabilities as what sets them apart. According to Mr. Lavallee, “All businesses are competing for attention and the best way to get that attention is to tell a great story.” To do so, Mr. Chaganty said listening to a client’s origins and building marketing accordingly “leads to better traction.”
To that end, added Mr. Lavallee, “everything is personalized. You’re not getting a cookie cutter package anyone can use. You’re getting content tailored to your business.” Since launching, ACCL has worked with Becker College, United Way of Central Massachusetts, and New Jersey-based Rowden Opticians. Their team has grown to three full-time employees as well as contracted workers.
They chalk up some of their success to the support of StartUp Worcester and the Chamber – most notably, the networking opportunities. Of meeting business owners through Chamber events, Mr. Chaganty says, “it’s important to continue to grow [our] brand since we’re so young and new. … Being a part of something like the Chamber has let us really share our story.”
The two also named access to centralized office space, SCORE mentorship, and a support system among StartUp Worcester alumni, as some of the most helpful resources.
From these collaborations, Mr. Chaganty says he can see that some will eventually “become powerhouses,” and when they do, “it’ll be cool to say ‘we’ve worked with them.’ … It’s going to pay dividends.”
When asked about aspirations, the two seek to add more medium and large businesses to their portfolio, expand to other industries, and promote all of their team members to full-time.
As for the original passion, it hasn’t been forgotten. “We’d love to get into clothing or fashion,” Mr. Lavallee said, but for now, ACCL is focused on growing general clientele. He added: “If a business “has a story, we’re willing to tell it.”
Dominique Goyette-Connerty is a correspondent for The Chamber Exchange. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Gowdey-Backus via email.