Gabriel Carrera Aspires to Create Social Impact Through Digital Marketing

Consultant Helps Businesses and Non-Profits Thrive

Last summer Gabriel Carrera launched GC Digital Marketing and Consulting, LLC (GCC) alongside Connor Rolain, who he met during a brief experience working for a Madison-based mobile food ordering app.

GCC specializes in a number of services pertaining to digital marketing including content marketing and social advertising. Through these services, Carrera and Rolain focus on social media optimization, local awareness of the brand, branding and graphic design and other related areas to ensure the success of their clients.

“Without marketing, businesses fail and with marketing, businesses thrive. Well, successful marketing,” he said.

Carrera said he always envisioned himself starting a business. He grew up surrounded by small business owners, learning from them and admiring their work ethic.

“It was normal for me growing up,” Carrera said. “My father and uncles and family members were involved in businesses.”

Photo Credit: L. Malik Anderson

For Carrera, marketing became a pathway to accomplishing his goal of creating a business but this business also allows him to embrace his creative side. Outside of classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he spent many hours designing logos, social media content, Facebook commercials, and other graphics.

“Marketing found me. I definitely think it’s destiny,” he said.

If you spend a short moment with Carrera, you will realize he is always working. Whether sending a text message, answering a quick phone call, networking at a social event, editing a photo or publishing a Facebook Ad, GCC and the clients come first.

“I’ve always been interested in business and marketing is just an angle of business that brings clients in so I feel like it’s a pretty direct angle for the growth of businesses,” Carrera said.

In a short time, GCC has existed Carrera and Rolain developed a rapport with a number of local restaurants, bars, fitness centers, and retail stores. Through discussing goals for the client and presenting a strategy for brand development, Carrera and Rolain address the client’s specific needs through individualized campaigns. For each client, their goal is to capitalize on the qualities that make each business unique.

“To provide a service is great, to help a customer or client in a way- That’s what marketing is about,” Carrera said.

A History of Building Relationships

Photo Credit: L. Malik Anderson

Imagine a young goofy brown kid with a Spanglish accent who loved to talk. That was Carrera. He said he was often made fun of because of his accent when he was younger but he did not want to shut his mouth so he embraced it.

He displayed confidence that captured the attention of his peers. In high school, he started a club called “C.A.M.’s Social Dynamics” which Carrera described as a club on how to talk to girls.

“It pretty much started off as a joke then people started asking me for advice,” he said.

Carrera said 20-to-30 guys attended the first meeting and the group talked about topics such as social anxiety, fear, and risk-taking. These tools would later help him in college when he set out to develop his first venture, an office supply ordering service which Carrera began in the middle of a difficult semester.

“I decided that if I’m not going to kill it in this semester, I’m going to do something about it,” he said.

Carrera began calling business and local organizations to ask them if they needed new supplies. This helped him practice building relationships with businesses. He said he just wanted to see if he could do it.

“Honestly, I got a bunch of rejections over the phone. People said who the hell are you,” Carrera said.

But rejection did not stop him. In Spring 2018, Carrera landed a position with FUDU after speaking with the founders, two UW-Madison alumni who developed a mobile food ordering app. His role included setting up meetings with local businesses to convince them to partner with the service.

“I was excited about getting a position in a start-up that I was way under qualified,” Carrera said.

Throughout the summer, his networking skills grew and he perfected a sales pitch for convincing businesses to partner with him. He also met Rolain around this time. After witnessing a lack of digital presence of local restaurants, Carrera and Rolain realized a passion for helping businesses thrive, ending their relationship with FUDU in the process.

“I was sort of selling something that I wasn’t really passionate about any longer,” Carrera said.

The Development of Gabriel Carrera and GC Digital Marketing and Consulting

Photo Credit: L. Malik Anderson

After about two or three clients, Rolain and Carrera began setting up meetings with people they knew, offering free trial services and developing their portfolio. Since they have worked with restaurants like Crandall’s and A La Brasa while hiring new interns along the way.

“My vision for GCC is that we’ll become a successful marketing agency that has clients in different industries,” Carrera said.

Since the summer, Carrera also came to another life-changing realization. This decision will allow him to invest more time in GCC but sacrifice something else as well.

“I’m not in school anymore… I made the decision that school isn’t for me,” he said.

Carrera made the decision to take time off after struggling to feel passionate about his major or find another major he cared about. He also began working with nonprofits like River Food Pantry, developing an interest in helping organizations invested in humanitarian efforts.

“I am hoping to invest in something that will have an influence and positive impact in the world,” Carrera said.

He will begin splitting his time between Madison and Los Angeles working with another marketing agency back home. He said he also plans to continue volunteering and working with nonprofits in Madison.

“It’s a really good feeling seeing the effect that your work is growing,” Carrera said.

He said during the brief years he’s spent in Madison, he began changing his perspective on life. This also includes evaluating his emotions and reflecting on how his emotions affect others.

“I’d rather be known as the person who helped these many people out than make this much money,” Carrera said.